Pear seedlings from a book about Luther Burbank

The Marvelous Experiments of Amateur Plant Breeders

Over 100 years ago, a horticulturalist introduced hybrid plants to California gardeners. Up sprouted a movement of amateur experiments in plant biology.
Mint

Plant of the Month: Mint

From the fields of ancient Egypt to the present-day American Pacific Northwest, the history of mint goes beyond the search for fresh breath.
A book opened to a chapter on Tumeric

Plant of the Month: Turmeric

The plant’s golden color has inspired a long—and potentially deadly—fascination.
A developing Gall on a Quercus pubescens caused by the insect Cynips quercusfolii.

Are Galls Miracle Cures or Just Weird Growths on Plants?

For millennia, humans have exploited galls for medicine, fuel, food, tanning, and dyeing. Some people have considered them miraculous.
Mimosa pudica

Plant of the Month: The Sensitive Plant

This plant’s animal-like behavior and alleged love-provoking abilities have sparked the imagination of everyone from early modern yogis to today’s scientists.
agave

Plant of the Month: Agave

The international popularity of tequila threatens the quantity, health, and biodiversity of all species of agave.
Two people gathering seeds

Can Crops’ Wild Relatives Save Troubled Agriculture?

Cultivating a limited number of crops reduced the genetic diversity of plants, endangering harvests. Seed collectors hope to fix it by finding the plants’ wild cousins.
Potted herbs sitting on a windowsill

Three Ways to Turn Your Apartment into a Sustainable Garden

Even the smallest city dwelling has enough space for a mini-meadow or a few flower pots.
Mary Somerset

The Beaufort Botanist and Her “Innocent Diversion”

Despite the twelve volume herbarium she created, this seventeenth-century scientist earned little recognition. 
Orchids in a Wardian Case

The Accidental Invention of Terrariums

Victorian London became obsessed with Ward's cases, which protected plants from the city's toxic pollution -- and piqued peoples' imaginations.