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 working hard on piecing together the history of Asclepias in North America. If you thought milkweeds were incredible plants before, this conversation will certainly amplify your appreciation for these incredible plants. 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.
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.
Monarchs have become the poster child for protecting, conserving, and restoring native flora. Over the last decade monarchs have witnessed massive declines in their numbers. This has led to a lot of speculation as to what might be causing such declines. It seems like a simple black and white issue, monarchs need milkweed and we have plowed over most of the milkweed on this continent. As straight forward as this may seem, students of ecology will note that nothing in nature is that simple. Monarch and milkweed conservation is a complex issue with a lot of causes and that is where people like Dr. Greg Spyreas come in. Using large scale datasets, Greg and his colleagues are painting a more nuanced picture of milkweed and monarch decline. It is an interesting story that you don't want to miss. This episode was produced in part by Gregory, Mark, and Bryan.