Ep. 222 - Celebrating Botanical Nerdom

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 love for growing plants and educating the public. This episode was produced in part by Kate, Steven, Brittney, McMansion Hell, Joey, Catherine, Brandon, Hall, Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 209 - Invasion of the Cattails

What wetland scene would be complete without a few cattails? The genus Typha is synonymous with wetlands yet as you will hear in this episode, we know so little about them. Joining us is Dr. Pam Geddes from Northeastern Illinois University to talk to us about her work on cattail invasion ecology. What started as a question about ecosystem function and monocultures has morphed into an exploration that involves asking questions like "how do we define a species?" Settle in and learn about the wild world of cattails. This episode was produced in part by Cat, Catherine, Brandon, Hall, Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 204 - Asteraceae Addiction

The Aster family has nearly conquered the planet. It is one of the most diverse plant lineages on Earth and yet so many of us just pass them by without much of a thought. At least part of the reason may be the fact that composites can be difficult to identify. However, none of this has stopped my guest Joey Santore from taking a deep dive into the world of asters. What started as mostly curiosity with a hint of intimidation has since blossomed into a full on addiction with trying to get his head wrapped around the story of these plants. Along the way he is doing everything he can to share his passion with anyone who will listen in hopes that he can spark a love affair with botany in someone else's mind. Join us as we geek out about Asteraceae. Be warned, there is some strong language in this episode. This episode was produced in part by Vegreville Creek and Wetlands Fund, Kevin, Oliver, John, Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 196 - Agave are Awesome!

My guest today was bitten by the Agave bug at an early age. Since then, Dr. Jeff Lake has amassed an impressive collection representing over 100 different species and varieties of this wonderful genus of New World succulents. Despite their popularity in form, Agave still have many secrets to discover. Join Dr. Jeff Lake and me for an exploration of what makes the Agave so special. This episode was produced in part by Johansson, Christina, Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 194 - Preserving the Prairie One Seed at a Time

Bill Handel grew up in Illinois and has seen a lot change since his childhood days. Ever since he was a boy, Bill delighted in gardening with native plants. This led him to become the botanist that he is today. Today he dedicates much of his spare time to finding dwindling plant populations around the state, collecting seed, and propagating them in order to preserve at least some of the genetic legacy of this species. People like Bill are an inspiration to us all so join us as we discuss some of the philosophical reasons why Bill does what he does. This is one episode you do not want to miss! This episode was produced in part by Jared, Hannah, Katy Pye, Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 189 - When Palms Grew in Wyoming

Join Dr. Sarah Allen and me as we journey back in time to the Eocene. Earth was a very different planet some 49 million years ago. Though we may recognize some Eocene flora, the combination of various plant lineages would be enough to make your head spin. Earth was experiencing a warming period and the plants had responded accordingly. Tropical species like palms were thriving in places like Wyoming and giant relatives of the redwoods covered much of North America and Asia. What Dr. Allen and her colleagues are learning about Eocene plant communities is not only interesting in its own right, it is helping scientists understand how ecosystems may respond to climate change into the future. This episode was produced in part by Brandon, Gwen, Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 185 - The Importance of Conservation Horticulture

Imagine you are at work and someone comes into your office and throws down a handful of plant cuttings on your desk. They look at you with hopeful concern in their eyes and say "these are cuttings from an endangered plant. There are only 3 left in the wild and this one fell off of a cliff." This is all in a days work for my guest today. Joining us is Ashly Trask, conservation horticulturist and nursery manager for the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawai'i. For Ashly, what started as a hobby has evolved into a career dedicated to propagating and cultivating rare and endangered plants. Join us for a fascinating and passionate discussion about growing plants for conservation. This episode was produced in part by Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 184 - Fossilized Bryophytes: A Journey Back In Time

The odds of any living material becoming fossilized are extremely rare, especially if that living thing is a moss, liverwort, or hornwort. It does happen, however, and my guest today is dedicating his career to studying and understanding what bryophyte fossils can tell us. Joining us is Alex Bippus, a PhD student at Oregon State and his work is absolutely fascinating. From climate change to evolution, there seems to be no end to the fun of studying bryophyte fossils. This episode was produced in part by Carly, Stephen, Botanical Tours, Moonwort Studios, Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 174 - Botanical Chemistry

Plants cannot get up and move. This fact has driven the evolution of plants throughout time leading to a bewildering array of chemical compounds that help them get through life. My guest today is Dr. Lucas Busta who is dedicated to studying and understanding plant chemistry on a deeper level. The realm of plant chemistry is massive but with any luck we will hopefully have inspired some of you to consider it much deeper. This episode was produced in part by Lisa, Liba, Lucas, Mohsin Kazmi Takes Pictures, doeg, Daniel, Clifton, Stephanie, Rachelle, Benjamin, Eli, Rachael, Anthony, Plant By Design, Philip, Lisa, Brent, Ron, Tim, Homestead Brooklyn, Brodie, Kevin, Sophia, Brian, Mark, Rens, Bendix, Irene, Holly, Mountain Misery Farms, Caitlin, 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. 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. 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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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