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Mistletoe: a festive & freaky parasite

Mistletoe is in love potions, ancient medicines to ward off epilepsy and ulcers and even a Justin Bieber Christmas song. They actually lodge themselves on other plants to steal nutrients and the bizarre adaptation started in Australia – the true home of mistletoe with about 90 different sap-sucking species. Discover why so many people throughout the ages are fascinated by the mystery and magic of these paradoxical parasites.


Nature play keeps the doctor away

Who do you think spends the least amount of time outdoors: Chickens, inmates or kids? Unfortunately, it's kids. Cat Stevens already posed the question 'where do the children play?' in the 60's and the situation has continued to get worse - leading to all sorts of physical and mental problems. However, there's a growing movement to combat this epidemic at various forest schools and kindergartens around the world, including one right here in the heart of Sydney.


Bizarre BEE-haviour & snotty gobbles

Bees predate the dinosaurs and they've been doing some crazy and complex things inside the hive. From using a 'waggle dance' to communicate where food is, to making 'bee bread' using pollen. It's a short and sweet life for most, but be warned, there are a couple of gruesome ways to die... Worldwide we are experiencing a decline in pollinator numbers, which means more than just losing our honey. European honey bees and over 1500 native Australian bees support our food crops and native plants,...


Cow paddock to biggest botanic garden

How was a cow paddock in Western Sydney transformed into the biggest botanic garden in Australia? And what's the difference between a park and a botanic garden anyway? Join the legendary Graham Ross and the Garden's Curator John Siemon as they share the incredible story of the Australian Botanic Garden and its best features.


Branch Out season 3 sneak peek

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Plants with Bite: sticky, sneaky & freaky

What makes a plant a killer? Join Greg Bourke, one of Australia's foremost experts on carnivorous plants, and discover the different tactics these murderous munchers use to lure, trap and trick their prey. You'll also hear from Jimmy Turner, the creator and visionary behind the current Plants with Bite exhibition at The Calyx inside the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. See the sticky, sneaky, freaky and free floral display for yourself. If you dare...


What's a herbarium?

You might think the National Herbarium of NSW is where we keep our finest coriander, mint and basil. Actually, this vital facility at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney contains 1.43 million plant specimens used for scientific research, and some are almost 250 years old! Walk through the corridors of this 165-year-old building and discover this historical hub and heart of plant sciences.


Growing communities with gardens

Some communities can't access green space, depriving them of the physical, mental and social benefits that nature brings. This was a sad reality for Norbert and his social housing neighbours in Surry Hills, Sydney before the Community Greening Program. Since 2000, the outreach horticulture program has established 765 community and youth-led gardens - transforming the lives of almost 160,000 people like Norbert across NSW. In the lead up to R U OK Day, explore how this popular program is...


Detective botany & DNA with Barbara Briggs

Dr Barbara Briggs is one of Australia’s leading botanists and police used her skills in the 1960’s to assist a kidnapping-murder case. But over the course of her 59 years of research at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, she’s been part of an even bigger investigation: EVOLUTION. Barbara has described and reclassified about 80 species and helped introduce DNA research to the Gardens' science programs - creating a golden age of new understanding in biology. The episode also features the next...


Botany, bryophytes and a bizarre discovery

They're among the first types of land plants to appear on Earth about 470 million years ago, but bryophtes are easy to overlook - unless you're Matt or Trevor. Despite only being able to agree on one song for their lengthy road trips, the pair of Botanists frequently venture into the Australian wilderness for up to five weeks to document Australian flora. On a field trip to the very tip of Far North Queensland, they came across a curious new species growing in a highly unusual place...


No Plants No Future

There's a back-up plan for plants going extinct in the wild - it's called seedbanking. Scientists from the Australian PlantBank spend weeks in the field tracking down native plant material from all over the country to bring back to the incredible facility in Western Sydney, so they don’t disappear forever. Go deep into the Australian PlantBank labs and discover how scientists are experimenting with storing plant material in agar jelly, special freezers and liquid nitrogen to build this vital...


No Plants No Past: Protecting Our Prehistoric Pine

The Wollemi Pine was thought to be extinct for 60 million years until it was accidentally discovered by David Noble in 1994 during a weekend bushwalk, 150km from Sydney. Our living fossil captures the imagination and attention of the world because it offers a window into the past, but now scientists are focused on protecting its future. Dr Cathy Offord is researching ways to ensure this curious and critically endangered conifer can survive the threat of fire and disease using a range of...


No Plants No Animals

A two-metre-tall dinosaur descendant roams the rainforests of north-east Queensland looking for its next meal to swallow whole. The remarkable digestive ability of the endangered Southern Cassowary keeps itself, rainforests, and us alive. Explore the connection between plant and animal survival with Senior Principal Research Scientist from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Dr Maurizio Rossetto and Birdkeeper at Taronga Zoo Sydney, Corinne Symons.


No Plants No Food

This is an episode of CSI PLANTS - so put on your detective hat and lab coat and enter the strange and microscopic world of deadly plant diseases threatening our food crops and native flora. Identifying plant diseases is complex, fascinating and involves looking at a world not visible to the naked eye. You'll go into the HQ of PlantClinic at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney with Senior Research Scientist, Dr Edward Liew, who is putting the FUN back into fungi research and cracking the case on...


No Plants No Medicine

Explore the deadly and life-saving chemicals found in plants with Dr Brett Summerell, Director of Science and Conservation at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Did you know that from tea tree oil to morphine, we use nearly 15,000 different plant species for medicinal purposes? In this episode you'll also get to visit an incredible tree at the Garden that contains a poisonous chemical that could be effective against the viruses causing HIV, dengue fever and Hepatitis C.


Get ready to Branch Out

A preview of how you'll discover the surprising world of plants with science and stories from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney - Australia's oldest living scientific institution.