Ep. 166 - Ants As Seed Dispersers a.k.a. The Myrmecochory Episode!

Ants are everywhere yet unless they find their way into our homes, we don't give them much thought. This episode is all about a group of ants that are crucial to the health of myriad plants around the globe. I am, of course, talking about the seed-dispersing ants. Joining us for this discussion is Dr. Robert Warren, a professor at SUNY Buffalo State, who studies the ecology of a handful of these wonderful ants and the plants they interact with. This episode was produced in part by Benjammin, Eli, Rachael, Stephanie, Philip, Henriette, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Anthony, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 165 - Cacti Explorer

Today we are joined by cacti explorer Stefan Burger who has been exploring South America in search of its wonderful cactus species. His goal is to find, photograph, and share with the world the beauty and wonder of this amazing family of succulent plants. Please join us for a fascinating discussion about botanical passion and discovery. This episode was produced in part by Rachael, Stephanie, Philip, Henriette, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Anthony, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 164 - Carnivorous Plants: Their Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution

Today we are joined by Dr. Aaron Ellison to talk about a new book called "Carnivorous Plants: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution." Among other things, Dr. Ellison has spent much of his career learning about what the organisms living within pitcher plants can teach us about big picture ecological topics. Now, together with a team of collaborators, Dr.'s Ellison and Adamec have put together a modern synthesis about the myriad carnivorous plants with which we share this planet. This is a fascinating discussion that you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Philip, Henriette, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Anthony, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 163 - A Lifetime With Gesneriads

There is so much more to The Gesneriad family than African violets. It is a relatively diverse group of plants and many species make great houseplants. My guest today is Jay Sespico and he is in love with Gesneriads and wants to share that love with you. Jay has been growing genre such as Gesneria, Kohleria, Nautilocalyx, Nematanthus, Primulina, and Sinningia for years and has an intimate knowledge of their biology. He is also an active member of The Gesneriad Society, an international organization dedicated to growing these wonderful plants. Join us for a passionate discussion about all things Gesneriaceae. This episode was produced in part by Philip, Henriette, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Anthony, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.


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Ep. 162 - Of Dinosaurs and Plants

Who hasn't marveled at the fossilized remains of a dinosaur? Though their lineage lives on today in the form of birds, historically, dinosaurs were once far more diverse. Needless to say, they shaped the world around them just as much as the world shaped them, and this certainly included interactions with plants. Plant eating dinosaurs were some of the largest organisms to ever walk this earth and my guest today studies exactly that. Join the Natural History Museum in London's Dr Paul Barrett and I as we discuss herbivory in ancient dinosaur lineages. This episode was produced in part by Philip, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 161 - Bucket Orchids, Ant Nests, and Fragrance-Collecting Bees

Our guest today is Dr. Günter Gerlach from the Botanical Garden Munich to discuss a group of orchids in the genus Coryanthes. These bizarre orchids grow only in arboreal ant nests from Mexico into South America. If that wasn't cool enough, Coryanthes flowers produce a large, water-filled bucket that traps fragrance-collecting bees, forcing them into pollinating the orchid. We also hear from my good friend and graphic designer, Thom Pirson, about the new In Defense of Plants stickers that he designed! This is one episode you don't want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Philip, Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 160 - Dalechampia, the Non-Model, Model System

Today we are focusing on a strange genus of plants in the family Euphorbiaceae. The Dalechampia can be found growing in tropical forests throughout much of the world. Joining us is Dr. Scott Armbruster, who has spent his entire academic career using Dalechampia as what he likes to call "a non-mode, model system" for studying the evolutionary ecology of pollinator syndromes. Dalechampia are largely pollinated by resin- and fragrance-collecting bees. Join us for a fascinating dive into this wonderfully weird genus. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 159 - An Orchid That Mimics Aphids?

My guest today is Melissa Díaz-Morales from the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Costa Rica and her work focuses on orchid pollination. Orchids are known for their deceitful pollination syndromes and Melissa has spent the last few years working on a lady slipper orchid known as Phragmipedium longifolium. This flowers of this beautiful orchid appear to be mimicking aphid infestations. Why is that? Listen and find out ;) This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, Lisa, Susanna, Homestead Brooklyn, Daniella, Brodie, Kevin, Katherina, Sami & Sven, Sophia, Lisa, Brent, Plant by Design, Mark, Rens, Mountain Misery Farms, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Clifton, Shane, Caitlin, Rosanna, Mary Jane, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 158 - Pollination of Neotropical Aroids: A New Look At Some Old Friends

Join University of Vienna PhD student Florian Etl for an in depth look at a pollination system involving some of our most beloved houseplants. Florian focuses on genera like Philodendron, Anthurium, Dieffenbachia, and Spathiphyllum to shine light on how the plants manage to reproduce in the hyper diverse rainforests of Costa Rica. This is not easy work by any means but Florian and his colleagues are finding out new and wonderful things about the natural world. This is one episode you do not want to miss. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie.

