News Stories

Plants Have Long Distance Romance

Can two plants living 100 miles apart find romance? They can if they have a gardener who's handy with a turkey baster. A rare female cycad plant, which only produces seeds every few years, is currently ready for fertilization in a British botanical garden, but has no mate. A male plant producing pollen was found in another garden in the U.K., so horticulturist Wesley Shaw is playing the role of cupid.

Shaw says, "Pollinating these cycads is quite a tricky business but we are confident it will work." Most plants solve the problem by being bisexual, but ancient plants like cycads, which were around 206 million years ago, are still either male or female. Cycads can live for hundreds of years, and the male plant is about 80 years old?but he's not too old to be a dad.

To see how it's done,click here.

Are plants telling us something? Crop circles certainly are?but what's their message? Our science reporter Linda Howe went to the crop circle fields of England to find out for herself.

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