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Ten Super Plants Fighting the Environmental Injustice League

Who ya gonna call when your tank's on 'E,' the topsoil's salty or there's too much TNT? The 10 plants believes can save the world, that's who.

Sunbathers by the day, superheroes by night. In a world threatened by overpopulation and an unquenchable thirst for fossil fuels, a few brave plants are leading the fight against carbon, contamination and climate change. Their identities now revealed, scientists and entrepreneurs are working hard to harness the power of these renewable resources for good, not evil.


Here at Miller-McCune, we’ve scanned the literature for the top 10 most promising trees, shrubs and other flora that are making our lives more sustainable. From the depths of the Patagonian rainforest to the drylands of South Africa, promising natural sources of biofuels abound, but so do new options for carbon storage and water purification. And now, with the help of biological engineering, scientists are creating new ways for plants to clean up our messes and literally grow pharmaceutical or formerly petroleum-based products.

Intrigued? Click on the pictures at right, or the links below, to read more about which biota made the cut.

And, readers, we want your opinion of the plants we selected. Did we miss any biota that should have topped our list? What do you think should be next on the horticulture horizon?

Trouble with the links? Click here:

"Captain Biodiesel" alter ego: Jatropha Curcus

Hydro alter ego: Duckweed

"Commander Carbon" alter ego: Spekboom

"The Spore" alter ego: Gliocladium roseum

"Madame Salt" alter ego: Dwarf Glasswort

"Rubber Root" alter ego: Guayule

"The Tidy Team" alter ego: Tobacco, Edenfern, Thale Cress

"Dr. Pharm" alter ego: Safflower

"The Grass Giant" alter ego: Miscanthus

"Prof. Plastic" alter ego: Arabitdopsis thaliana

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