Artist Uses Real Flower Petals to Create Intricate Fairy Dresses

Momotsuki, a 20-year-old artist from Japan, blends her love of gardening and fantasy into a unique art form she calls named “Fairy Dress“.

If you think about it, flowers make perfect dresses for fairies, but you need the skill and imagination to turn them into functional garments, and Momotsuki, the talented artist behind the ‘Fairy Dress’ brand, has plenty of both. A passionate gardener with over 14 years of experience, the 20-year-old woman had the brilliant idea to combine her passion for plants with her love of fantasy, fairies in particular. She uses flowers like pansies, morning glories, roses and carnations to create beautiful dresses that any fairy would call herself lucky to wear.

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Animated Oats – The Wild Oat Seeds That ‘Walk’ To Suitable Planting Ground

Certain species of wild oats have a special seed dispersal system that looks as if the seeds are walking on the ground looking for suitable soil to take root in.

Modern-day oats (Avena sativa) have been drastically altered through domestication and are entirely dependent on humans for their survival. Not only do they need to be drilled into the soil, but the seeds remain attached to the panicle to make them easier to harvest and minimize seed losses. Wild oats, on the other hand, are a completely different story. They have evolved highly specialized anatomical features that actually assist the spikelets housing the seeds to move on the ground in search of suitable rooting soil. This amazing ability has won the plants several nicknames, including “Animated Oats” and “Animal Oats”.

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Coco de Mer – The Palm Tree That Produces the World’s Largest Plant Seed

The tropical islands of the Seychelles archipelago are home to a legendary palm tree that produces the world’s largest plant seed – a suggestively-shaped thing that can weigh up to 20 kilograms.

Lodoicea maldivica, also known as the double coconut, or coco-de-mer is a remarkable species of palm tree that grows between 25 and 34 meters tall and yields giant seeds that measure 12 inches long, nearly 3 feet in circumference and have a weight of over 40 pounds. Because of their suggestive shape – they look like a pair of female buttocks – they inspired a number of legends and were highly sought after by both monarchs and other people of influence throughout the years. Even today, their rarity makes coco-de-mer seeds highly sought after by collectors.

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Gardener Grows 1,269 Tomatoes on a Single Plant Stem, Sets World Record

Douglas Smith, a gardener from Hertfordshire, UK recently set a new Guinness Record for most tomatoes grown on a single stem, 1,269.

Up until last summer, the record for most tomatoes grown on a single stem had stood unchallenged for over a decade. Then English farmer Douglas Smith set his sights on breaking it, thinking that he could grow more than 488 fruits on a single stem. And he proved that last year, when he managed to obliterate the old record by growing 839 tomatoes on a greenhouse-grown plant. It was quite the achievement, but he was only getting started, as only a few weeks later the Hertfordshire broke his own record by growing no less than 1,269 tomatoes on a single stem.

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Ornamental Cabbage – The Flowering Cabbage Bred for Looks, Not Taste

Unless you’re a passionate gardener, the only types of cabbage and kale you know are probably the ones grown as food, but there are quite a few ornamental types of cabbage as well, grown only for their beauty.

If you’re looking for something to brighten up your garden in the autumn and winter seasons, ornamental cabbage is definitely an alternative worth considering. While regular kale and cabbage can be traced back 4,000 years, the ornamental types rose to prominence in 17th century Japan, where they became a centerpiece of Japanese gardens. In the early 20th century, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent Howard Dorsett to China and Japan to look for new plants, and the ornamental kale he saw in Japan was one of his favorite finds. Several varieties were brought to the States, and by 1936 they were available to mass markets.

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Japan Starts Selling World’s First Genome-Edited Tomato

Sicilian Rouge High GABA is a special type of tomato designed to contain high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid believed to aid relaxation and help lower blood pressure.

Tokyo-based startup Sanatech Seed Co. teamed up with scientists at the University of Tsukuba to develop a new variety of tomatoes using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. Named Sicilian Rouge High GABA, this new type of tomato contains five to six times the normal level of a type of amino acid called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. According to Japanese media, the company removed an inhibitory domain within the tomato’s genome to enable it to produce these high levels of GABA.

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Welwitschia – The World’s Most Resilient Plant

Welwitschia is a fascinating plant that can not only survive for several thousands of years, but it can do so in one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet, the Namib Desert.

Named after Austrian botanist Friedrich Welwitsch, who discovered it in Angola in 1859, Welwitschia is actually called ‘tweeblaarkanniedood’ in Afrikaans, which translates to “two leaves that cannot die”. That’s a surprisingly accurate name for a plant that grows only two leaves and can survive thousands of years in the world’s oldest desert. Some parts of the Namib Desert receive less than two inches of precipitation a year, but that’s apparently all Welwitschia needs to survive, thanks to its extremely “efficient, low-cost genome”.

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The Legendary Giant Plants of Sakhalin

Located in the Russian Far East, the island of Sakhalin is allegedly home to giant versions of common plants like buckwheat, burdock and butterbur that can grow up to 5 meters tall.

