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

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 interesting plants along the way. This episode was produced in part by Clark, Bobby, 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, 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.

Learn more about Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravine Preserve

Follow Sara on Instagram and Twitter: @sjohnson4888

Support this podcast

Pick up some In Defense of Plants merch!

Some of the plants we met in this episode

Sand squares (Paronychia rugelii)

Silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia)

Gopher apple (Licania michauxii)

Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)

American holly (Ilex opaca)

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Fireweed (Erechtites hieraciifolius)

Netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata)

Pennywort (Hydroctyle sp.)

Royal fern (Osmunda regalis)

Doghobble bush (Leucothoe sp.)

Lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus)

Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria)

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

False rosemary (Conradina sp.)

American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Runner oak (Quercus pumila)

Resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides)

Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

Matalea (Matelea decipiens)

Yellow passionflower (Passiflora lutea)

Rhododendron (Rhododendron austrinum)

Ratany (Krameria sp.)

Buckwheat (Eriogonum tomentosum)

Michaux’s croton (Croton michauxii)

Stinging “nettle” (Cnidoscolus stimulosus)

Devil’s grandmother (Elephantopus tomentosus)

Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii)

Stinking cedar (Torreya taxifolia)

Ep. 226 - Cities Need Trees

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 as to reduce violence and crime. This is one episode you do not want to miss. This episode was produced in part by Bobby, 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, 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.

Read the paper we discussed in this episode

Check out Planted: Finding Your Roots in STEM Careers

Follow Dr. Turner-Skoff on Twitter: @JessBTurner

Learn More about Dr. Turner-Skoff’s work

Visit The Morton Arboretum

Support this Podcast

Check out the In Defense of Plants merch!

Music by Moneycat

Ep. 221 - Galls Gone Wild!

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 plant galls. 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.

Learn more about Tricia’s work

Support this podcast

Pick up some In Defense of Plants merch

Music by Moneycat

Ep. 214 - Unraveling the Mysteries of Baja's Botanical Bounty: A Conservation Story

The Baja Peninsula is home to a bewildering diversity of plant species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Despite all of its botanical treasures, we are only just beginning to understand the biogeographical nuances of this small spit of land. That is where people like Dr. Sula Vanderplank come in. A freelance botanist by trade, Dr. Vanderplank has recently been lending her talents to finding, describing, and conserving the plants that call Baja home. Of course, such efforts are made possible only by strong cross-border collaborations focused on protecting these amazing plants. This episode was produced in part by 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.

Learn more about Dr. Vanderplank’s work

Learn more about San Diego Zoo Global

Support some organizations working to protect Baja’s amazing flora: Terra Peninsular, Jardín Botánico San Quintín, Pro Esteros, Pronatura

Learn more about the flora of Baja

Support this podcast

Pick up some In Defense of Plants merch!

Music by Moneycat

Ep. 212 - Monkeyflower Extravaganza!

When Dr. Naomi Fraga started volunteering at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden herbarium, little did she know it would evolve into a total love affair with botanical diversity. Since that time, she has carved out an incredible niche with her work on moneyflowers (Phrymaceae). These charismatic plants offer so much for the curious minds. Join us as we discuss their diversity, taxonomy, and conservation. Along the way you will quickly realize just how much these plants have to teach us. 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.

Learn more about Dr. Fraga’s work

Follow Dr. Fraga on Instagram: @naomibot

Follow Dr. Fraga on Twitter: @naomibot

Learn more about Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden

Support this podcast

Check out the In Defense of Plants merch!

Music by Moneycat

Ep. 200 - Books, Books, and More Books!

This week In Defense of Plants is celebrating its 200th episode with a bunch of book recommendations. I get a lot of emails from listeners each week and unfortunately I simply do not have the time to respond to all of them. One of the most popular questions I get revolves around which books I recommend. And because In Defense of Plants wouldn't be where it is today without the wonderful support of listeners like you, I thought it would be great to dedicate the 200th episode to a list of books worthy of your time. Joining us to discuss our reading adventures is the wonderful Sara Johnson, who has brought some great recommendations to the table. So join us as we talk about some of our favorite botanical/natural history themed reads.

Books in this episode:

1. Alice in the Land of Plants: Biology of Plants and Their Importance for Planet Earth - Yiannis Manetas

2. Readers Digest North American Wildlife

3. Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color - David Lee

4. A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold

5. A Natural History of Conifers - Aljos Farjon

6. The Orchid Thief - Susan Orlean

7. The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World by Fred Dortort

8. Earthly Pleasures - Roger B. Swain

9. The Flowering of Gondwana - Mary E. White, Jim Frazier

10. Gods of the Morning - John Lister-Kaye

11. Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants by Helen Fewster, Megan Douglass, Karyn Gerhard, Jamie Ambrose, Ross Bayton, Matt Candeias, Sarah Jose, Andrew Mikolajski, Esther Ripley, David Summers

This episode was produced in part by Oliver, John, 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.

Follow Sara on Twitter: @sjohnson4888

Follow Sara on Instagram: @sjohnson4888

Check out the In Defense of Plants apparel and more

Support this podcast

Ep. 199 - Understanding Rainforests Through Evolution

Today we take a look at how understanding the evolution of various plant families provides us with insights into the history and diversity of some of the world's great rainforests. Joining us to discuss his work on palms and soursops is Dr. Thomas Couvreur. Throughout this episode we get a look at how fundamental scientific questions can unlock a wealth of knowledge about the history of our planet. We also gain an appreciation for the fact that you never know where important data are going to come from. This episode was produced in part by Oliver, John, 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.

Follow Dr. Couvreur on Twitter - @tlpcouvreur

Learn more about Dr. Couvreur’s work

Check out In Defense of Plants apparel and more!

Support this podcast

Music by Moneycat

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.

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

Click here to support this podcast

Music by Moneycat