The Plant Report- Every Plant Has A Story
Learn about the botanical world one plant at a time. The Plant Report is a new educational resource about plants, herbal medicine, ethnobotany and the human/plant relationship. The Plant Report is a project of Sustainable World Radio.
info_outline Meet the Geranium Family! 08/31/2018
Meet the Geranium Family! In this episode, I speak with Geranium expert Robin Parer about the entire Geraniaceae Family: Hardy Geraniums, Pelargoniums, Erodiums,and Monsonias. Robin talks in depth about how to grow and propagate them, where they are found in nature, the mistaken identity of Pelargoniums, and why she has been entranced with this plant family for so long.
info_outline Hawthorn for the Heart 06/23/2017
Hawthorn for the Heart Episode 25: Have you heard of Hawthorn? Herbalist Bonnie Rose Weaver is a big fan and in this episode fills you in on why she loves this plant! Hawthorn, Latin name Crataegus, is a heart tonic extraordinaire. A member of the Rose family, (like Bonnie), Hawthorn is also known as May Apple, Mayblossom, and the May Tree. Edible parts of the plant include the young leaves and flowers and the fruits or berries. Medicinally, Hawthorn has been used to prevent and treat heart problems, to regulate blood pressure, and to increase vein health. Hawthorn berries are rich in antioxidants and can be made into jams and incorporated into a medicinal honey. The flowers and leaves can be made into tinctures. Hawthorn has a rich folklore and history. Fairies are said to hang out with Hawthorn and in Welsh lore, the Goddess Olwen walked an empty universe and left a trail of Mayblossoms which became the Milky Way. Hawthorn also provides shelter and food for a biodiverse group of small mammals, insects, and birds. According to Bonnie, Hawthorn is also a valuable plant ally for those times when you are dealing with heartbreak or heartache. Bonnie Rose Weaver is an urban farmer, community herbalist, artist and educator in San Francisco, CA. In 2014, Bonnie launched the seed to bottle apothecary - 1849 Medicine Garden, a project that teaches urbanites about the benefits of locally grown plant medicine. Bonnie is the author of the book, Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis.
info_outline The Medicinal, Edible Thistle 03/07/2017
The Medicinal, Edible Thistle Episode 24: Thistles! To many of us, they are those annoying, prickly plants that "bite." Classified as a noxious weed in many areas, thistles are the topic of this podcast with Thistle admirer Katrina Blair, author of the book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. What does Katrina do for Thistle weed control? She eats them! In this episode Katrina Blair talks about the many uses of this weedy plant. Thistles regenerate liver cells, are full of minerals, and their leaves make an alkaline drink. You can make flour out of thistle seeds, chew the flowers and white fluff as a gum, and use large amounts of fermented thistles as a substrate for growing oyster mushrooms. Other edible parts of Thistles include the root which Katrina makes into a Chai Tea or eats like a potato and the stalk which is sweeter than celery. Katrina's favorite Thistle variety is the Musk Thistle: Carduus nutans. To learn more about Katrina's work, visit her website: Turtle Lake Refuge.org. To hear a longer interview with forager, chef, writer, and plant lover Katrina Blair on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
info_outline Marvelous Mallow 03/03/2017
Marvelous Mallow Episode 23: Katrina Blair, author of the Wild Wisdom of Weeds, shares the many medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic uses of Mallow. We focus on Malva neglecta, a common weed found around the world. In many places, Malva is known as an invasive species, so why not utilize this ubiquitous plant? In this episode, Katrina gives her recipes for a sweet Mallow Milk and a "living" body lotion. She also talks about the medicinal uses of Malva (it's great for sore throats and laryngitis) and how to prepare it like a vegetable. This was recorded at the Heirloom Expo. Sorry folks for any background noise! Katrina Blair is a forager, chef, writer, and plant lover who runs the nonprofit Turtle Lake Refuge whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands. If you'd like to learn more about Katrina's work and get her recipe for Wild Marshmallows, check out her book on our Links Page. To hear a longer interview with Katrina Blair on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
info_outline Durian: The Aromatic King of Fruits 12/12/2016