Sakhalin is known for being the largest island in the Russian Federation, as well as a point of contention between Japan and Russia over the centuries. However, according to obscure reports going back over a decade, the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago, as well as the nearby Kuril Islands are home to versions of ordinary herbaceous plants of truly gigantic proportions. Plants that normally reach the knee of an average adult, on these islands allegedly grow several times the height of a human.

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Genetically-Modified Plants Glow When They Are Stressed

A team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has managed to genetically modify potato plants to glow under fluorescent cameras when stressed by various factors.

One of the biggest challenges of modern agriculture is reacting to stress factors before it’s too late. Plants don’t really have a way of conveying how they feel, and, more often than not, by the time visible symptoms appear, it’s already too late to do anything about it. But scientists are hoping to fix this big problem with the help of advanced genetic manipulation. A team of Israeli researchers led by Dr. Shilo Rosenwaser managed to genetically modify a potato plant so that it glows under fluorescent camera when affected by physical stress (lack of water, cold weather, lack of sunlight, strong light etc.).

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This Flower Smells Like Dead Insects to Attract Specific Pollinators

A one-of-a-kind flower endemic to Greece is believed to emit a scent similar to that of decomposing insects in order to attract one of its main pollinators, the coffin fly.

Flowers are usually associated with sweet, pleasant smells, but truth is that not all flowers smell nice. In fact, some smell like some of the grossest thing in the world, and that’s by design, because their pollinators are actually attracted to these disgusting scents. Take Aristolochia microstoma, a small flower endemic to Greece, which deceives its main pollinator, the coffin fly, by emitting a highly unusual mix of scents that includes a compound found in dead beetles. As their name suggests, coffin flies are attracted to carrion, to the scent lures them into the flower where they are trapped long enough to deposit any pollen they carry onto the female organs.

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15-Cetimeter Mutant Potted Plant Sells for $2,200 in Just 30 Minutes

Monstera adansonii is a common house plant that can be purchased for as little as $12 at any home & garden store, but a rare specimen recently sold for a whopping 1,799 euros ($2,200).

A garden center in Lovendegem, Belgium recently sold a rare monstera adansonii specimen for a small fortune, in just 30 minutes. The plant in question was only 15 centimeters tall, but featured an extremely rare mutation that caused its perforated leaves to grow yellow or white, instead of the usual green. This type of plant is virtually impossible to grow, so collectors are willing to pay a high premium to get their hands on it. In this particular case, an anonymous plant collector who had been looking for this rare specimen of monstera adansonii for a while, bought it within 30 minutes of it going on sale.

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World’s Ugliest Orchid Discovered in the Forests of Madagascar

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but looking at this new species of orchid discovered by scientists in the forests of Madagascar, it’s easy to see why it’s already been dubbed the “world’s ugliest orchid”.

With over 700 genera and around 28,000 individual species, orchids make up one of the largest plant families. Most of these species are associated with beauty and elegance, but the newest member of this large family doesn’t really fit that description. Gastrodia agnicellus, one of this year’s newly discovered plants and fungi, has no leaves, grows from a woolly tuberous stem, has a bland brownish color, and spends most of its life underground, emerging only to flower or produce fruit.

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Plant Evolves to Become Less Visible to Humans in Areas With Excessive Harvesting

Fritillaria delavayi, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, has apparently evolved to match its background and become more difficult to spot as a direct consequence of heavy harvesting.

Scientists had known that many plants evolved to use camouflage as a way of hiding from herbivores that may eat them, but a recent study suggests that one particular plant species has developed the same mechanism to hide from human harvesters. Researchers found that fritillaria delavayi plants, which grow on the rocky slopes of China’s Hengduan mountains, match their backgrounds most closely in areas where they are intensely harvested by humans.

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Italy’s Kiwi Plants Are Dying And No One Can Figure Out Why

Italy is the world’s second largest kiwi producer after China, but for the past eight years farmers have been battling a mysterious enemy that has so far killed over twenty percent of the country’s kiwi plants.

It starts with the leaves. They wither and face downwards, and within 10 days they all fall to the ground, leaving the kiwi fruits exposed to direct sunlight. Underground, the roots of the vine darken and begin to rot. In a year or two, the whole plant withers and dies. There is no known cure, and by the time farmers start noticing the symptoms described above, it is already much too late to do anything about it.  The farmers call it morìa, or “die-off”, and it had devastated plantations where kiwi vines have thrived for decades.

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The Heartbreaking Story of the World’s Loneliest Plant

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, in the UK, are home to thousands of fascinating plants, but none as lonely as the Encephalartos woodii, an ancient cycad species and, most likely, the last one of its kind.

It was in 1895 that botanist John Medley Wood noticed this interesting-looking palm tree on a steep slope in Zululand, southern Africa. Intrigued by its multiple trunks and arched palm fronds, Dr. Wood — who made his living collecting rare plants – had some stems removed and sent to London in a box.It ended up in the Palm House at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, where it has been waiting for a mate for over a century. Despite numerous efforts to find it a mate, the Encephalartos woodii at Kew remains alone, unable to produce an offspring and propagate its species. For this reason, many consider it the world’s loneliest plant.

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