Some of us visit botanical gardens for aesthetic enjoyment, exercise, or to get ideas about what to plant in our own gardens. Rarely do most of us consider what goes on behind the scenes or just how critical plant research is to our daily lives.
Botanical Society of America members got a chance address these considerations on May 18th. They shared their passion for plants and provided “behind-the-scenes” insights as they led visitors of the Missouri Botanical Garden on special garden tours to celebrate Fascination of Plants Day.
The first plant walk of the day featured a tour of the research greenhouses by Justin Zweck of St. Louis University who shared a bit of his pollination research with the group. Horticulturalist Justin Lee spoke about the Garden’s collection and propagation of wild and endangered species. Finally, the group learned about native Missouri plants and their connection to Native American ethnobotany from Ashley Glenn of the William L. Brown Center.
A second tour focused on woodland medicinal plants (by Wendy Applequist, William L. Brown Center) and economic plants of the Climatron (by Ken Olsen, Washington University).
Tours like this do more than show a passion for plants and share details on why specific plants are important — they foster discussion of what is known and what remains to be discovered.
In addition to the tours, episodes of Bucknell University scientist Chris Martine’s video series “Plants are Cool, Too!” played all day and showed Garden visitors some of the fascinating stories of plant research conducted by scientists around the world. You can view the series at here.
This post was prepared by Catrina Adams, Director of Education, Botanical Society of America.