Durian: The Aromatic King of Fruits Episode 22: Imagine leaving your regular life behind and traveling for a year in search of a ripening fruit. This is what Lindsay Gasik did and it changed her life. The fruit she was searching for is Durian. One of the largest tropical fruits, Durian are renowned for their unusual taste and aroma and have the reputation of "smelling like hell and tasting like heaven." In fact, their strong odor is so pungent, Durians have been banned from the Singapore Rapid Mass Transit System. Durians are high in fat and sugar, covered in thorns, can weigh up to 22 pounds, and fall off the tree when ripe. Be sure to look out for this falling fruit! In 2012, Lindsay set off on a twelve month sojourn around Southeast Asia to follow the Durian season. In this podcast interview we learn about her travels on the Durian Trail, how to eat and prepare Durian, the parallels between wine and Durian, and what happens when you follow a fruit to explore other cultures. Lindsay also tells us how she became a Durian Travel Agent and why she still loves this thorny, aromatic King of Fruit! To learn more about Lindsay and Durian, visit her website: Year of the Durian.com
info_outline Relax and Calm With Lemon Balm 10/14/2016
Relax and Calm With Lemon Balm Episode 21: Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is an easy to grow herb with many uses. To learn about Lemon Balm, I spoke with Kami McBride. Kami is an herbalist, herbal medicine instructor, and creator of the Living Awareness Institute. Kami has 27 years of experience in inspiring people to use herbs in their daily lives and in this episode, she shares her knowledge about this wonderful plant. Lemon balm makes a pleasant tasting tea, lemonade, and infusion. Palatable to children, Lemon Balm fights colds and flus, is antispasmodic, and carminative. Kami talks about how and when to harvest and use lemon balm and why she calls it a "confetti herb." Kami describes Lemon Balm as the "crowd-pleasing herb" because it elevates mood and is soothing and calming. A favorite of bees, Lemon Balm is a great addition to your garden. Kami advises people to "let yourself fall in love" with a plant and Lemon Balm is an easy herb to fall for. To hear a 2009 interview with Kami McBride on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
info_outline The Power of Pulses with Dan Jason 06/30/2016
The Power of Pulses with Dan Jason Episode 20: Have you heard about Pulses? The edible seeds of legumes, Pulses are, in the words of my guest Dan Jason, a "simple, beautiful, nutritious, and versatile crop". Easily grown without herbicides or pesticides, pulses are resilient, need little water, and increase soil fertility. They contain protein, are highly nutritious, and easy to grow and prepare. Dan Jason is an organic farmer, seed saver, and author based on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Dan is the author of the new book The Power of Pulses: Saving the World with Peas, Beans, Chickpeas, Favas, and Lentils. Farming organically for over thirty years, Dan is the owner and founder of the heritage and heirloom seed company, Salt Spring Seeds. An advocate for untreated, open-pollinated, and non-GMO seeds, Dan believes that pulses can help renew the health of our planet. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses. Make this the year that you incorporate the incredible family of pulses into your diet and, if you have the space, into your garden.
info_outline The Beautiful Rose 10/24/2015
The Beautiful Rose Episode 18: Our plant for this episode is the Rose. Roses are edible, medicinal, and therapeutic. To learn about this beautiful plant, I spoke with Linda Buzzell Saltzman, an Eco-Therapist and Rosarian who grows roses in and around her backyard food forest.
info_outline Amazing Yeast- Tiny, Ubiquitous, and Invaluable 08/14/2015
Amazing Yeast- Tiny, Ubiquitous, and Invaluable Episode 17: Our plant for this episode is not a plant. It's yeast. Tiny in size, huge in utility, yeast is all around us. Found in the Ecuadorian Rainforests, the Arctic, and on our skin, this single-celled member of the Fungi Kingdom is part of Nature's Recycling Team and has been on the planet for millions of years. Used for brewing and baking, humans have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with yeast.
info_outline The Winter Squash Fan Club 04/17/2015
The Winter Squash Fan Club Episode 14: Are you a winter squash fan? If not, you may become one after hearing organic farmer and seedsman Justin Huhn talk about one of his favorite crops- Winter Squash or Cucurbita. In this episode, Justin gives us his tips on growing this beautiful and productive plant. He also talks about how to save squash seeds and shares his favorite recipe. Delicious and nutritious, winter squash is a great plant for home gardens.
info_outline Thistles- The Prickly Plant With An Important Job 03/28/2015
Thistles- The Prickly Plant With An Important Job Episode 13: Ecological Designer and Permaculture Instructor Larry Santoyo talks about thistles. More interesting than you might think, thistles play an important role in soil restoration.
info_outline Chaya- The High Protein Greens You've Never Heard Of 03/14/2015
Chaya- The High Protein Greens You've Never Heard Of Chaya (Cnidoscolus chayamansa) commonly called Tree Spinach is a very nutritious plant with high protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins. Reaching 3 meters (10 feet high), Chaya has maple-shaped leaves that are delicious steamed or cooked. Chaya is resistant to disease and pests, is highly productive, and needs little inputs to thrive in both arid and rainy areas. A fast-growing perennial shrub, Chaya is easily propagated by stem cuttings.