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Ep. 157 - Plants In Space

If humanity has a future in space travel, plants are going to play a significant role. That is why people like Dr. Rob Ferl have dedicated their career to understanding how plants respond to growing up there. Few things are more terrestrial than a plant, which makes growing these organisms in zero gravity so incredibly fascinating. Join us for a wonderful discussion about growing plants in space. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie.

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Ep. 156 - Botanizing a Lowland Tropical Rainforest in Costa Rica

Join Dr. Mark Whitten and me as we explore a lowland tropical forest in Costa Rica. I have never experienced such a warm, humid forest environment before and I met so many new and familiar plant species along the way. This is a great one for the senses as we immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the understory. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie. 

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Ep. 155 - Understanding Floral Chemistry

For Dr. Rob Raguso, the phrase "stop and smell the roses" takes on a whole new meaning. Dr. Raguso studies the intricate world of floral chemistry. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the wonderful odors flowers produce but such tantalizing smells are only the beginning. The world of floral chemistry is quite remarkable and the function of the myriad substances they produce go much deeper than simply pollination. This conversation will put a whole new spin on your appreciation of flowering plants. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie. 

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Ep. 154 - The Columnar Cacti Trifecta: My First Sonoran Experience

The Columnar Trifecta: the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), the organ pipe (Stenocereus thurberi) and the senita (Pachycereus schottii) - Organ Pipe National Monument is the only place in the US where you can see these three cacti growing in sympatry in the wild. The organ pipe and the senita are largely Mexican cacti that barely make their way into southern Arizona. Join the wonderful Sara Johnson and me as we explore the Sonoran Desert for the first time in search of these wonderful succulents. This episode was produced in part by Letícia, Ron, Tim, Carl, 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, and Margie.

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Ep. 153 - Botany & Culture at Longwood Gardens

My guest today is plant breeder, horticulturist, and botanical explorer Dr. Peter Zale. As part of the research staff at Longwood Gardens, Dr. Zale is utilizing his expertise to put plants in the spotlight. From exploring tropical jungles to propagating endangered orchids, Longwood Gardens is at the forefront of botanical education. Join us for a glimpse at what is going on at Longwood Gardens. This episode was produced in part by Ron, Tim, Carl, 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. 152 - Forests, Ozone, and Earth's Largest Mass Extinction

The End-Permian Extinction occurred some 252 million years ago. It has been referred to as "the day the earth nearly died.  It is estimated that the world lost up to 96% of all marine species, 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species, and 83% of all insect genera alive during that time. Life on this planet took much longer to rebound than at any other time in history. Though we know volcanism played a roll in this extinct, paleontologists have always been looking for a mechanism that could connect the two. Thanks to Jeff Benca and others, we now have an idea. In this episode we talk about how weakening of the ozone layer led to massive forest declines around the globe. This in turn had serious ramifications for the rest of the biosphere. This work not only fills a big gap in our prehistoric history, it tells an alarming tale for our future if we continue to disregard habitat destruction. This is one episode you don't want to miss. This episode was produced in part by Ron, Tim, Carl, 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. 151 - On The Ledge With Jane Perrone

I love houseplants which is why I am so excited for my guest this week. Joining us is the one and only Jane Perrone. Jane is the host of the amazing houseplant podcast On The Ledge. Join us for a discussion about our love for plants, podcasting, and why this hobby has become such an obsession. This episode was produced in part by Ron, Tim, Carl, 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. 150 - Growing the Amazon Spheres

The Amazon Spheres are all about changing the "character of a workplace and an extended conversation about what is typically missing from urban offices– a direct link to nature." My guest today is Senior Manager of Horticulture Ron Gagliardo. What started as an obsession with the Venus fly trap grew into a lifelong career of growing plants. Ron is working hard to connect people with plants via the Amazon Spheres so join us for a wonderful discussion about creating a state of the art conservatory from the ground up. This episode was produced in part by Ron, Tim, Carl, 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. 149 - Are These Herbs Working feat. Erin & Erin from This Podcast Will Kill You

Today we are joined by Erin and Erin from This Podcast Will Kill You to take a closer look at a few herbs that are commonly used by us humans. In this episode we cover the ecological and medical significance of Echinacea and St. John's Wort. We are not experts so this was more about 3 science-minded individuals trying to learn more about a topic far too many people take for granted. We learned a ton and we think you will too! This episode was produced in part by Tim, Carl, 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. 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.

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