horticulture Archives - Revolution Bioengineering

Category Archives: horticulture

02 Apr

From color-changing flowers to deer-resistant tulips

Spring is here! Your tulips might just be poking out of the ground – or they might have already been eaten by deer.

But what if you could buy deer-resistant tulips?

Deer eating tulipsRevolution Bioengineering would love to make that happen. They are plant scientists, they have a passion for flowers and have enough ideas to fill a whole new garden. However, tulips can take five to seven years to mature, and that’s a long time to develop a product for a new company. So instead they’ve picked a quicker project: Color changing flowers.

In collaboration with scientists in the Netherlands and New York, RevBio is bringing petunias that change color to the garden in 2017. Their first flower goes from white to red when you share a beer with it – think of it as drinking buddy!

Our team is looking to the garden community to get these flowers into the ground with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. You can pre-order your color-changing flower and jumpstart development of other varieties like their next design, a petunia that goes from pink to blue and back again, using the plant’s internal clock to change colors every 12 hours.

color change flowersThat’s only the beginning for RevBio. CEO Keira Havens shares “Plants have incredible networks that they use to navigate their changing environment. We can work with these designs to breed all sorts of amazing flowers with new colors, scents, and patterns.” COO Nikolai Braun adds “In addition to aesthetics, we’d like to develop plants that use their resources more efficiently, and perform more robustly in the garden. I’m from Colorado and every year it snows in the middle of May – I’d love to be able to plant annuals in April and have them survive that last storm.”

07 Jan

Plant Blindness – Can’t see the forest

Do you suffer from planta ablepsia? Common symptoms include not spending enough time in wild places, being unable to identify what part of which plant generates the french fry, and thinking of plants as “biological wallpaper”

blog post plant blindness banana leaf A banana leaf – trillions of cells turning sunlight and carbon dioxide into a beautifully geometric wallpaper for your computer screen.

Plants are everywhere, but people tend to ignore them. As time spent in the woods becomes time spent in front of a screen, it’s easy to go through life without having to look closely at the green things around us. This has become known as plant blindness and it’s something that botanists, educators, and gardeners across the world are working to end.

blog post plant blindness allOne plant, many uses. A) Banana; B) Banana C) Banana D) Banana

We depend on plants not only for the food we eat, what we feed our animals, and the fibers we wear, but for their role in maintaining a living planet. Plants breathe with us, consuming carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They purify water and release it into the atmosphere, influencing the water cycle. They provide habitat for animals and insects, and tie soil to the landscape, maintaining a healthy ecosystem capable of sustaining life.

“…people don’t understand that plants are absolutely integral to our survival and the survival of every other living thing on the planet. We could not live without them.” – Thomas A Block, Director Morris Hill Arboretum

Our understanding of these processes is not complete, neither within a plant nor on a global scale. Forests pull up to 30% of the carbon dioxide humans produce out of the air and into their timber – but we don’t know the best way to manage them to mitigate climate change. Botanical research and seed preservation face devastating budget cuts, weakening our ability to study biodiversity and improve conservation efforts. Even with growing interest in local farming and protecting the environment, there is a long way to go before plants are appreciated the way they need to be.

blog post plant blindness tree
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. Plant, study and preserve for the next generation.

Plants are more than just background scenery – they have a critical role to play in our future. We hope our color-changing flower will ignite a new fascination with plants, inspiring people to take a second look at the tree in their backyard and the flowers in their garden.

References:
Botanists battle ‘plant blindness’ with seeds of knowledge in the Philadelphia Post by V.A. Smith
13 Dec

Wonder where that poinsettia came from?

Today is Poinsettia day!

This time of year, you probably have a poinsettia on your table, and maybe there’s more than one at work. In Mexico, they’d get to be 15 feet tall, but after the Christmas season in North America they’ll be lucky to be saved by that one person in the office with that green viney thing growing all the way around their cubicle (If you know the name of that plant, that’s you. You’re the one that saves the poinsettias).

Row after row of poinsettia flowers grown in Florida for the holiday season

Row after row of poinsettia flowers grown in Florida for the holiday season

We buy over 34 million of the plants each year – that’s nearly 150 million dollars! And these days they come in red, cream, hot pink, salmon, burgundy and combinations of the two! We got the chance to see these beautiful plants in person during our last visit to an enormous indoor plant grower in Florida. You can see the (almost mile long) shade house and the beautiful poinsettias within.

We put together a little infographic in honor of these flowers with the big holiday spirit. Enjoy!