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Concept: Herbaceous plant


Megaherbivores (>1000 kg) are critical for ecosystem health and function, but face population collapse and extinction globally. The future of these megaherbivore-impoverished ecosystems is difficult to predict, though many studies have demonstrated increasing representation of C3 woody plants. These studies rely on direct observational data, however, and tools for assessing decadal-scale changes in African ecology without observation are lacking. We use isotopic records of historical common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) canines to quantify herbaceous vegetation change in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda following a period of civil unrest and poaching. This poaching event led to population collapse of two threatened African megaherbivore species: hippopotamus and African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Serial carbon isotope ratios (δ(13)C) in canine enamel from individuals that lived between 1960-2000 indicated substantial increases in C3 herbaceous plants in their diet (<20% C3 in the 1960s to 30-45% C3 in the 80s and 90s), supported by other observational and ecological data. These data indicate megaherbivore loss results in succession of both woody and herbaceous C3 vegetation and further reaching effects, such as decreased grazing capacity and herbivore biodiversity in the area. Given multiple lines of evidence, these individuals appear to accurately capture herbaceous vegetation change in Mweya.

Concepts: Ecology, Elephant, Hippopotamus, Perennial plant, Megafauna, Herbaceous plant


Musa seminifera Lour is a tree-like perennial herb that has been used in folk medicine in Bangladesh to heal a number of ailments.

Concepts: Herbaceous plant


Codonopsis lanceolata (Campanulaceae) is dicotyledonous herbaceous perennial plant, predominantly found in Central, East, and South Asia. This plant has been widely used in traditional medicine and is considered to have medicinal properties to treat diseases and symptoms such as bronchitis, coughs, spasm, psychoneurosis, cancer, obesity, hyperlipidemia, edema, hepatitis, colitis, and lung injury. C. lanceolata contains many biologically active compounds, including polyphenols, saponins, tannins, triterpene, alkaloids, and steroids, which contribute to its numerous pharmacological activities. Through systematic studies, the pharmacological actions of these compounds have been revealed. Therapeutic potentialities of C. lanceolata and its previously reported molecular mechanisms are described in this review. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Plant, Tree, Annual plant, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant, Codonopsis


Vegetative dormancy, that is the temporary absence of aboveground growth for ≥ 1 year, is paradoxical, because plants cannot photosynthesise or flower during dormant periods. We test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses for its widespread persistence. We show that dormancy has evolved numerous times. Most species displaying dormancy exhibit life-history costs of sprouting, and of dormancy. Short-lived and mycoheterotrophic species have higher proportions of dormant plants than long-lived species and species with other nutritional modes. Foliage loss is associated with higher future dormancy levels, suggesting that carbon limitation promotes dormancy. Maximum dormancy duration is shorter under higher precipitation and at higher latitudes, the latter suggesting an important role for competition or herbivory. Study length affects estimates of some demographic parameters. Our results identify life historical and environmental drivers of dormancy. We also highlight the evolutionary importance of the little understood costs of sprouting and growth, latitudinal stress gradients and mixed nutritional modes.

Concepts: Evolution, Life, Species, Plant, Annual plant, Vegetative reproduction, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant


Growth of herbaceous plants responds sensitively and rapidly to climate variability. Yet, little is known regarding how climate warming influences the growth of herbaceous plants, particularly in semi-arid sites. This contrasts with widely reported tree growth decline and even mortality in response to severe water deficits due to climate warming around the world. Here, we use the relatively novel approach of herb-chronology to analyze the correlation between climatic factors and annual ring width in the root xylem of two perennial forb species (Medicago sativa, Potentilla chinensis) in the Loess Plateau of China. We show that warming-induced water deficit has a significant negative effect on the growth of herbaceous plants in the Loess Plateau. Our results indicate that the growth of forbs responds rapidly and sensitively to drought variability, implying that water availability plays a dominant role in regulating the growth of herbaceous plants in semi-arid areas. If warming and drying in the Loess Plateau continue in the future, further affects the growth of herbaceous plants, potentially driving regional changes in the relationship between herbaceous vegetation and climate.

