It’s a low-down, dirty cheat. A newly discovered Japanese plant spends most of its life hidden underground and steals nutrients from fungi rather than getting its energy from the sun.
The primary act of social media—whether Twitter, tumblr, or Instagram—is virtual curation. Around the turn of the 20th century, though, the curation fad was literal: people roamed fields and forests to collect plant specimens and preserve them in plant libraries called herbaria. Now those old specimens are helping scientists reconstruct how trees have responded to shifts in the climate.
Scientists have recently gleaned data from New England herbarium specimens on historical timing of leaf-out—the time in spring when leaves unfurl, an important biological indicator of climate change.