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Biochemistry

Dahlia colour chemistry: Why don’t we see blue dahlias?

Dahlias: the jewels of the late summer garden. Shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, with their petals forming intricate geometric structures. But, like roses and many other flowers, the dahlia spectrum is missing one colour: blue. So why are blue blooms so rare in nature?

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Biochemistry C&EN

The chemistry of plant flowering – in C&EN

What causes plants to flower in the springtime, and what is responsible for the range of colours and aromas their bloom produce? In the latest edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical & Engineering News, we look at the chemicals in play. Visit the C&EN site to view the full graphic.

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Biochemistry

Peonin and the colour of peonies

Peonies bloom fleetingly at the end of spring and start of summer, usually only lasting around 10 days. Inspired by this tweet from Dr Jess Wade, here’s a quick look at the molecule which gives them their colour. There’s more on the pH dependence of anthocyanin colour here.

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Biochemistry

The chemistry of tulips and tulip fingers

‘Tulip fingers’ might sound like a bizarre floral-themed version of Edward Scissorhands, but it’s actually a condition that can be caused by skin contact with tulip bulbs. It’s common amongst workers in the tulip industry, whose jobs involve sorting and packaging of tulip bulbs. This graphic takes a look at the compounds behind the condition.

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Biochemistry

Do daffodils kill other flowers in vases?

Spring is here, and daffodils are blooming. You might have some in your garden, or you might pick some up at a florist to put in a vase at home. If you do, it’s a good idea to place them in a vase on their own – there are chemical reasons why daffodils and other […]

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Biochemistry C&EN

The Chemistry of Daffodils – in C&EN

In the Northern Hemisphere spring is beginning to emerge from winter, heralded by the blooming of bright yellow daffodils. This graphic featured in C&EN a few years back and looks at some interesting chemical facets of this seasonal flower: what causes its smell, its colour, and a surprising link to Alzheimer’s treatments. View the full […]