Presentation at Nerd Nite Miami!

LeafGardens

Company/Site News
#1
David will be doing the first presentation representing LeafGardens this upcoming Thursday, February 8th at Gramps! The event is hosted by Nerd Nite Miami. While the primary content of the presentation will focus on Amorphophallus, it will also touch broadly upon botany as a whole, introducing related topics and behaviors found in other plant species. It will be a fantastic introduction into plants in general. The quick highlights on the event:

Gramps
Nerd Nite Miami
176 NW 24th St
Miami, FL 33127
6:00PM-9:30PM EST
Presentations start at 7:30PM

If you aren't local to Miami to see the presentation in person, we are also working on have the event recorded and available online shortly after. This will be freely available to view online, and when ready we'll announce ways to do that. Additionally, this thread will be updated with further information and reading materials sometime Friday, February 9th, for those who wish to further dive into the subjects discussed at the event.

See you then, nerds! ;)
 

David

Founder
Staff member
#2
I hope you enjoyed the presentation! This post contains varying information that was briefly touched upon throughout the talk, and as such, some things may not be relevant to your location. At the very least it's likely you can find equivalent programs and groups in your area if you run a search that can help you find the right people (try "plant society" and name of the city you are in).

Most of the information is self-explanatory but for greater context, I recommend watching the video first.

From the Presentation
I'd like to thank Matt Coulter (Horticulture Curator at Botanic Gardens of South Australia) and Derek Carwood (Cultural Horticulturalist at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden) for allowing me use of their photos and to tell the story of their plants, Ganteng and Carrion My Wayward Son respectively.

Plants Mentioned
This is a near-complete list of all plants pictured or mentioned from the talk. Since most shown were aroids you can conveniently find additional pictures and species information in one place on the International Aroid Society genera page. The rest come up fairly easy in internet searches.
  • Amorphophallus
    • atroviridis
    • borneensis
    • bulbifer
    • claudelii
    • decus-silvae x variabilis (hybrid)
    • discophorus
    • excentricus
    • glaucophyllus
    • impressus
    • kiusianus
    • konjac
    • koratensis
    • lacourii
    • mossambicensis
    • muelleri
    • paeoniifolius
    • perrieri
    • pseudoharmandii
    • reflexus
    • taurostigma
    • tinekeae x (gigas x decus-silvae) (tribrid)
    • titanum
    • variabilis
  • Anchomanes
  • Anthurium
  • Gonatopus
    • bovinii
  • Philodendron
  • Pycnospatha
  • Rafflesia
    • arnoldii
  • Stapelia
  • Symplocarpus
    • foetidus
  • Synandrospadix
    • vermitoxicus
  • Wolffia
    • arrhiza
Thermogenic Properties
If you found the fact that there are plants that can melt snow and produce enough heat to be as hot as a human body interesting, you can read the Wiki article to find general information and more plants like that. There's also a great research paper focusing on the Amorphophallus titanum's heating ability and how it factors into reproduction of the species: A torch in the forest: thermogenesis of the Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) [PDF]

International Aroid Society
My first and longest interaction with a plant society, this group is dedicated to the kind of plants Amorphophallus, Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and more are found. There are meetings and shows in different parts of the world, each with unique things to see, learn, buy, and are accompanied by field experts and notable researchers doing their own talks (all this can be said of plant societies in general).
Other Societies
There are many other groups that have their own focus. Even if you aren't drawn strongly to a particular group of plants at first, go to a few meetups and shows and the people there will be more than glad to guide you onto something that you suddenly find you have to have. I see it happen every day! As a word of advice, if you see a plant at any time you like, get a picture. That way, when you do come across someone plant-oriented, they can help you find out what it is or at least where to start looking. You cannot imagine how many plants come to mind when someone starts with "it was dark green, and had short leaves..."

A few I have had some experience with (you'll see a number of familiar faces in each; rarely does one stick to one or two groups):
Master Gardener Programs
If you're able to enroll in these classes, they prove invaluable to the understanding of the overall health and condition of your specific area. I went through the Broward Master Gardener course last year, learning to identify red flags that indicate the negative effects of climate change. The skills and information gathered here are also very practical such as how to properly trim and care for trees, how to grow fruits and vegetables, pest control, propagation and cloning (for when you want more of the same plant, for free!), and much more along with so much more. This is actually where I found out about how many cool places I didn't know were a short drive from home!

There is also an Extension Master Gardener Facebook page, which often highlights interesting news articles and stories.

Volunteer Programs
While I assume most local non-profit organizations will never turn down financial donations, what is in really high demand is time in the form of people coming in and lending a hand. I've been working closely with Kimberly Lewis, who is the president of The Friends of Oleta State River Park. A lot of our efforts are geared towards protecting butterflies, removing invasive plants (of which wedelia is a huge issue) and animals, educating visitors, host events in the park, and encouraging flora and fauna to return to areas we reclaim. Many of these things are posted on the Facebook Page for the organization. There is a lot of work to do and while it's not difficult, it is a constant battle that requires a lot of ongoing attention.

If you know you have a few hours to spend here and there throughout your week, even if you don't think it's enough time, it really makes a difference at the end of the day to help out at your local state park. The more people chipping in, the more we progress together in making positive impacts on our immediate environment. Some botanical gardens even accept volunteers, which is a great way to get immersed and learn things that way. The people who help run these organizations and programs are appreciative of public interest and are more than happy to show you ways you can contribute to their individual cause.

Local Places & Nurseries
Like I mentioned above, until going through the Master Gardener program last year I had no idea that there were so many unusual plants you could easily buy and see that would never be found in a Home Depot or Lowe's, or that there were absolutely stunning views and "wild" plants in parks I never knew about. These are some of those places I personally recommend, some well known and others seemingly tucked away out of sight but are just as special in their own right.
 
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