Missouri Botanical Garden

The endangered running buffalo clover.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Outdoor activities like hiking and camping can help people appreciate nature and encourage public support for conservation, but a new study finds that such recreation can also be harmful to the environment. 

In the most comprehensive survey of threats to rare plants conducted in 20 years, researchers from the Missouri Botanical Garden and the University of Missouri-St. Louis analyzed data on threats to nearly 3,000 rare plants in the United States. As scientists report in the journal Biological Conservation, they discovered that outdoor recreation was the most common threat to plants, above residential development and agriculture.

Provided by The Land Institute

Story updated at 1:18 p.m. Oct. 18 | Originally posted at 7:45 p.m. Oct. 11

Some scientists dream of a future in which people can add sorghum, intermediate wheatgrass and other currently wild perennial plants to their diet.

In St. Louis, researchers at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis University are developing a list of wild perennials, which live for many years, to recommend for domestication. Researchers say such plants have the potential to make agriculture more sustainable and feed a growing human population.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Dr. Peter Raven, the former, longtime president of Missouri Botanical Garden, to discuss environmental issues. Raven recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

Even in his retirement, Raven is staying busy with his work on the board of the National Geographic Society and writing his biography. He is still deeply immersed in the challenges facing the planet today.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

With early March temperatures already in the 60s and 70s, it is time to think about dragging out those pruning shears, pots and gathering mulch. It is spring gardening season! “St. Louis on the Air” gathered two horticulture experts to discuss spring planting and gardening.

June Hutson, a horticulturist, consultant and designer for the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Chip Tynan, the garden’s manager of the horticulture answer service, joined Don Marsh to answer your questions.

Richard Reilly

If you took a drive this fall in Old North, along Delmar near Union, or in Dutchtown near Virginia and Liberty streets, you’ve probably seen vast fields of sunflowers waving at you as you pass by. Who is behind these projects to brighten up vacant lots across St. Louis?

Kali greets his visitors.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Update: This article has been updated to include a State Auditor's approved recoupment of $.0001 for each of the Zoo Museum District institutions.

The Zoo Museum District board is lowering tax rates for the coming year. This will amount to St. Louisans paying a fraction of a cent less per one hundred dollars of taxable property.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial activities, and cars contributes to asthma and other health problems in the St. Louis area.
Syracuse University News Services

In December, government representatives from all over the world will meet in Paris for another conference on climate change aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curbing rising global temperatures.

In advance of that meeting, some scientists and environmental leaders are gathering at Washington University to discuss one particular consequence of climate change: widespread species extinctions.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The debate over charging nonresidents of St. Louis and St. Louis County for admission to the various free Zoo-Museum District institutions was reignited in St. Louis this month. “A small entrance fee of, say, $8 for non-city, non-county people would be fair and would help institutions terrifically,” said Ben Uchitelle, the former chairman of the board of the Zoo-Museum District.

Peter Raven at work in China
Provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden

Director Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter Raven, is one of the minds behind the latest papal letter from Pope Francis. He issued the sweeping encyclical Thursday that calls for immediate societal changes to preserve the environment.  

Jean Ponzi (left) and Richard Reilly (right), managers of EarthWays Center
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Chances are, you’ve heard the popular term “go green” at some point, indicating efforts to promote more sustainable methods of living. With campaigns to promote “going green,” some people are seeking out more ways to conserve energy ― at home ― and be a little friendlier to the Earth.

On Thursday, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh talked with Jean Ponzi and Richard Reilly, managers of EarthWays Center, a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden about the various ways to lead more energy efficient lives.

One demonstration garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden gives city-dwellers inspiration for plants that do well in small lots.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Whether your garden needs a little TLC or needs to be planted in the first place, the St. Louis area has some unique gardening hacks to help even the brownest thumb among us.

With resources like the following at the tips of your gardening gloves, St. Louis makes it easy to get your garden on.

What to plant

On May 23, 2015, the Chinese Lantern Festival returned to the Missouri Botanical Garden for the first time since 2012.
Jamie Heuer

On Saturday night, the Chinese Lantern Festival's return to the Missouri Botanical Garden came amid a sellout crowd of 4,500 people.

It’s extremely uncommon to see an authentic Chinese lantern festival outside of Asia. The garden staged its first lantern festival in 2012 as a onetime event and celebration of the completion of Flora of China, a 25-year project documenting China’s wild plants that was completed in cooperation with gardens in China.

he Chinese Lantern Festival opens at the Missouri Botanical Garden on May 23.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

A popular attraction that debuted in St. Louis a few years ago has returned. 


On Saturday night, the Missouri Botanical Garden will present the grand opening of Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined, a display of 22 sets of Chinese lanterns constructed out of steel and silk and illuminated from the inside. 



Ed Spevak / Saint Louis Zoo

Is it too early to plant carrots? What about tomatoes? And is there any use for those spiky sweetgum tree seeds?

Missouri Botanical Garden horticulturists June Hutson and Dana Rizzo were on-hand Monday to answer questions about spring gardening.

If you’re just getting started gardening, turn to the computer, Hutson said.

Charles Valier, left, and Robert Powell listen to presentation of the ZMD's proposed 2015 Preliminary District Administrative Budget
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Zoo Museum District board member Robert Powell has resigned because of connections with two subdistricts.

“After reflecting on it, I just thought I should resign and not belabor this issue,” said Powell.

