The fifth international “Fascination of Plants Day” will be launched by plant scientists across the world under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).
The goal of this activity is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and the production of plant-based non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation is also a key message.
Everybody is welcome to join this initiative!
Fascination of Plant Day (FoPD) hosted by the Linnean center at SLU, Uppsala with support from SPPS (Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society)
- Experimental stations open from 11 to 16 (Swedish and English)
- Short talks
Come and discover lots of new and fascinating things you didn’t know about plants.
Station 1 – The Plant Microbiome: behold and grow the unseen
Plants are home to a plethora of microscopic organisms. These microbes may cause diseases, but surprisingly they may also be innocuous or even beneficial. In this station, visitors can look under the microscope to see (1) how fungi can be both friends and foes of pine seedlings and (2) the diversity of microbes in a leaf. Besides this, the “plant microbiome” concept will be further explored with a fun card game!
Station 2 – Plant organ evolution station
At this station, we will introduce the tree of plants: the major clades of plants, their morphological characteristics, and their relatedness in the context of evolution. The activities are divided into two parts: 1. we will prepare pictures and real specimen (leaves, flowers, seeds, etc.) and the participant will identify different parts/organs that belonging to the same plant; 2. We will prepare the backbone of phylogeny, and the participant will sort these assembled plants into the categories algae, bryophytes, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms.
Station 3 – DNA on a stick
The DNA molecule stores information about the looks and function of all living organisms. Pick your favourite fruit, extract its DNA and collect it on a stick.
Station 4 – Plant immunity
This station will explain how plants are in danger from microbes like viruses, bacteria and fungi. The different strategies microbes have to enter the plant body will be shown, as well as examples of how plants defend themselves. Participants will even be able to try infecting plants themselves.
Station 5 – The Plant cell and water transport
What does a plant cell look like and how is water transported? Come and see what plant cells look like under a magnifying microscope. Discover how water is transported and how osmosis work. Maybe after that, you can make a Dandelion curl!
- Scientific short talks (English)
Six scientists from SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) will present short talks on a range of research topics about plant life and potential uses and improvement of plants. The talks will last ~20 min combined and will be followed by time for informal discussions with the public. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet and talk to SLU scientists and find out more about why we should all be fascinated by plants.
Talks will run every hour from 12:15 to 15:15 and will last ~20 min
Titles of talks
- “Why are plants fascinating?” by Theodore Serivichyaswat (PhD student)
- “How and why plants communicate to each other” by Velemir Ninkovic (Senior Lecturer)
- “Can Plants Heal?” by Shamik Mazumdar (PhD student)
- “Dying to Make it: Programmed Cell Death in Plant Development and Survival” by Adrian Dauphinee (Researcher)
- “Tales of plant hybrids: to be or not be a new species?” by Gerardo Del Toro De León (Researcher)
- “What is GMO?” by Pernilla Elander (PhD student)
What colours are hidden in the leaves of plants? Why are the interactions between plants and insects so important? What are microalgae and how can they be used? Prepare your own seed paper and isolate DNA from berries. We invite you to a day filled with different activities around plants and plant research. Pass by and get fascinated by the world of plants!
- The hidden secrets of plants
Do you know what counts as a fruit and what as a nut? Test your knowledge in our botany quiz.
- The impressive adaptability of plants
Many of our plants are found in several different landscapes. They grow in the mountains and by the sea. How do they manage to adapt and what role does temperature, water, light or other factors play? Come by and get impressed by the adaptability of the plants!
- Plant babies on the move
Learn how seeds are spread and make your own seed papers!
- Are the leaves just green?
Find out which colours are hidden in plant leaves and isolate them!
- What are microalgae and what can we use them for?
Here you will see different species of microalgae used in biotechnology. Look in the microscope and compare differences in shape, size and mobility. We will show different products made from microalgae and you can experiment yourself and measure acidity with red cabbage juice.
- DNA isolation from berries
Why does a tomato look different from a blueberry and why is the banana bent? Everything depends on DNA and genes. Here you can isolate DNA from plants using ordinary kitchen utensils.
- Together we are strong: root-fungal symbiosis in the forest
Have you heard of ectomycorrhiza – a symbiosis between trees and fungi in the forest? Here you can discover fluffy, lean or coloured fungal cultures, look “underground” to observe the plant root structure, study the symbiosis in the microscope or with the help of sterile plant cultures. Let us open up the ground for you and show how we explore how fungi and plant roots talk and live with each other.
- Life as thale cress – the world’s most famous plant
Do you know thale cress or Arabidopsis thaliana? This is the most famous plant in plant research, even though it is “just” a weed. We will show you different forms and growth stages of thale cress and you can take one exemplar of this “celebrity plant” home if you wish.
- What are stomata?
Stomata are microscopically small pores found on the leaf surface of plants. They regulate the gas exchange with the environment to take up for example carbon dioxide and release oxygen. At this station, you can take pictures of the leaf surface temperature while the stomata are closing in different parts of the leaf.
- Mushroom growing
Learn more about how mushrooms grow on wood, how you can cultivate mushrooms and why this is interesting for the wood biomass industry!
- Interactions between plants and insects
Why are the interactions between plants and insects so important? Learn more about plants that are necessary for pollinating insects, about bee keeping and take a look on our insect hotels. If the weather permits, we will offer a bee and butterfly safari around Väven!
- Skogforsk’s activities at Sävar station
Skogforsk, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, presents their activities at the Sävar research station. See the plants they are researching on and have a look on their “horror cabinet”.
- Exhibition of bonsai trees
Bonsai trees are fascinating plants – how can they be so small and yet so old? The Bonsaisällskapet will show bonsai of our forest trees (e.g. spruce and pine) and explain how to make and care for a bonsai.
- The Origin of a plant life
What do you know about the evolution of plants? How does flowering plants like maize or cabbage differ from coniferous trees like pine? Look at the origin of their lives and see how they evolve from seeds.
- Short scientific lectures (in Swedish and English)
At 12:00 o’clock and 14:00 o’clock you will have the opportunity to listen to the following six different short lectures (only 3 min long):
-Pollineringsekologi: Varför är samspelet mellan växter och insekter så viktigt? Varför håller de pollinerande insekterna på att försvinna? Vad kan vi göra för att motverka det?
Natuschka Lee, researcher at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University
-Plant-soil interactions in the sub-arctic tundra
Clydecia Spitzer, PhD student at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
-How do plants make plumbing pipes from cells?
Sacha Escamez, post doctor at the Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University
-Winter is coming – but how does the tree know that?
Domenique André, PhD student at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Stefan Jansson, professor at the Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University
Zsofia Stangl, post doctor at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences