Discover the surprising world of plants with science and stories from Australia's oldest scientific institution. Branch Out is your backstage pass into labs, Botanic Gardens, the Australian bush and the minds of experts who are protecting the future of plants.
Let's talk about plant sex
Prepare to blush as we explore the unusual, ingenious and sometimes even deceptive ways plants are gettin' it on for the survival of their species. Plant sex is real, it's happening all around us and it's not just up to the birds and the bees. Our flowering flora have honed a whole range of different reproduction processes over hundreds of millions of years to pass on their genes - and some of them, are just down right amazing. In this slightly raunchy episode of Branch Out you'll also hear about the incredible scientific efforts to make sure some of our most endangered plants, like orchids, can keep gettin' it on.
Plants have developed an array of deadly defences and chemical compounds can turn an innocent looking ornamental into a deadly assassin. Different toxins affect different parts of our body too, causing everything from kidney failure, heart failure, brain damage and even death. It's why humans have used poisonous plants in weapons to kill prey and even commit murder. But most of the time, our run in with poisonous plants is a mistake with thousands of accidental poisoning illnesses and deaths each year all around the world because it's often very hard to tell the difference between something that's poisonous, and something that's not.
Battling a plant disease pandemic
When we hear 'pandemic' we immediately think of COVID-19. But there's a deadly plant disease pandemic called 'myrtle rust' tearing through Australia that arrived long before COVID-19. It's spreading fast and attacking plants in the Myrtaceae family such as our iconic eucalypts. In this episode you'll discover the cutting-edge science that is our best bet for saving our species. It's the same science that will could save us from COVID-19 - DNA research.
Plants that heal
We're in the middle of once-in-a-century pandemic and coming into peak flu-season in the southern hemisphere. Medicine is on our minds and surprisingly, many developed in the last century were derived from naturally occurring molecules found in plants, bacteria, and fungi. In this episode you'll discover some of mother nature's miracles, the latest in cutting-edge medicinal cannabis research and traditional Chinese herbal medicine - treating everything from dementia to endometriosis. You'll also learn how to grow a couple of plants at home that can help relieve cold and flu symptoms.
Bushfire impacts, recovery & outlook
Australia is a no doubt a sunburnt country and the unique landscape shares a long and important relationship with fire. But even the most fire-adapted plants were devastated by the intense summer bushfires. While new growth is emerging and cutting-edge science is saving species - there's still a long road to recovery for the flora that went up in flames.
Amazing plant-based inventions
Did you know aspirin was derived from salicin found in the bark of several varieties of Willow tree? Plants are the source of so many amazing past and new inventions we need in our lives. In this episode you'll discover how scientists are utilising the waste material from banana plants to create biodegradable food packaging to combat the plastic pollution problem. You'll also learn how researchers are potentially turning cashew nut shells into more environmentally friendly sunscreen.
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For plant people
If you don’t listen to Branching Out while doing your gardening, are you even a plant person?
Love Branch out !!
This podcast series is so educational, I have learned so much this year from this series, all while working, keep up the great work !!
Thanks Dino Adelaide SA
Great Aussie podcast!
Terrific content, delivered in an engaging and thoughtful manner. I’ve learnt so much and keep wanting to expand my garden as a result!! Thank you so much and please keep it up - particularly at the moment, when we all need a bit of diverse and uplifting content :)