Ep. 148 - Cecropia Trees, Ant Bodyguards, and Collective Personality

Plants, being sessile organisms, must go to great lengths to protect themselves from herbivores. Sometimes this takes the form of spines or thorns, sometimes its nasty chemicals, and sometimes it means recruiting ants as bodyguards. Peter Marting is my guest today and he studies how one group of tropical trees in the genus Cecropia recruits and houses ants and how the interaction between these two different organisms influences the collective personality of the ant colonies. This episode was produced in part by Tim, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, and Margie.

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Ep. 147 - Inspiring the World Through Plants

My guest today is entrepreneur, author, and gardening enthusiast Summer Rayne Oakes. Summer fell in love with plants at an early age and has always felt that they helped her gain a deeper appreciation for nature as a whole. As such, she has steered her career in a multitude of directions in hopes of inspiring people to do better by the planet. Her most recent endeavors center on connecting people to the wonderful world of houseplants. Tim, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, and Margie.

Click here to check out the Kickstarter 

Click here to learn more about Homestead Brooklyn

Click here to check out Plant One On Me

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Ep. 146 - Vascular Plants of the World feat. Maarten Christenhusz, Mark Chase, and Michael Fay

How does one create an encyclopedia of the vascular plants of the world? My guests today are here to discuss exactly that. Joining us are Dr.'s Maarten Christenhusz, Mark Chase, and Michael Fay who recently published the monumental book "Plants of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants." This was a monumental undertaking that not only showcases the amazing diversity of vascular plants but also sets the stage for inspiring a new generation of scientists to take a closer look at the wonderful world of botany. This is one episode you do not want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Tim, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to pick up your own copy of the book

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Ep. 145 - Obscure Apocynaceae Appreciation

There are far too many plants in this world that get little to no attention. Such is the case for a group of milkweed relatives in the genus Chthamalia. Luckily for these plants, a chance encounter by Dr. Angela McDonnell led to a wonderful world of discovery. From describing new species to understanding the evolution of this amazing group, Dr. McDonnell has opened our eyes to the wonders of the genus Chthamalia. Join us for a fun discussion about her love for plants and their evolution. The episode was produced in part by Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about Dr. McDonnell's work

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Ep. 144 - Speciation in Parasites & Pitcher Plants

The study of evolution among parasitic and carnivorous plants is a fascinating world ripe for discovery. My guest today is botanist Dr. Chris Thorogood who, when not directing science communication at Oxford, is studying the various drivers or diversification among Orobanche and Nepenthes. He is also a talented botanical illustrator who credits his artistic side with helping him gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the plants he studies. This episode was produced in part by This episode was produced in part by Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Thorogood's work

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Ep. 143 - Botanizing in Bolivia

Today we are joined by two of my favorite people - expert horticulturist Dave Janas (ep's. 15, 33, and 34) and restoration ecologist Estefania Fernandez (ep. 95) - to talk about their botany-fueled trip to Bolivia. One can only imagine what a country like Bolivia holds for botanically minded folks like these. From the high elevation Andes to the humid portions of lowland Amazonia, we discuss some of their experiences exploring this beautiful country. This episode was produced in part by Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

If you would like to know more about the proposed Bala and Chepete reservoirs, click HERE and HERE

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Ep. 142 - The Hemlock Restoration Initiative

Eastern North America has two species of hemlock - the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and the Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) - both of which have been hit by an invasive insect pest - the hemlock wooly adelgid. This pest has devastated hemlock populations in the southern portions of their range and climate change may spell disaster for trees growing farther north. However, there is hope in organizations like the Hemlock Restoration Initiative. I am joined today by Sara deFosset to talk about what communities and organizations are doing to save these wonderful and important trees. This episode was produced in part by Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about HRI

Contact Sara directly - info@savehemlocksnc.org

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Ep. 141 - Beware of Beech Bark Disease

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is one of the dominant forest trees in eastern North America. It is also under attack by a disease complex known as "beech bark disease." Join plant pathologist  Kristin Wickert and I for a discussion about the causes of this disease and what is being done to try and stop it. This episode was produced in part by Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

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Ep. 140 - Discussing Impatiens With Mr. Impatiens

Impatiens is the largest of two genera in the family Balsaminaceae. Its myriad species hail from a variety of habitats and exhibit a multitude of interesting growth habits. Join me and my guest Mr. Impatiens as we discuss the wonders of this beautiful genus of plants. From growing them to conserving them, this is your introduction to Impatiens. This episode was produced in part by Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Learn more about Mr. Impatiens

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Ep. 139 - Tropical Dry Forests

Despite representing nearly half of the tropical forests around the globe, tropical dry forest ecosystems have largely been overshadowed by rainforests. Sadly, most attention that has been paid to these diverse ecosystems has come in the form of agriculture. As such, the world has lost much of its old growth tropical dry forests. How these forests recover from such disturbance and how they are going to persist in the face of climate change are just some of the questions Dr. Jennifer Powers is trying to answer. Join us for a wonderful conversation about some of the most poorly understood ecosystems on our planet. This episode was produced in part by Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Plants by Design, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Powers' work

Click here to follow Dr. Powers on Twitter - @jennifer_pow

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Ep. 138 - The Botanical Wonders of Southeast Asia

It is hard to wrap your head around the floristic diversity of places like Southeast Asia. Indeed, it is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. The challenges and excitement of cataloguing the myriad plant species that call this region home are what drive Kew's Head of Identification and Naming and Senior Research Leader (Asia) Dr. Tim Utteridge. His love for finding and describing plants is readily apparent. Join us for a fun discussion about what it is like working with tropical Asia's plant life. This episode was produced in part by Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Follow Dr. Utteridge on Twitter - @timutteridge

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Ep. 137 - Question Show #2!

