Japanese researchers demonstrated how a tiny remote-controlled drone could help bees pollinate flowers in areas where bees populations have been reduced due to pesticides, climate change, and other factors. Eijiro Myako and his colleagues at the Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology hope that eventually robotic bees could handle their share of the work autonomously. From New Scientist:
The manually controlled drone is 4 centimetres wide and weighs 15 grams. The bottom is covered in horsehair coated in a special sticky gel. When the drone flies onto a flower, pollen grains stick lightly to the gel, then rub off on the next flower visited.
In experiments, the drone was able to cross-pollinate Japanese lilies (Lilium japonicum). Moreover, the soft, flexible animal hairs did not damage the stamens or pistils when the drone landed on the flowers...
“We hope this will help to counter the problem of bee declines,” says Miyako. “But importantly, bees and drones should be used together.”
Amorphophallus titanum is known as the "Corpse Flower" because it smells like rotten flesh. The infamous stink attracts flies and beetles that helps it get pollinated. Native to Sumatra, the plant rarely flowers and can take as long as a decade to bloom if it does. The New York Botanical Garden has cultivated a fine Corpse Flower and you can livestream it blooming any time now. Watch the video stream above but don't blink or you may miss it. If only Smell-O-Vision had caught on...
From the NYBG:
Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. This is the first time that a blooming titan-arum has been put on display at the Garden since 1939, and this unique plant is unpredictable—it may be in flower for only one or two days.
The Corpse Flower (NYBG)
Peggy Hartman died on January 20, 2016. She was 91 years old. Hartman's friend Magaret Seaman ordered a floral arrangement in the shape of a Jack Russell terrier to be delivered to Hartman's memorial service (Hartman loved dogs). But when the floral arrangement was unveiled in the church, the dog looked more like a generously snouted tapir with five legs. Seaman said she was embarrassed and asked the florist a refund, but was refused.
From Echo News:
The florist, from Harlequin Flowers, in Ness Road, defended her work though, saying she had photographic evidence of how the dog looked when it was being delivered to funeral directors S. Stibbards and Sons, also in Ness Road. She said: “It has been tampered with."
The mystery deepens!
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Based on the many fossil examples we examined, Montsechia floated in freshwater lakes and was submerged in the water. It had a spreading growth, branching freely. This flowering plant didn’t display any of the showy blossoms we tend to associate with flowers. But because it contains seeds enclosed in a fruit, the basic characteristic of angiosperms, it is classified as a flowering plant.