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.


  • The Mighty Oak

    11/11/2019 Duration: 57min

    Episode 31: Journey into the world of Quercus, the amazing Oak.  Horticulturalist Byron Joel is an avid Oak fan and shares his knowledge about Oaks from tiny acorn to robust tree. You'll learn about what Oaks need to grow well, the beauty of Oak as a perennial staple crop, the three "fruits" of Oak, and some of the many uses of this iconic tree. Byron also talks about the Dehesa, the semi-domesticated Oak savannah and its high quality yields. We also discuss specific species of Oak, including lower tannin varieties. Byron Joel is a Permaculture teacher and designer who is an avid Oak fan. Owner of Oak Tree Designs in Margaret River, Australia, Byron works internationally as both educator and consultant in Holistic Management, Natural Sequence Farming, Bio-dynamics, Natural Farming, the Regrarians Platform, and Restoration Agriculture.  You can read about Byron's new project Dehesa Australis here. In this epsiode, Byron mentions research about implementing the Dehesa system in California. Here is a link: Medit

  • Nettle- The Prickly Medicinal Herb

    03/05/2019 Duration: 34min

    Episode 30: If you've ever wandered into a patch of Nettle, you probably remember its ferocious sting! But, did you know that Nettle is a nutritional powerhouse and herbal medicine rock star? Renowned for its tiny hairs and formic acid bite, Nettle is a plant with many medicinal benefits. Nettle contains protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chlorophyll, and Vitamins A, C, D, and B! To learn about this medicinal herb that "bites', I speak with Western Clinical Herbalist Cheryl Fromholzer, owner and founder of of Gathering Thyme, a community herb shop, clinic, and education center in San Rafael, CA. I saw Cheryl speak at the Santa Barbara Plant Food Medicine Conference last year and was impressed by her knowledge of Nettle. Cheryl fills us in on the many benefits of this tonic herb. Nettle has an alkalizing effect on tissue, can reduce allergy symptoms, alleviate fatigue, and help with skin problems like eczema. Cheryl tells us how and when to harvest Nettle and what parts of the plant to use. We also discu

  • Meet the Geranium Family!

    31/08/2018 Duration: 50min

    Episode 29: Robin Parer loves Geraniums. An avid horticulturalist, Robin started a nursery in 1983 with 32 Geranium plants. Thirty five years later, Robin's nursery contains over 650 members of the Geraniaceae Family. Robin has traveled through leech infested Australian swamps, explored Hawaiian craters, and climbed 14,000 feet to reach Andean lama pastures- all for her love of Geraniums!  In this episode, I speak with 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.  Robin Parer is the owner and operator of the Geraniaceae Nurseryin Kentfield, CA and the author of the book, The Plant Lovers' Guide to Hardy Geraniums. She is also one of the founders of the Bay Area Horticultural Society and has been featured in the New York Times, Sunset, and House and Garden Ma

  • The Lovely Loquat

    13/04/2018 Duration: 25min

    Episode 28: Have you ever heard of Loquats? In this episode, farmer, educator, and author Ken Love talks about this sweet and prolific fruit tree.  Found throughout the world, Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are easy to grow and maintain. Also known as Biwa and Pipa, Loquats have a long and intriguing history and offer the home gardener an abundant source of delicious fruit with high levels of Vitamin A and Potassium. Loquats are also powerful medicine. The leaves are used medicinally in teas and syrups to clear the lungs. Ken tells us what Loquats need to thrive, how to prune them for high quality fruit production, and how to harvest them for longer shelf life and maximal nutrition.  Ken Love specializes in tropical fruit horticulture and grows more than 200 types of exotic fruits on his farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can learn more about Ken at his website or at

  • Lovely Lavender

    23/02/2018 Duration: 51min

    Episode 27: Learn about Lavender with farmer Lori Parr. Lori, aka Lavender Lori, farms Lavender in Western Montana on Rosalie Ranch where she distills her own brand of essential oils and hydrosols. Lori is also the author of the soon to be published book, Lavender Farming in High Elevations and Harsh Climates: Secrets from a Hard Row Hoed. In this interview Lori tells us how to propagate, grow, and harvest Lavender and shares with us some of the many ways to use this aromatic and delightful plant. Did you know that Lavender oil is excellent for burns, blisters, headaches, and insomnia? Or that Lavender hydrosol can be used for skin care, cleaning, and as a body wash?  To learn more about Lavender and Lori, visit her website at

  • Native Plants of the Appalachian Woodlands

    13/10/2017 Duration: 50min

    Episode 26: Learn about native Appalachian herbs in this interview with educator, designer, and farmer Trevor Piersol. Co- founder of the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute, Trevor grows perennial fruits and medicinal herbs, with a focus on easy-care native plants, in his home state of Virginia.  Appalachia, a vast mountain region of the United States, is rich in botanical diversity and herbal lore. In this episode, Trevor talks about American Ginseng, Goldenseal, Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, and two of the many fungi that grow in this region, Reishi and Chaga. Trevor shares with us the type of medicine these plants provide,  how to use them, how to ensure that the plants you buy are ethically harvested,  and how you can grow them at home or in a nearby woodland.  Threatened by habitat loss, climate breakdown, poaching, and over-harvesting, these living treasures need to be protected.  For more information about Trevor and his work, visit the Shenandoah Permaculture

  • Hawthorn for the Heart

    23/06/2017 Duration: 36min

    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 B

  • The Medicinal, Edible Thistle

    07/03/2017 Duration: 17min

    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 To hear a longe

  • Marvelous Mallow

    03/03/2017 Duration: 09min

    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. 

