Ep. 218 - The Cactoblastis Conundrum

Today we are talking about an invasive species issue that may spell disaster for some cacti in North America. The cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) originated in South America but has been moved all around the world as a form of biocontrol for invasive prickly pear cacti (Opuntia spp.). Thanks to some introductions into the Caribbean, it has since found its way to southern North America where it was the potential to seriously upset the balance for native prickly pear. This could be bad news because prickly pear are super important components of the flora wherever they occur. Joining us to provide some insights into the invasive cactus moth issue is Dr. Chris Brooks, an associate professor at Mississippi State University. His work focuses on the various nuances to invasive cactus moth ecology. What Dr. Brooks and his colleagues are finding is a more intricate picture of invasion biology than I ever realized. Join us for a fascinating and in depth look at this invasive species conundrum. This episode was produced in part by 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. 217 - The Plight of Peyote

Peyote or Lophophora williamsii is a small, spineless cactus native to southern North America. Thanks to some very potent alkaloids in its tissues, peyote has managed to capture the minds of humans for millennia. Today its numbers are declining at an alarming rate. Habitat destruction and rampant poaching are taking a serious toll on this species. Joining us to talk about all of the sociopolitical issues surrounding peyote decline is Keeper Trout, an independent scholar and self-proclaimed information junky who is working hard with the Cactus Conservation Institute to better understand what can be done to limit pressures on wild peyote populations. What follows is an in-depth look at the plight of the peyote cactus. This episode was produced in part by 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. 216 - Dying Bees, Wasp Venom, and other Strange Floral Scents

Today we focus on a group of plants whose floral morphology and chemistry are sure to blow your mind. Join Dr. Anne Heiduk and me as we discuss the bizarre chemical ecology of Ceropegia. Members of this genus have gained a lot of popularity as houseplants in recent years but we still know very little about how they behave in the wild. From dying bees and wasp venom, to rotting meat and possibly even fly sex pheromones, there seems to be no end to how much trickery Ceropegia have evolved to dupe flies into pollinating their flowers. What's more, this research goes far beyond pollination ecology. As you will hear, Dr. Heiduk and her colleagues are unlocking new insights into chemistry, physiology, neurobiology, entomology, and even mycology! 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.

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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. 195 - Chollas, Prickly Pears, and Biodiversity

When Dr. Jon Rebman decided to take on the diversity of cholla cacti, little did he know what he was getting into. Luckily, this work led him down a road stoked by a deep passion for understanding the biodiversity of not only cacti, but the entire flora of southern California and the Baja Peninsula. Dr. Rebman believes in maintaining a classical botanist’s approach to his work and as you will hear in our conversation, this has been quite fruitful. Thanks to Dr. Rebman and his colleagues, we have a deeper understanding of the flora of this region but there is still plenty of more work to be done. Join us for a fascinating discussion of botanical discovery. 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, Caitlin, Manuel, Jennifer, Sara, and Margie.

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Ep. 186 - Being Totally Obsessed With Botany

When Joey Santore went searching for a biological "origin story" of sorts, he stumbled into the world of botany. He hasn't looked back ever since. As a fellow phyto-obsessive personality, Joey is dedicating most of his spare time to not only understanding plant diversity but also sharing his passion for botany with the world. Joey runs probably my favorite Instagram page https://bit.ly/2z6n3By and his stories are as educational as they are insightful and entertaining. Join us for a botanically enthused conversation about our mutual love for plants. Be warned, strong language contained within this recording! 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. 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. 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.

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