info_outline Moringa- The Miracle Tree 11/15/2014
Moringa- The Miracle Tree Moringa is called the Miracle Tree and after listening to this episode, you'll know why! Native to Africa and Asia, Moringa offers a plethora of benefits. Fast and easy to grow in the right climate (tropical and sub-tropical), Moringa is loaded with nutrients. Many parts of the Moringa are edible and/or medicinal, including the leaves, oil, bark and gum.
info_outline Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation 09/17/2014
Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation In this episode of The Plant Report, we talk with Michael Judd about outdoor mushroom cultivation. Growing mushrooms at home is fun, surprisingly easy and offers multiple benefits including a delicious medicinal crop, increased mycelium in your soil and mycoremediation opportunities.
info_outline Hala- The Hawaiian PVC Pipe 08/24/2014
Hala- The Hawaiian PVC Pipe We met with farmer and Hawaiian plant expert John Aquino on the beautiful grounds of the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens located on the island of Maui. In this episode, John talks about the many uses of Hala- Pandanus tectorius. Hala can be woven into floor mats, canoe sails, and baskets. Hala is a famine food, has male and female trees and its trunk can be used for irrigation. John calls Hala- the Hawaiian PVC Pipe!
info_outline Feijoa- An Affable Edible Plant 07/13/2014
Feijoa- An Affable Edible Plant Feijoa, Acca sellowiana, popularly known as pineapple guava is an easy to grow shrub with beautiful edible flowers and fruit that tastes like the tropics. To learn more about this delicious temperate sub-tropical plant, I spoke with Mark Albert, an expert in all things Feijoa. Mark Albert is a naturalist and rare fruit grower who specializes in self-sufficient year-round food production.
info_outline Bunya-Bunya Tree 05/19/2014
Bunya-Bunya Tree The Bunya-Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) is a tall, evergreen coniferous tree with large, edible and high carbohydrate nuts. In this Plant Report, Permaculture designer and horticulturist Byron Joel talks with Jill Cloutier about the Bunya-Bunya; its growing habits, history and untapped potential as a perennial staple crop. (Just watch out for those bowling ball sized falling cones!)
info_outline Goumi- A Beautiful Bush With Benefits 04/01/2014
Goumi- A Beautiful Bush With Benefits Goumi is an attractive shrub that is useful in edible landscaping. Renowned for its beauty and delicious medicinal berries, goumi is easy to grow, drought tolerant and fixes nitrogen- making it a valuable soil amender. Goumi's fragrant cream colored flowers attract pollinators, birds and people to your garden.
info_outline Arracacha- The Peruvian Parsnip 03/17/2014
Arracacha- The Peruvian Parsnip Arracacha, Arracacia xanthorrhiza, is a perennial vegetable from the Andes. To learn more about this staple food crop I spoke with Permaculturist and plant expert Byron Joel. Delicious in flavor, Arracacha is a member of the Apiaceae family and is easy to grow and propagate. High in nutritional content the root can be roasted or pureed and makes an excellent soup. Plant some Arracacha today not only for yourself, but also for all of the beneficial insects that this plant will attract to your garden.
info_outline Ashitaba- Nature's Super Food 02/23/2014
Ashitaba- Nature's Super Food Ashitaba is a plant rich in antioxidants, vitamins and chlorophyll. Also called Tomorrow's Leaf, Ashitaba is known for its quick regeneration and healing properties. To learn more about Ashitaba, Jill Cloutier interviewed John Glavis of Botierra Biodiversity Farms at the Heirloom Expo Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California.
info_outline Titan Arum-The Largest Unbranched Inflorescence In The World! 01/12/2014
Titan Arum-The Largest Unbranched Inflorescence In The World! Titan Arum may have one of the smelliest flowers on the planet (think old gym socks), but it's also one of the largest and most beautiful. Known as the carrion or corpse flower, Titan Arum gives off a pungent scent that's perfect for attracting flies, beetles and other decomposers. Native to Sumatra, Titan Arum rarely blooms in the wild or in captivity and is a threatened species. I was lucky enough to see, smell and spend some time with a Titan Arum named Chanel at the University of California's Biology Greenhouse. In this episode I speak with Danica Taber, Biology Greenhouse Manager about this famous plant that has its own Facebook page and thousands of fans!
info_outline Comfrey- A Plant With Many Uses 12/28/2013
Comfrey- A Plant With Many Uses Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a gardener's friend. A plant with many benefits, comfrey can be used as medicine, mulch, liquid fertilizer, compost and chicken feed. Comfrey has a deep tap root that can mine the soil for nutrients and minerals. Used in herbal medicine for thousands of years, comfrey is said to help heal wounds and bruises. In this episode, Permaculture teacher and farmer Julious Piti talks about comfrey and how to use it.