  • Durian: The Aromatic King of Fruits

    12/12/2016 Duration: 50min

    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 s

  • Relax and Calm With Lemon Balm

    14/10/2016 Duration: 26min

    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.

  • The Power of Pulses with Dan Jason

    30/06/2016 Duration: 34min

    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 garde

  • Paw Paw: The Forgotten Fruit

    31/12/2015 Duration: 38min

    Episode 19: Have you ever eaten a paw paw? If you haven't, you'll probably want to, after hearing this interview with Andrew Moore, author of the book, Paw Paw In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit.   Paw Paws are North America's largest, edible, native fruit. Growing wild in 26 states, paw paws have been immortalized in folk songs, like Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch. In modern times, paw paws have largely been forgotten. To learn why, I speak with Andrew Moore about this delicious and highly medicinal plant. Andrew takes us on a journey through the Paw Paw Belt and shares why he is excited about the future of this tropical tasting plant.  To read more about Andrew, click here.    

  • The Beautiful Rose

    24/10/2015 Duration: 33min

    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. Linda talks about the history of roses, the benefits of growing heritage roses, and why the concept of "right rose, right place" is important. Linda also shares recipes and gardening tips. After hearing about Roses, you may be tempted to become a rose rustler. To learn more about heritage roses, visit Linda's blog by clicking here.

  • Amazing Yeast- Tiny, Ubiquitous, and Invaluable

    14/08/2015 Duration: 17min

    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. In this episode, Dr. Ian Roberts of the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) talks about yeast: its history, what it needs to survive, its role in the ecosystem, and the process of fermentation.  Dr. Roberts is the curator of more than 4,000 strains of yeast collected over 65 years at the NCYC. To learn more about the NCYC and its heritage collection of UK brewing yeast visit their website.

  • Kalo- An Important Hawaiian Plant

    11/07/2015 Duration: 21min

    Episode 16: In this episode we talk about Kalo or Taro, Colocasia esculenta. To learn about this staple of the Hawaiian diet, we visit the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens located in Kahului on the island of Maui. At Maui Nui, we speak with Tamara Sherrill and John Aquino. Former Plant Collections Manager, Tamara is now Maui Nui's Executive Director. Tamara describes several old Hawaiian varieties of Kalo, Kalo propagation, and Native and Canoe Plants.    We also talk with farmer and Hawaiian Plant Expert John Aquino about what parts of the Kalo are edible, how it's grown, his farm on Maui, and traditional Hawaiian farming methods.    To learn more about the Maui Nui Botanic Gardens, visit their website at

  • The Magic of Mulberries

    14/06/2015 Duration: 15min

    Loren Luyendyk has been working with Mulberry Trees for over 15 years. In this episode Loren talks about why he thinks more people should be growing this incredibly versatile plant. Did you know that Mulberry Trees can adapt to almost any soil type? That they are hardy to drought and temperature extremes? Learn the best way to propagate Mulberries and the medicinal uses of Mulberry leaves and root bark. The Mulberries themselves are delicious and high in Vitamins A and C.  Loren Luyendyk is a Permaculture teacher, designer, and owner of Santa Barbara Organics.

  • The Winter Squash Fan Club

    17/04/2015 Duration: 20min

    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.  Justin is the founder of The Seedkeepers, an educational company dedicated to teaching people how to grow food and save seeds. To learn more about Justin's work, visit The    

  • Thistles- The Prickly Plant With An Important Job

    28/03/2015 Duration: 14min

    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.  Larry tells us about the intrinsic characteristics of thistles, why the Earth calls them in, and what effect they have on the landscape.  After listening you may gain a new appreciation for this prickly, unpopular plant! To learn more about Larry Santoyo visit his website at: The Permaculture To read an interview with him click here.  To listen to an interview, click here. 

  • Chaya- The High Protein Greens You've Never Heard Of

    14/03/2015 Duration: 17min

    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. To learn about Chaya, I spoke with Dr. Anabel Ford, director of the MesoAmerican Research Center. To hear Dr. Ford and some of the Mayan Forest Gardeners in a 2008 interview on Sustainable World Radio, click here.   Note: Chaya contains hydrocyanic glycosides, some people recommend cooking it before eating it. 

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