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In Defense of Plants Podcast

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Plants are everything. They are also incredibly interesting. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. Join my friends and I for a podcast celebrating everything botany.

Plants are everything. They are also incredibly interesting. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. Join my friends and I for a podcast celebrating everything botany.
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Location:

United States

Description:

Plants are everything. They are also incredibly interesting. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. Join my friends and I for a podcast celebrating everything botany.

Language:

English


Episodes

Ep. 234 - Mycorrhizal Fungi & Some Plants That Trick Them

10/13/2019
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The relationship between plants and mycorrhizal fungi is often painted as a beautiful, altruistic relationship, the reality is far more complex than that. Though this is one of the most important relationships on the planet, we still have a lot to learn about how plants and mycorrhizal fungi interact. Some of the most mysterious relationships between plants and fungi come from specialized parasitic plants called mycoheterotrophs or "fungus-eaters." My guest today is someone who has devoted...

Duration:01:02:10

Ep. 233 - Australia's Carnivorous Bounty

10/6/2019
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Today we are joined by carnivorous plant expert and botanist extraordinaire, Greg Bourke. Greg is the Curator Manager of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney's Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. He is deeply passionate about finding and understanding Australia's bewildering variety of carnivorous plants. From describing new species and even genera to spreading the word about plant conservation, Greg's life is steeped in plants. Join us as we nerd out about Australia's carnivorous plants. This episode...

Duration:01:05:06

Ep. 232 - The Plight of the Butternut

9/29/2019
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The butternut or white walnut (Juglans cinerea) is a tree that is unknown to many. Ravaged by an invasive fungal blight, this wonderful tree is on the decline throughout eastern North America. If nothing is done to save the butternut, it will likely go extinct. If it does, North America will lose yet another important nut-producing tree. That is where people like Andrea Brennan come in. Andrea and her colleagues are working hard to investigate what can be done to save the butternut from...

Duration:00:55:31

Ep. 231 - The Amber Time Capsule

9/22/2019
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Today we get a look back in deep time with the help of the amber time capsule. Amber will be most familiar both for its use in jewelry but also for its role in the Jurassic Park series. However, amber is also a gold mine of scientific discovery. Amber contains within the remnants of long extinct ecosystems. From insects to plants, and even tiny bubbles of prehistoric atmosphere, there is no telling what the next chunk of amber is going to reveal. Join me as I sit down with the Director of...

Duration:01:13:11

Ep. 230 - Cryogenic Conservation

9/15/2019
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Seed banking is an extremely important component of plant conservation but what do you do with seeds that don't store well? A considerable number of plant species produce seeds that die when placed into seed banks. Are these species destined to be lost forever if things go south? Not if my guest can help it. Karin van der Walt is the Conservation and Science Advisor for New Zealand's Otari Native Botanic Garden and she specializes in cryopreservation of some of the rarest trees on our...

Duration:01:08:16

Ep. 229 - Compositae Cliffhangers

9/8/2019
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This episode is a real cliffhanger because we are delving into the wild world of rock daisies in the tribe Perityleae. These obscure composites live a perilous life clinging to scattered vertical rock cliffs throughout parts of southwestern North America. Joining us to talk about the rock daisies is UC Berkeley PhD student, Isaac Marck. As you will hear, Isaac and his colleagues are uncovering amazing information about these plants that paint a fascinating picture about evolution and...

Duration:01:08:36

Ep. 228 - Plant Conservation in Action

9/1/2019
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No one has a monopoly on conservation. If we want to protect wild spaces and the species they support, we need multifaceted, collaborative approaches. Joining us to talk about plant conservation efforts in the southeast is Dr. Emily Coffey, the Vice President of Conservation & Research at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Together with a team of scientists, horticulturists, and volunteers, Dr. Coffey and her colleagues are innovating new ways to both protect and restore biodiversity in one of...

Duration:01:10:00

Ep. 227 - A Quest to Find the "Stinking Cedar"

8/25/2019
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Today we go in search of the so-called stinking cedar or torreya pine (Torreya taxifolia) at wonderful site owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy called Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravine Preserve. Of course, this tree is neither a cedar nor a pine. It is a member of the family Cephalotaxaceae and it is in trouble. Habitat destruction and a terrible fungal blight have nearly wiped this species off the face of the earth. Join as as we go in search of this rare tree and meet a lot of...

Duration:00:51:23

Ep. 226 - Cities Need Trees

8/18/2019
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My guest today may just have the coolest job in the world. Dr. Jessica Turner-Skoff is The Morton Arboretum's official Treeologist which means she gets to spend her days both studying trees and telling the world why trees are so important. In this episode we are specifically focusing on the importance of trees in our cities. As you will hear, trees not only provide numerous ecosystem benefits, they also help fight climate change, improve our overall health and well-being, and even go as far...

Duration:00:59:29

Ep. 225 - Resurrecting a Ghost: The Mission to Save the Ozark Chinquapin Pt. 2

8/11/2019
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In this episode, we dive deeper into what is being done to bring the Ozark Chinquapin back from the brink of extinction. The Ozark Chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis) is a tree on the brink of extinction. Like its more popular cousin, the American chestnut, the Ozark Chinquapin is a victim of an introduce blight brought to this continent over a century ago. The loss of this tree was so severe that it has largely been forgotten. The Ozark Chinkquapin Foundation is trying to change that. There is...

