Ten Beneficial Insects For the Garden

Beneficial insects for the garden

Our gardens are a diverse environment that provides a home to microorganisms, insects, and wildlife. Gardeners can harness insects to help keep their plants healthy. Beneficial insects fall into three categories, predators, pollinators and parasiters. Beneficial insects can help keep populations of pests down in the garden and reduce or eliminate the need to use toxic insecticides.

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Ten Deadliest Plants

Ten deadliest plants

Plants have devised a number of ways to protect themselves from herbivory. Thorns, bark, and toxins all serve to deter insects and animals. Toxins can be mild and self-limiting or deadly. We take a look at ten of the world’s most toxic plants.

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Overpotting Plants: What Are the Risks?

The risks of overpotting plants

As the plant grows, the root system develops and eventually the plant runs out of space and will need to move to a larger pot. If you’ve ever seen a severely potbound plant, you will have noticed the roots have curled around the base of the pot and there’s very little dirt left. Leaving a plant in a pot it has outgrown will result in a stunted plant.

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What Are Insoluble Calcium Oxalate Crystals?

What are insoluble calcium oxalate crystals?

First described in 1675 by Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, insoluble calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals are the most abundant biomineral in plants that are present throughout the tissues of 200 plant families and are a potential cause of toxicity in pets.

Calcium oxalate crystals are found in five morphologies

  • Raphides (needle-shaped bundles)
  • Druses (spherical aggregate of individual crystals)
  • Styloids (elongated crystals with ridged or pointed ends)
  • Prismatic (four or more sides similar in length and width)
  • Crystal sands (minute crystals in a single cell).

Raphides pose the greatest risk due to their shape which allows them to penetrate tissues.

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Is Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) Toxic to Dogs?

Is bleeding heart toxic to dogs?

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp., andLamprocapnos spectabilis) is toxic to dogs. The toxic principle is isoquinoline alkaloids, a convulsant and irritant sap that can cause skin irritation and ocular pain. Alkaloids are secondary metabolites that are organic compounds produced by the plant that are not directly involved with growth, development or reproduction. Secondary metabolites have several functions including cooperating with other species, such as flowers that attract insects necessary for pollination or to repel pests including plant-feeding insects and animals and pathogenic microorganisms.

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What Is Etiolation in Plants and Why Does it Occur?

What is etiolation?

Etiolation (ee-tee-oh-lation) is a phenomenon that occurs in plants that grow in limited or absent light. This triggers the elongation of cells at the growth tip to help the plant reach a potential light source (skotomorphogenesis). The word etiolate is derived from the French word étiolé, which means to blanche, referring to the pale colour of the plant. Have you ever lifted an object from the ground to find white plants beneath it? This is a perfect example of etiolated plants.

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