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Flower attracts insects by pretending to be a mushroom

USDA Invasive Species News -

The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that  A. elatior  had the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms.

Poison-ivy an unlikely hero in warding off exotic invaders?

USDA Invasive Species News -

The invasive Japanese knotweed causes much more severe damage to floodplain forests along the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania, USA, than previously thought. Furthermore, the researchers point to a key role for the often-maligned poison-ivy as a native species that can not only compete with knotweed but also help sustain the growth of new trees.

Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing

USDA Invasive Species News -

Productivity and stability of forest ecosystems strongly depend on the functional diversity of plant communities. Researchers have developed a new method to measure and map functional diversity of forests at different scales -- from individual trees to whole communities -- using remote sensing by aircraft. Their work paves the way for future airborne and satellite missions to monitor global plant functional diversity.

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