Duration:00:50:23

Ep. 224 - Resurrecting a Ghost: The Mission to Save the Ozark Chinquapin Pt. 1

8/4/2019
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The Ozark Chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis) is a tree on the brink of extinction. Like its more popular cousin, the American chestnut, the Ozark Chinquapin is a victim of an introduce blight brought to this continent over a century ago. The loss of this tree was so severe that it has largely been forgotten. The Ozark Chinkquapin Foundation is trying to change that. There is hope for this species and it lies in scattered individuals that are proving to be surprisingly resistant to the deadly...

Duration:00:45:14

Ep. 223 - The Magnificence of Milkweeds

7/28/2019
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In this episode, we take a deep dive into the world of milkweeds. The genus Asclepias has been made famous due to the plight of the monarch butterfly, whose larvae feed on nothing else. Though we tend to focus our attention on only a handful of milkweeds, these plants are incredibly diverse and have a lot to teach us about ecology, evolution, and biogeography. Joining us to talk about this incredible group is the Milkweed Guy himself, Dr. Mark Fishbein. Dr. Fishbein and his colleagues are...

Duration:01:20:11

Ep. 222 - Celebrating Botanical Nerdom

7/21/2019
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My guest today is head over heels for plants and wants to do everything she can to get more people on board the botany train. Sandy Masuo is an author, editor, and all around plant nut. She hosts many workshops and talks on a variety of plant-related topics but her latest obsession are succulents. From the up's and down's of common names to the implications for conservation, Sandy's passion for the botanical world is inspiring. Join us for a fun and interesting discussion about our mutual...

Duration:01:13:29

Ep. 221 - Galls Gone Wild!

7/14/2019
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Galls are everywhere once you start to look for them. These often elaborate plant growths are induced by a variety of organisms from insects to fungi and they are absolutely fascinating to study. Joining us to talk about the wild world of galls is Morton Arboretum's Forest Pest Outreach Coordinator, Tricia Bethke. Tricia spends a lot of time talking about plant health and galls are all part of the greater ecological picture. Join is for a mind blowing dive into the biology and ecology of...

Duration:01:09:21

Ep. 220 - The Sex Lives of Yuccas

7/7/2019
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Yuccas are cool plants just based on appearances but their pollination ecology is downright fascinating. All members of the genus Yucca rely on moths for pollination and the moths themselves could not exist if it wasn't for Yucca flowers. What started as a parasitic relationship has since evolved into an extremely specific mutualism. Join Syracuse University's Dr. Kari Segraves and I as we discuss her research on this system and learn what Yucca pollination can teach us about evolutionary...

Duration:00:58:46

Ep. 219 - Conifer Country

6/30/2019
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Today we celebrate conifers with educator, author, and ecologist, Michael Kauffmann. Michael fell in love with conifers early on and has been doing everything he can to share this passion with the rest of the world, from writing conifer books to creating a conifer-themed trail system in the Klamath Mountains. Learn how Michael and others are working hard to map rare conifers, study the effects of climate change, and hopefully conserve their diversity for future generations. Join us as we...

Duration:01:11:19

Ep. 218 - The Cactoblastis Conundrum

6/23/2019
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Today we are talking about an invasive species issue that may spell disaster for some cacti in North America. The cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) originated in South America but has been moved all around the world as a form of biocontrol for invasive prickly pear cacti (Opuntia spp.). Thanks to some introductions into the Caribbean, it has since found its way to southern North America where it was the potential to seriously upset the balance for native prickly pear. This could be bad...

Duration:00:58:55

Ep. 217 - The Plight of Peyote

6/16/2019
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Peyote or Lophophora williamsii is a small, spineless cactus native to southern North America. Thanks to some very potent alkaloids in its tissues, peyote has managed to capture the minds of humans for millennia. Today its numbers are declining at an alarming rate. Habitat destruction and rampant poaching are taking a serious toll on this species. Joining us to talk about all of the sociopolitical issues surrounding peyote decline is Keeper Trout, an independent scholar and self-proclaimed...

Duration:01:18:45

Ep. 216 - Dying Bees, Wasp Venom, and other Strange Floral Scents

6/9/2019
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Today we focus on a group of plants whose floral morphology and chemistry are sure to blow your mind. Join Dr. Anne Heiduk and me as we discuss the bizarre chemical ecology of Ceropegia. Members of this genus have gained a lot of popularity as houseplants in recent years but we still know very little about how they behave in the wild. From dying bees and wasp venom, to rotting meat and possibly even fly sex pheromones, there seems to be no end to how much trickery Ceropegia have evolved to...

Duration:01:01:32

Ep. 215 - Public Gardens & Native Plants

6/2/2019
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Today is all about a very special garden at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This garden was designed with many uses in mind and it is a wonderful success. Joining us to talk about what goes in to creating and maintaining a garden like this is the director of the Nature Gardens and the Live Animal Programs, Carol Bornstein. Carol is a life long lover of plants and her garden expertise is now being focused on making this garden a place for learning, play, science, and...

Duration:00:55:52