By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

October 2018

Photo credit: OSU

Find the identity of a mystery tree! Try your hand at identifying a tree genus using a dichotomous key.  Great practice! (Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest, OSU)

Chemicals found in vegetables prevent colon cancer in mice.Chemicals produced by vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli could help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent colon cancer, a new study shows.” (The Francis Crick Institute via

The chemistry of aubergine (eggplant) colour, bitterness and browning. (

When the seed becomes a plant, it has 48 hours to survive.  “When a seed germinates, it only has two days to turn into a seedling capable of photosynthesis, before having exhausted its reserves. In a new study, researchers reveal the underlying mechanism of this process.” (University of Geneva via

The rewards of chasing nectar.  “We know that flowers entice pollinators with nectar, but how much and what causes a flower to produce as much or as little nectar as it does.(Amy Parachnowitsch, Jessamyn Manson & Nina Sletvold  via Botanyone)

The walking and jumping of Equisetum (Horsetail) spores-watch the cool video! (Philippe Marmottant,

The Polish entomologist who invented puppet animation films. (Jacek Borowski,

Rex begonia.
Photo credit: Purdue Extension

Bringing houseplants back indoors.Many houseplants thrive during the long, bright summer days, especially when properly moved outdoors. But these plants may have some trouble adjusting back to indoor conditions when colder weather strikes.” (Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension)

Ladybug, where have you gone? Aphid fighters tend to roam. (Dean Fosdick,

The Poison Gardens of Alnwick Garden– behind a locked gate, there’s the Poison Garden: it contains only poisonous plants.  Watch the video tour. (Tom Scott,

Rhododendron? Hydrangea? America Doesn’t Know Anymore.  “The country has a growing case of ‘plant blindness’—a term used by botanists to describe the inability to identify basic plants. Even biologists struggle.”(Douglas Belkin,

Photo credit: University of Minnesota

Save your vegetable seeds for next years’ planting. “You can save vegetable seeds from your garden produce to plant next year. Seed saving involves selecting suitable plants from which to save seed, harvesting seeds at the right time and storing them properly over the winter.” (University of Minnesota Extension)

Parasitic vines that feed on parasitic wasps that feed on trees (Veronique Greenwood,

Bees love blue fluorescent light, and not just any wavelength will do. (OSU via

How eggplants became Asian: Genomes and elephants tell the story.The evolutionary context of the eggplant was until recently very poorly known. Historical documents and genetic data have shown that the eggplant was first domesticated in Asia, but most of its wild relatives are from Africa.”(University of Helsinki, via

Why mosquitoes bite some people more than others. (Richard Halfpenny, Staffordshire University, via

New process in root development discovered. Scientists uncover communication at the root tip.  As the plant root grows, a root cap protects its fragile tip. Every few hours, the old cap is lost and a new one replaces it. Researchers have now, for the first time, observed regular cycles of root tip loss and regrowth in real time. In doing so, they uncovered the signal and receptor that coordinate this process.” (Institute of Science and Technology, via

A dangerous parasitic illness spread by bugs that bite people’s faces at night is spreading in the US, doctors warn. (

Why Victorian gardeners loathed magenta.  “For decades, British and American gardeners avoided magenta flowers. The color had associations with the unnatural and the poisonous.” (Allison Meier,

The bark side of the force “-What forces enable trees to stand upright? To grow straight, plants need a motor system that controls their posture by generating forces to offset gravity. Scientists have long thought that this motor force was controlled only by the internal forces induced in wood. In a new study, scientists show that bark is also involved in the generation of mechanical stresses in several tree species.” (CNRS, via

When roots crack and worms crunch.  “Roots can be “listened to” while growing – and worms when burrowing. Researchers … present a new method for soil analysis.” (Michael Walther, ETH Zurich, via

Insectivorous birds consume annually as much energy as the city of New York! (University of Basel,

A conversation between plants’ daily and aging clocks.Scientists have found out how the two clocks talk to each other genetically…”(Institute for Basic Science via

Control Freaks-Scientists spent years on a plan to import this wasp to kill stinkbugs. Then it showed up on its own in New Jersey. (Kelly Servick,

Great photos of spiders found in Oregon! (ODA, via

Great info on how design a school garden. (

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