This is part of our new weekly plant news roundup, brought to you thanks to our partners at Earth.com.
When we think about the biggest victims of global climate change, we often think of polar bears and melting ice caps. It turns out that rainforest trees are also feeling the heat. Researchers from the University of Miami found that trees in the Andean rainforest are moving upwards in elevation to find cooler climates.
The scientists also reported that the trees are running into trouble as they move upwards and may not be able to move upwards in altitude quickly enough.
Ants have been eating plants (dead and alive) for thousands and thousands of years. Plants, meanwhile, have been locked in an arms race to keep the ants from eating them alive. But that’s not the whole story. Some ants and plants have formed a mutually beneficial relationship that makes both species stronger.
Some plants have hollow thorns or special nectar to keep the ants well-fed while the ants spring to the plant’s defense from herbivores. But which species started the partnership?
Scientists from the Field Museum published a study this week suggesting that plants evolve the traits that attract ants. In fact, they found that ants who partner with plants aren’t doing that much better than ants that don’t partner with plants.
It’s cold season again. As we all try our best to stay healthy, it’s tempting to turn to all sorts of remedies. Echinacea, a plant that’s native to North America, has had mixed results in clinical trials looking into its efficacy. Some research points to Echinacea’s ability to increase our white blood cell count, while others find no benefit.
The bottom line from many researchers is that sleep, hand-washing, and exercise are the best ways to stay healthy. But a bit of Echinacea, provided it’s from a trusted and tested source, probably can’t hurt.