This issue really was a joy to edit. The last year has been so focused on human health and disease across all the areas of our lives (I never thought I would need to explain what a virus is in so many different social situations), reading about plants and flowers made me think and appreciate areas of our world that I hadn’t considered for some time. My small role in helping to bring these articles to you has been a thought-provoking process for me.

For me personally, and I know many others have felt the same, spending time in nature has been an important way of managing my mental health while we have been at home. I have taken more notice of what is around me and I have certainly been more aware of the passing of seasons and the appearance of local plants and flowers.

As we have spent more time outside and noticed the nature around us you may have considered the biochemistry taking place in gardens, parks, forests and fields. As most flowers come into bloom the articles in this issue may give you some more food for thought as you enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the outdoors over the summer.

Plants can provide lots of enjoyment, but this issue is extremely important because we rely on and owe so much to plants – to sustain us, clothe us and provide our homes. We have a responsibility to ensure we protect our environment. Understanding plants and flowers can help us to do that.

Climate change is an ever-present and ever-changing situation that requires us to change the current status quo and we need new solutions for our crops, quickly. It also means we need to account for our changing environment in altering what plants we can grow where. Biochemistry has a vital role to play in understanding the process of flowering to help us support plants in their growth and development of seeds and/or for propagation.

Continuing to provide food for a growing global population in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way should be a priority across the globe. To achieve this, a better understanding of biochemical pathways in multi-use plants that haven’t traditionally been used as crops, such as Cannabis, could unlock some new approaches to how we live and continuing to adapt plants we rely on (such as legumes) can offer new opportunities for the future.