Day 5: 5 easy ways to learn more about plants

Hello, final blog post of the week, wooo! Thank you very much for reading them. Here is a list of 5 ways to learn more about plants and their science.

Follow plant science news on twitter

Some people use twitter to tell the world about their everyday life or follow celebrities, but there is a world of plant science on twitter, where academics and communicators share recent plant science research. Here I am on twitter:

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A few to get you started:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council @BBSRC
  • Annals of Botany blog @annbot
  • Science and Plants for Schools @SAPS_news
  • Global Plant Council @GlobalPlantGPC
  • Mary Williams @plantteaching

There’s so many great plant people on twitter, look at who I follow on twitter for some more examples.

Read popular science books on plants

See my first blog post of this week! In my first post, I didn’t mention two plant popular science books that I’ve heard are good: Seed to Seed by Nicholas Harberd and The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollen, they are stuck on my bookshelf waiting to be read, but I’ve heard good things about them!

If you want to know even more about the science of plants, you can read a textbook, one we use a lot in university is Plant Physiology by Taiz and Zeiger.

Watch documentaries on plants

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These are really good, and one of the things that first got me interested in plants. My absolute favourite is Kingdom of Plants by David Attenborough. I remember watching one episode with my flatmates and they really enjoyed it. I remember them being horrified by one scene where a pitcher plant traps an animal, it was like watching a horror film, it was hilarious. David Attenborough also did The Private Life of Plants a while ago, which is also really good. Everyone loves David Attenborough.

Here’s an online plant documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0pP5D0hhmc

Watch plant YouTube videos

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My favourite of these is plant time-lapse videos, they are just beautiful.

Click here for another video of a sunflower time lapse, this one ends with the words “From seed to seed, the smile of the sunflower is passed on” – it’s adorable. Also look at plant science educational videos on YouTube too. I really recommend looking at BBSRC’s videos about plants on YouTube, this one especially.

Look at the world around you

Plants surround us, but we often ignore them. Think of them in a different way, this is an extract from a text book:

Think of your favourite plant. Visualise water molecules moving into roots and up through xylem into living cells, where hydrogen bonds are broken and some water molecules evaporate. Imagine carbon dioxide molecules diffusing through stomata into chloroplasts, being fixed into carbohydrates and combined with parts of other water molecules, the process being energized by ATP and NADPH arising from light-driven reactions. Think, too, of assimilates being loaded into phloem sieve tubes and moved to specific sinks, and of ions being selectively and actively absorbed or excreted, some being assimilated into organic compounds and some acting as coenzymes. True, we don’t know everything that’s going on in cells, but your favourite plant should certainly not seem like a static object. It is a well-organised living thing, a machine that processes matter and energy in its environment and maintains a relatively low entropy.

So just show some love for plants, we wouldn’t be here without them.

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