Climatron 2014
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

So you have relatives in town, kids that need to get out and about or you just need to stretch your legs and decompress.

The Garden Glow Light Exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden has been a favorite with members of our staff. It is not open Christmas, but is Dec. 26-Jan. 3 – though not New Year’s Eve -- from 5:30-9:30. A recommendation: Get tickets in advance.

How many lights?

600,000 -- that's almost 100,000 more than last year

Worried about cold?

Garden Glow Will Again Light Up Winter Nights

Sep 24, 2014
The Missouri Botanical Garden understands that an outdoor winter exhibit needs places that provide warmth.
Provided by the Botanical Garden

What do you do with success? If you are the Missouri Botanical Garden, you repeat it.

Last year's Garden Glow had about 98,000 visitors. “We know that it is something people enjoyed, public information officer Katie O’Sullivan said. “We heard from a lot of people that they would like to make the festival part of their annual traditions over the holidays.”

So the Botanical Garden is bringing the event back. This year’s version will be larger in hopes of making it even more impressive.

The Kemper Center For Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Laila Wessel | Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden has been awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for $140,605. The money will go toward developing the Botanical Garden’s IMAGINE program. IMAGINE stands for Innovative Modeling Across the Garden to Investigate Neighborhood Ecology. The project will form a partnership between the Botanical Garden and nearby schools to teach kids about environmental issues in their communities.

(Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden)

If you have an oak tree in your yard, you may have found yourself picking up more leaves and branches than expected this summer. 

According to Missouri Botanical Garden horticulturist Chip Tynan, there are two culprits.

The first are tiny wasps that cause a growth, known as a gall, to form on twigs and small branches of oak trees. The second offender are squirrels, who think the galls make a tasty snack.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Everybody thinks their own kids are geniuses when they make cars, castles and the occasional bridge out of LEGOs. But a New York artist has truly transformed what must’ve been the world’s largest LEGO set into 25 nature-themed sculptures.

Sean Kenney’s traveling exhibit currently occupies the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Climatron, posing behind plants, crouching over the soil and waiting to be discovered.

Alan Greenblatt

You still have a few hours left to smell the corpse flower.

The Titan Arum, an Aroid plant from Sumatra, is currently in bloom at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It flowers rarely, but when it does, its strong odor definitely carries.

“It smells like rotting flesh,” said Andrew Wyatt, the Garden's vice president of horticulture. “It spreads the foul smell over many miles because it’s trying to attract pollinators from another plant several miles away.”

Bridgeton Landfill
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

 Missourians need to be worried – and need to act.

That is the message of Environmental Missouri: Issues and Sustainability — What You Need to Know, a new book from Webster University journalism professor and Times Newspapers editor Don Corrigan.  The book is an overview of various aspects of our environment and sustainability shortfalls – in addition to what we are doing right.

Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden annual Green Homes Festival is this Saturday at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening. One of the focuses of this year’s festival is gardening with native plants, or “naturescaping.”

Using native plants is environmentally friendly because it works within the existing ecosystem, explained Jean Ponzi, Green Resources Manager at the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Sweet Potato Project
St. Louis Public Radio

Sweet potatoes planted by St. Louis teens now have their own plot in the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Young members of an effort called the Sweet Potato Project planted seedlings on Saturday, joined by Garden leaders and other supporters. The project teaches teens from north St. Louis how to grow sweet potatoes sustainably, mainly in vacant lots, and then how to brand and sell sweet potato products.

via Flickr/Louise Docker

After an especially harsh winter, spring has returned to St. Louis. Gardeners across the region are planting and planning for the growing season.

But the plants are still feeling the effects of the unusual cold, said Missouri Botanical Garden horticulturists June Hutson and Elizabeth Spiegel.

The corpse flower after blooming
Jim Santel | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The plant is a strange mixture of contradictions: Its flower takes only a few weeks to reach a height of nearly 6feet, but only a few hours to open and fade away. It is beautiful to look at, but not so pleasant to smell. Its rapid flowering comes as a burst of life, but its informal name evokes death. It’s known as a corpse flower.

Lisa Francis, Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden has completed a 26-year effort to document the state's native plants.

The three-volume Flora of Missouri contains illustrations, plant distribution maps, and a detailed description of each species, including its taxonomy, uses, and conservation status.

This encyclopedic work updates the original Flora of Missouri, first published in 1963 by the late Julian Steyermark.

Henry Shaw at his townhouse at 7th and Locust.
Provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Nearly 155 years ago, businessman Henry Shaw opened the Missouri Botanical Garden on the hundreds of acres of prairie he'd previously purchased. With the help of pre-eminent naturalist Asa Gray, William Jackson Hooker, director of England’s Kew Gardens, and St. Louis resident Dr. George Engelmann, Shaw created a major and lasting institution.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Botanical Garden pulses with green life: plants, flowers, trees, fruits, herbs and vegetables. Visits to the vast space feel peaceful, but the gardens themselves are also purposeful. They're not just lovely, they're useful and necessary.

That idea runs through the garden's year-long series, Foodology.

Peter Wyse Jackson
Provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In many parts of the world, a web of gardens work to connect the past with the present, and the present with the future.

They grow in India and Israel, in Cambodia, Peru and the Bronx, in Costa Rica, Madagascar, Colombia and Sri Lanka, in South Dakota, in St. Louis, and now, for the first time, into Europe through France.