Announcing our plant patent tracker

PP25095, submitted image

PP25095, submitted image

We’ve been interested in plant patents for a while at  It’s fascinating to track them and see what’s in the pipes for floriculture, crop sciences, or landscaping.  We realized that it was becoming tedious to monitor this stuff using the standard tools that are out there, so we started populating our own database with plant patent data.

Every Tuesday we report on the past week’s issue plant patents.  Right now we just give you the name of the plants that patents were issued for, but we’re extending our database to include:

  • assignee
  • inventor (breeder/discoverer)
  • attorney
  • patent examiner
  • applicant city/state/country
  • expiration date
  • scientific name
  • all plant patents available electronically, back to December 1976

We think it would be interesting to be able to search for all of the patents issued to a given breeder, see which countries are specializing in hybridization of what species, etc.

What features would you like to see?  Comment below, and check back every Tuesday to see the latest updates!

Email changes at, caused by AOL and Yahoo!

The problem

Recently AOL and Yahoo! implemented changes that prevented mail from and from going through any server other than their own.

This meant that AOL and Yahoo! users couldn’t send mail through many internet mailing lists — their messages were just deleted and nobody ever saw them.

We didn’t think this was very fair for AOL and Yahoo! to do to their users, so we came up with a workaround at

The solution

Now, when you send an email to a address you get a unique email address at that will be tied to that email address forever.  We replace your email address with one for, so now it doesn’t look like it came from your address any more.

For example, if

sends an email to the perennials mailing list, their email might be rewritten to look like it came from

Our mail server will always remember that address, and if anyone sends a message there it will be forwarded back to the original email address associated with it (after spam and virus checking, of course).

There are lots of advantages to this:

  1. AOL and Yahoo! users can now send messages to mailing lists at again!
  2. If other sites implement policies like AOL and Yahoo! did their mail won’t be lost.
  3. Email addresses can be hidden in future messages added to the archives.
  4. Putting this change in place made some of the other plans easier to implement.  You’ll be able to change how your name appears in emails, for example.

So when you send an email to one of our mailing lists, don’t freak out if the address looks weird.  It’s intentional, it’s good, and it’s making sure your message gets out while protecting your privacy.