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NAOCC & Orchid Podcast

Ninety percent of all plants on Earth rely on the fungi intertwined in their roots. The plants receive nutrients and water, as well as some other benefits, from these mycorrhizae – but some plants take advantage of the fungi and drain all their energy, giving nothing in return. Among the most beautiful, bountiful, and endangered such plants are the orchids. In this episode, Izzie talks with Dennis Whigham and Melissa McCormick, orchid scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, about how the fungi help the orchids and why orchid conservation is also leading to a lot of new fungal science. podcast

In Defense of Plants

Many people are surprised to learn that North America is home to over 200 species of orchid. What’s more, an embarrassing amount of North America’s orchids are threatened with extinction. The plight of this intriguing plant family is an indication of how we are doing as a species. Orchids act as the proverbial canary in a coal mine. That is why Dr. Dennis Whigham, senior botanist for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, established the North America Orchid Conservation Center. Join us for a discussion with Dr. Whigham in which we cover everything from the mutualisms that orchids need to survive to what it is going to take to ensure their survival on this continent. podcast