American chestnuts all were mostly dead by the 1950s, due to a blight fungus that was discovered in 1905. An American chestnut tree was recently located in a Maine forest.
The artist Mark Barnes uses a famous invasive vine, kudzu, as a primary material in his work, and several of the pieces are top-sellers in his area.
One of the Joshua trees, a relative of the yucca that reaches for the sky and reminded early Mormon settlers of a Biblical story, recently burned at the national park with its name. It was determined as human-caused.
If all goes well, after New Year's the researchers on the International Space Station may find themselves amid a lot of zinnias, the bright garden flower. These will provide learnings for growing blooming plants in space, and tomatoes might be next.
In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) uses his knowledge of botany to successfully grow potatoes and lengthen his food supply while stranded on Mars. While his methods are sound, researchers are curious about whether it could actually be done.