News Round-Up

Researchers explore what makes the Christmas tree evergreen


The scent of forest, shiny Christmas balls, tinsel and homemade crackers – one of the highlights of Christmas is of course when the Christmas tree stands green and decorated in the house. With the help of the Nobel Prize-winning genetic scissors, assistant professor Alizée Malnoë at Umeå University, Sweden, wants to explore what makes the Christmas tree evergreen.

The spruce retains the ability to perform photosynthesis in the winter even if the conditions are not good for carbon dioxide fixation. If the needles open their fissure openings to let in carbon dioxide, they can lose precious water that they cannot get back from the frozen ground. Recent studies have shown that the spruce’s photosynthetic apparatus during the winter is short-circuited in a special way to mitigate the risk that the excess absorbed light energy will be harmful. MORE

Header image: Christmas tree in the snow. Credit: Mostphotos.