Concepts: Precipitation, Climate, Climate change, Tree, Plant morphology, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant, Forb


Pseudostellaria heterophylla (P. heterophylla), a herbaceous perennial, belongs to Caryophyllaceae family and is one of the Chinese herbal medicine with high pharmacodynamic value. It can be used to treat the spleen deficiency, anorexia, weakness after illness and spontaneous perspiration symptoms. Our previous study found that consecutive monoculture of Pseudostellaria heterophylla could lead to the deterioration of the rhizosphere microenvironment. The specialized forms of pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.Sp. heterophylla (F. oxysporum) in rhizosphere soils of P. heterophylla plays an important role in the consecutive monoculture of P. heterophylla.

Concepts: Plant, Symptoms, Fusarium oxysporum, Herbalism, Herb, Chinese herbology, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant


Colletotrichum chlorophyti is a fungal pathogen that infects various herbaceous plants, including crops such as legumes, tomato, and soybean. Here, we present the genome of C. chlorophyti NTL11, isolated from tomato. Analysis of this genome will allow a clearer understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying fungal host range and pathogenicity.

Concepts: Bacteria, Plant, Animal, Fruit, Seed, Plant morphology, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant


The ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) is a perennial herbaceous plant that has been used in traditional oriental medicine for thousands of years. Ginsenosides, which have significant pharmacological effects on human health, are the foremost bioactive constituents in this plant. Having realized the importance of this plant to humans, an integrated omics resource becomes indispensable to facilitate genomic research, molecular breeding and pharmacological study of this herb.

Concepts: Medicine, Genetics, Health, Traditional Chinese medicine, Ginseng, Ginsenoside, Perennial plant, Herbaceous plant


Amorphophallus is a perennial herbaceous plant species mainly distributed in the tropics or subtropics of Asia and Africa. It has been used as a traditional medicine for a long time and now is utilized for the pharmaceutical, chemical and agriculture industries as a valued economic crop. Recently, Amorphophallus has attracted tremendous interest because of its high ceramide content. However, the breeding and genome studies are severely limited by the arduous whole genome sequencing of Amorphophallus. In this study, the transcriptome data of A. muelleri was obtained by utilizing the high-throughput Illumina sequencing platform. Based on this information, the majority of the significant genes involved in the proposed sphingolipid metabolic pathway were identified. Then, the full-length neutral ceramidase cDNA was obtained with the help of its candidate transcripts, which were acquired from the transcriptome data. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this neutral ceramidase was a real ceramidase by eukaryotic expression in the yeast double knockout mutant Δypc1 Δydc1, which lacks the ceramidases-dihydroCDase (YDC1p), phytoCDase (YPC1p). In addition, the biochemical characterization of purified A. muelleri ceramidase (AmCDase) exhibited classical Michaelis-Menten kinetics with an optimal activity ranging from pH 6.5 to 8.0. Based on our knowledge, this study is the first to report the related information of the neutral ceramidase in Amorphophallus. All datasets can provide significant information for related studies, such as gene expression, genetic improvement and application on breeding in Amorphophallus.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Bacteria, Molecular biology, Organism, Herbaceous plant


The evaluation of radiation exposure in 14 species of herbaceous plants from the East-Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT) zone was performed, using the ERICA Tool, v. 1.2. Recent (up to 2015) levels of radionuclide activity concentration were measured in soil and vegetative plant mass.239,240Pu content was used for the first time to estimate external dose rates for herbaceous plant species along the pollution gradient. In addition, a new approach to assessing the geometry of objects was adopted, including not only aboveground but also underground plant organs. This improved approach to the evaluation of radiation exposure confirms previous findings that herbaceous plant populations currently exist under low-level chronic exposure in the EURT area. This reassessment based on new data suggests a 48-977-fold increase in the total dose rate per plant organism at the most polluted site compared to background areas. The highest capacity for the transfer of90Sr and137Cs was observed in Taraxacum officinale and Plantago major. In these species, the total dose rate per plant exceeded 150 μGy h-1due to90Sr + 137Cs + 239,240Pu radionuclide anthropogenic pollution in the EURT zone. All estimated total dose rates per plant were below the dose rate screening value of 400 μGy h-1.

Concepts: Plant, Radioactive decay, Plant morphology, Radioactive contamination, Perennial plant, Radionuclide, Taraxacum officinale, Herbaceous plant