National Geographic
Menu

Tag archives for botany

Golden Gate BioBlitz: Lots of Nature to Explore

Distinguished botanist Peter Raven wishes he could participate personally in this Golden Gate BioBlitz, “because I grew up in San Francisco and became fascinated with nature – first mainly insects, then plants – in the City and around the Bay Area, from the 1940s onward. 


There is no area more fascinating in its biology, with many differences in relatively small geographical areas.”

The Surprising Power of “Sentiment” in International Work

“You’ve got to learn”, my research assistant Arun told me a few weeks into the project, “everything here works on sentiment”. It has taken me a while to realize what he meant by this, but he’s right. Hourly buses and trains can be hours late and power cuts stop to night-time work, but your friends don’t fail you.

Stalking the Wild Tomato: The Ethnobotany of Genetically Modified Crops

In a place where population growth is moving incredibly fast, added pressure on farmers in India in the wake of crushing debt and failed crops calls for a new agricultural approach. Genetic modification and organic farming present promising solutions. Young Explorer Andrew Flachs will investigate the effect of both growing strategies by interviewing farmers in Southern…

19 Ferns Go Gaga!

Famous for infectious dance tunes and memorable meaty fashion choices, superstar Lady Gaga has another claim to fame: botany. Nineteen species of fern native to Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona, and Texas are being named in her honor by the Duke University research team who found them. Their findings will be published in the…

Why Nat Geo Exploration Is “Important to us all”

On the occasion of National Geographic making its 10,000th grant for exploration, we interview Peter Raven, chairman of the Committee for Research and Exploration, the Society’s oldest grant-making body. Raven discusses why funding scientific research and exploration has never been more important, especially as the human population has passed the 7,000,000,000 mark, and the planet is pressed hard to meet everyone’s needs.

Arizona’s Saguaro National Park to host BioBlitz 2011

Saguaro National Park, bordering Tucson, Arizona, has been named as the host site for the 2011 National Park Service/National Geographic BioBlitz, scheduled for October 21 and 22, 2011. “Part scientific endeavor, part festival and part outdoor classroom, BioBlitz is a two-day celebration of biodiversity centered on a 24-hour race to count species. During the BioBlitz,…

Finding orchids in Colombia’s other rainforest

Colombia has made impressive progress in declaring a large part of its Amazon rain forest protected for conservation. But there’s another rain forest in Colombia, the Chocó, on the Pacific side of the country. This forest teems with even more species than in the Amazon forest, but it is not as well protected. Conservation biologist…

Magnolias Are Fading From the Wild, Conservationists Lament

Photos on this blog entry by Jackson Xu/FFI Magnolias are blooming in gardens everywhere, but nearly half of the species of the famous flowring tree are now threatened with extinction in the wild, experts at Fauna and Flora International (FFI) warn. “A massive 112 of the 245 known species of wild magnolia around the world are…

Disney’s Floral Kingdom Is All Abloom

Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort At a time when some of the world’s most famous botanical gardens are cutting back on staffing and exhibits, one enormous public landscape is celebrating spring with the cultivation of millions of blooms and hundreds of living sculptures: Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. On a regular family visit…

Dung-absorbing Plant Could Be Ideal Source of Ethanol, Study Suggests

  A tiny aquatic plant that can be used to clean up animal waste at industrial hog farms also has potential to help alleviate the world’s energy crisis, according to Researchers at North Carolina State University Experiments show that growing duckweed on hog wastewater can produce five to six times more starch per acre than…

Protea Plants Unlock Secrets of Species Hotspots

Proteas are best known as the national symbol of South Africa. Growing in size to as large as dinner plates, their flowers are a distinctive feature of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Photo courtesy South African Tourism New species of flowering plants called proteas are exploding onto the scene three times faster in parts of Australia…

Rare Vanilla Had Roots in Maya Gardens, Genes Reveal

Vanilla is the No. 1 flavor for ice cream in the U.S., which consumes most of the world’s vanilla supply. The spice is produced from the fruit, or “beans,” of two orchid species, Vanilla tahitensis (in the photo) and Vanilla planifolia. Only about five percent of natural vanilla used in food comes from V. tahitensis,…