You asked and In Defense of Plants answers! The long awaited second question show has arrived. You all sent in some excellent questions and we cover topics like the eclipse, epiphylly, sumac fruits, and aquatic angiosperms. Join us for an episode of learning and discovery. This episode was produced in part by Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura :)

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Ep. 136 - Uncovering Antarctica's Forested Past

It may be hard to believe but Antarctica has a green past. Throughout its history, our southern polar continent has been the home to a variety of now-extinct biomes and my guest today is responsible for uncovering the oldest of these remains. Dr. Erik Gulbranson is part paleoecologist and part paleoclimatologist and what he and his collaborators are learning from these fossilized ecosystems not only helps us understand how life responded to climate change in the past, but also how it may respond in the future. This is one you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

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Ep. 135 - Cycads: The Most Endangered Organisms On The Planet

Did you know that cycads are the most endangered group of organisms on the planet? We are officially facing a cycad crisis but luckily there are people like Dr. Nathalie Nagalingum from the California Academy of Sciences who have devoted their life to understanding and protecting these so-called living fossils. This episode was produced in part by Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Nathalie Nagalingum's work

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Ep. 134 - Growing Gondwana Relicts

Join me and my guest Robbie Blackhall-Miles as we discuss his love and passion for growing the remains of a flora whose lineage arose many millions of years ago. Robbie is an expert horticulturist whose work centers around conserving biodiversity in hopes of buffering our world against the 6th mass extinction. Robbie is especially interested in members of the family Proteaceae but plenty of other plants factor into this as well. As Robbie so eloquently put it, "If humanity has a future then that future lies in the ands of people that know about plants." This episode was produced in part by Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura.

Click here to learn more about Robbie's work and to donate

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Ep. 133 - Pollinator Pathway: A Design Challenge For The Planet

As we dive deeper into the new epoch we have created - the Anthropocene - we are going to have to face a lot of harsh realities about the way we treat the planet. That is where people like Sarah Bergmann come in. About a decade ago, Sarah embraced concepts of sustainability, ecology, and ecosystem connectivity, into a giant design challenge for the planet. Listen and learn! This episode was produced in part by Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitilin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, and Laura. 

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Ep. 132 - The Oak Origin Story And What It Means For Conservation

Who doesn't love oaks? This episode is all about their evolutionary origins. Joining us is a powerhouse team of scientists - Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Dr. Andrew Hipp, and Dr. Paul Manos - whose work has changed the oak origin story in a very interesting way. We also discuss what this means for oak conservation around the globe. If you love oaks, this is one episode you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Allan, Irene, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Check out the paper by clicking here!

Learn about the work of Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares

Learn about the work of Dr. Andrew Hipp

Learn about the work of Dr. Paul Manos

Watch our oak video!

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Ep. 131 - Lycopsids: What An Ancient Lineage Can Teach Us About Extinction

If you're into growing plants and looking at fossils, then this is the interview for you! Joining us today is Jeff Benca, a grad student at UC Berkely who discovered a love for growing clubmosses and their relatives. It was this love that convinced him that we can learn a lot about the past by studying the present. Since then he has gained a deep understanding of not only the history of this amazing lineage but also what it can teach us about mass extinction events. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Irene, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to learn more about Jeff's work.

Follow Jeff on Twitter - @jeffbenca

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Ep. 130 - A Passion For Passion Flowers

This episode is all about the passion flower family - Passifloraceae. Joining us from her post at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is the one and only Rebecca Hilgenhof. You may remember her from Episode 86. Rebecca is extremely passionate about this group and I can't think of a better person to dish out an eloquent introduction to these wonderful plants. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Irene, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to listen to Rebecca's last interview

Follow her on Twitter - @passifloratree

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Ep. 129 - Garden Inspiration With Peter Donegan of The SodShow

I can't think of a gardener with a better sense of humor than Peter Donegan. Peter not only owns and operates an award-winning landscape design company, he is also the host of the wonderful horticulture podcast The SodShow. Join us as we wax poetic about our mutual love for growing plants and our journey through the world of podcasting. This episode was produced in part by Allan, Clifton, Sebastian, Holly, Katherina, Shane, Amy, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Jennifer, Sarah, Christopher, Sienna & Garth, Troy, Margie, Laura, and Mark.

Click here to listen to The SodShow

Click here to find out more about Donegan Landscaping

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