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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

 

 

  • Dugong Featured Article Dugong Dugong

    The Dugong, often referred to as the sea cow, is actually more closely related to elephants than to the bovine namesake.  Throughout much of their range, the Dugong has... More »

  • Endangered species Featured Article Endangered species Endangered species

    An endangered species is a biological taxon that is at risk of becoming extinct in a proximate time frame much sooner than the long term horizon in which species typically... More »

  • Composting tips Featured Article Composting tips Composting tips

    Composting turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer and soil organic matter. All organic matter eventually decomposes. Composting speeds the process by providing an... More »

  • Limestone Featured Article Limestone Limestone

      Limestone  is a sedimentary rock whose chief mineral component is calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3). Limestone can be formed by precipitation of calcite... More »

  • Aquifer Featured Article Aquifer Aquifer

    Introduction An aquifer is a geologic formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant... More »

  • Selenium Featured Article Selenium Selenium

    Selenium is a gray, metallic element. Its atomic number is 34 and its symbol is Se. The Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered selenium in 1817. In studying the... More »

  • Marine microbes Featured Article Marine microbes Marine microbes

    The term 'Marine microbes' encompasses all microscopic organisms generally found in saltwater. Most micro-organisms are acellular and fall into the major categories of... More »

  • Trinity Site, New Mexico Featured Article Trinity Site, New Mexico Trinity Site, New Mexico

    Trinity Site, Alamogordo Bombing Range, New Mexico ( 33°40'30.00"N, 106°28'30.00"W) was the site of the first atmospheric atomic bomb test which took... More »

  • Healthy Community Design Featured Article Healthy Community Design Healthy Community Design

    The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community... More »

Recently Updated
Fenugreek Last Updated on 2014-08-22 15:04:52 Fenugreek Seedlings (Source: Saikat Basu, own work) Scientific Classification Kingdom: Plantae Phylum:  Anthophyta Class:   Dicotyledoneae Order:   Fabales Family:  Fabaceae Genus:   Trigonella Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum Binomial name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L. Fenugreek (Trigonella) is the oldest medicinal plant in the world. Most popular species of this genus is Trigonella foenum-graecum, where the term “foenum-graecum” means ‘Greek hay’ pointing to its use as a forage crop in the past, fenugreek is grown mainly as a spice crop in the recent times. The plant is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region1-6. There are several controversies regarding the origin of the fenugreek plant for which no proper theory as to the... More »
Apiaceae or Umbelliferae: The carrot and parsley family Last Updated on 2014-08-22 14:29:26 The Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family is comprised of over 280 genera and nearly 3,000 species, distributed over the sub-tropical, sub-temperate and temperate regions. Plants of the family are predominantly herbaceous and typcially are used commercially as aromatic medicinal plants and spices around the globe. Physical Description Leaves are alternating and either pinnately or palmately compound and exstipulate. Flowers are small, predominantly bisexual (hermaphrodite) and regular, with some variations observed across different genera. Calyx is characterized by 5 sepals, corolla consists of 5 inflexed petals (often absent in some genera). The androecium consists of 5 stamens and the gynoecium is comprised of a compound pistil produced due to fusion of the two carpels and characterized by the presence of a pair of styles staged on a broad platform (stylopodium). The ovary is of... More »
Amaranthaceae: The pigweed family Last Updated on 2014-08-22 14:28:24 Amaranthaceae is a plant family in the order Caryophyllales that is native to tropical America and Africa, ranging between tropics and sub-tropics to more temperate regions. The family is believed to have originated in either the southwestern region of the United States, Latin America, or Africa. The Amaranthaceae family is dominated by herbs but also includes vines, shrubs and trees, and is comprised of approximately 800 species represented by 60 plus genera and broadly divided into two sub families (Amaranthoideae and Gomphrenoideae). Physical Description Leaves are mostly simple and entire, non-stipulate, phyllotaxy is alternate/opposite. Flowers are regular, cyclic, tiny, and characterized by spiny perianth with conspicuous bracts and bractlets and are either unisexual/bisexual (hermaphrodite), solitary/aggregated into inflorescence (spikes/cymes/heads) (Fig 1). Calyx... More »
Cucurbitaceae: The amazing world of cucurbits Last Updated on 2014-08-22 14:26:25 The Cucurbitaceae family represents over 90 genera and approximately 960 species. The distribution is predominantly tropical and subtropical, with only a few species occurring in the temperate regions.  Plants are monoecious/dioecious and have tendrils (usually one per node), are either annual or perennial, and are typically herbaceous/woody/vines/climbers/trailers/lianas, or sometimes trees. Shoots are angular, herbaceous/woody/succulent with stem anatomy showing conspicuous bicollateral vascular bundles that are easy to identify even without staining. Leaves are alternate, spiral, petiolate, membranaceous/succulent, without stipules. They can be simple or compound (ternate/palmate), have margins with small glandular teeth (hydathodes), are hairy (glandular/eglandular), and have cystolith (crystals) present. Flowers are solitary or aggregated into inflorescences... More »
Cactaceae: The cactus family Last Updated on 2014-08-22 14:21:37 The Cactaceae is a family belonging to the order Caryophyllales.  Cacti typically are found in  dry and arid desert or semi-desert regions  with high average daytime temperatures and cold nights, and high evaporation rates.  Cacti range from Canada to Argentina, predominantly occurring in the warm and arid reaches of the continents of both North and South America across a wide range of different habitats like deserts, sandy coastal stretches, scrublands, dry deciduous forests, high alpine steppes and tropical rain forests (Barthlott and Hunt, 1993; Gibson and Nobel, 1986; Nyffeler, 2001). The main diversity centers are Mexico and south-west USA, central Andes, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina with Mexico being the richest and most endemic region (Boyle and Anderson, 2002; Ortega-Baes and Godínez-Alvarez, 2006). The family is... More »