7 episodes

Botanical Mystery Tour is a podcast about the real-life science behind the plants in pop culture. Botanical Mystery Tour is produced by the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Botanical Mystery Tour Chicago Botanic Garden

    • Natural Sciences

Botanical Mystery Tour is a podcast about the real-life science behind the plants in pop culture. Botanical Mystery Tour is produced by the Chicago Botanic Garden.

    Harry Potter and Magical Plants

    Harry Potter and Magical Plants

    We all know the Harry Potter series is filled with magic. But did you realize how important magical plants like Devil’s snare and mandrake are to the stories? We explore whether these kinds of plants really exist in the Muggle world.

    • 26 min
    The Silence of the Lambs and Death's-Head Hawkmoths

    The Silence of the Lambs and Death's-Head Hawkmoths

    The poster for the movie The Silence of the Lambs is iconic — a sinister winged insect covers the mouth of a pale-faced woman. That insect is a death’s head hawkmoth, and in some cultures it’s considered a dark omen. Do hawkmoths deserve their creepy reputation? What do hawkmoths and Buffalo Bill have in common? And how does Clarice Starling compare to real-life women in science?

    • 35 min
    Shakespeare in the Garden

    Shakespeare in the Garden

    Botanical references abound in Shakespeare’s works, like in this famous quote from ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ He was a writer who celebrated plants in verse and someone who kept a garden of his own. But his interest in the botanical wasn’t necessarily special for his time. What do modern English gardens have in common with those back in the Bard’s day? And why did he choose to mention certain plants and trees?

    • 26 min
    The Star Wars Sarlacc Pit and Carnivorous Plants

    The Star Wars Sarlacc Pit and Carnivorous Plants

    Move over Darth Vader and Kylo Ren: Sarlaccs are way more terrifying than your light sabers. The terrifying, plant-like creature that almost eats Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi is the stuff of nightmares. What makes this pit of despair a plant? Does it have any real-life comparison? Do venus flytraps and pitcher plants torture and communicate with their prey like Sarlaccs do?

    • 16 min
    Alice in Wonderland and the Mysteries of Mushrooms

    Alice in Wonderland and the Mysteries of Mushrooms

    Mushrooms! Colorful, weird, possibly deadly, and an important part of the classic tale by Lewis Carroll. When consumed, the mushrooms Alice encounters have wacky and strange consequences, but are there real-life equivalents? And where can you go to find mushrooms that would feel right at home in Wonderland?

    • 24 min
    The Simpsons, Dennis the Menace, and the Corpse Flower

    The Simpsons, Dennis the Menace, and the Corpse Flower

    Amorphophallus titanum, better known as the corpse flower, is one of the Garden’s superstar plants. These stinky, rare blooms attract thousands of visitors intrigued by their foul odor and towering height. How has the corpse flower been accurately (and inaccurately) portrayed as a character in pop culture? Are the references in Dennis the Menace (“The 40 Year Orchid”) and The Simpsons (“Sumatran Century Flower”) based in science or fiction?

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

vjhaynes ,

Jeopardy

Jeopardy introduction caused me to find you; enjoyed

taranlichtenberger ,

Looking forward!

I cannot wait for more episodes of this podcast! I really how there is one on gillyweed from Harry Potter or plants generally from that series!

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