crime
Owner of Stolen 400-Year-Old Bonsai Worth £70,000 Pleads on Facebook: ‘Are They Giving You Enough Water?’

A couple who was robbed of at least £92,000 worth of precious horticultural rarities has one plea for the thief: water the trees. Read More >>

science
What’s the Smartest Plant?

Compared to even the dumbest human being, your average tulip is a moron. But you’d have to be dumber than a tulip to deny that something – maybe not intelligence in its dictionary definition, but some guiding, autonomic power – is at work among the members of the plant kingdom. And if we grant plants this quasi-intelligence, then we have to concede that some of them must be smarter than others – cannier absorbers of bugs and sun, better users of their varied environments. Inevitably, then, the question is: which one’s smartest? Read More >>

science
Mysterious New Plant Discovered in Museum Collection Is Probably Already Extinct

It took a little while, but a tiny, delicate plant found in Japan 26 years ago has been formally classified as a new species. But after residing in a museum collection since the early 1990s, the single specimen of Thismia kobensis remains the only one ever found. Tragically, this means the so-called “fairy lantern” may already be extinct. Read More >>

science
These Superb Antarctic Veggies Are a Tasty Preview for a Menu on Mars

As temperatures outside dipped to well below freezing, and as blizzards pounded the Antarctic research station, German scientists were carefully tending to a remarkable veggie garden—one requiring no soil or natural sunlight. The success of their first harvest, which produced vibrant-looking lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, and other treats, represents a promising test run for similar greenhouses that could one day be built on Mars—or beyond. Read More >>

space
Freakishly Resilient Plants Managed to Survive a 450-Day Ordeal in Outer Space

In an experiment conducted on the International Space Station, two different types of naturally-occurring algae were exposed to the extreme conditions of space. Incredibly, both strains survived. It’s a finding that could further our understanding of how life originated on Earth, and how colonists might be able to sustain themselves on Mars. Read More >>

food
The Internet Asks: Why Is It Called ‘Grapefruit’ When There Are No Grapes?

In the internet age, the answer to most questions is just a web search away. Some queries, however, are too ponderous or inane to even be Bing-worthy. When all else fails, The Internet Asks responds. Read More >>

science
Trees Are Even More Amazing Than We Realised

Trees, is there anything they can’t do? Doubtful. Let’s see: producing half the world’s oxygen, providing habitat for millions of species, creating the soil and timber resources we depend on. Not bad. But all that’s just scratching the surface. As new research shows, there’s a lot more going on beneath the forest floor than we realised. Read More >>

science
Ancient Ancestor of Two Notorious Poisons Looks Dangerously Delicious

Amber delivers a slice of ancient life, showing us everything from early predation to the earliest preserved erect penis. Now, in a 30-year-old amber collection, scientists have found the earliest ancestor of those famous drawing-room mystery poisons, strychnine and curare. Read More >>

science
The Venus Flytrap is a Mighty Hunter Because it Can Count

The Venus flytrap is perhaps the best known of carnivorous plants — those that get essential nutrients from trapping and consuming insects, particularly when they can’t get enough from the soil. Now a team of German scientists has discovered that the flytrap can actually count, and this ability is the key to knowing the difference between the presence of prey and a false alarm. Read More >>

science
The Fortingall Yew, Britain’s Oldest Tree, is Apparently Sick of Being Male

The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire is believed to be Britain’s oldest living tree, and appears to be undergoing a sex change. The ancient yew, which could be 3,000 years old is turning female. Just for context, Pontius Pilate is said to have played in its shadow as a child. Read More >>

wtf
An Undiscovered Species of Flower Has Been on Sale Since 2013

Flower stalls have been embellished, for the last two years, with a special kind of orchid known as the “Big Pink”. Researchers thought it was a hybrid. Turns out it’s totally new to science. Read More >>