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.









November 2017
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Kalo- An Important Hawaiian Plant

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

Direct download: Kalo_at_Maui_Nui.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24pm PST

The Magic of Mulberries

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.

Direct download: Mulberries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:03pm PST

The Winter Squash Fan Club

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



Direct download: Winter_Squash_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm PST

Thistles- The Prickly Plant With An Important Job

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. 

Direct download: The_Parable_of_the_Thistle_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm PST

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

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. 

Direct download: Chaya-_Anabel_Ford_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm PST

Moringa- The Miracle Tree

Moringa is called the Miracle Tree and after listening to this episode, you'll know why! Native to Africa and Asia, Moringa offers a plethora of benefits. Fast and easy to grow in the right climate (tropical and sub-tropical), Moringa is loaded with nutrients. Many parts of the Moringa are edible and/or medicinal, including the leaves, oil, bark and gum. 

To learn about this marvelous tree, I spoke with plant expert and Permaculture designer Julious Piti. Based in Zimbabwe, Julious is the founder of PORET, an organization that supports farmers in dryland areas and works to address hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. 

Click Here to listen to a longer interview about the Real Green Revolution in Africa with the inspiring Julious Piti. 

For those listeners who don't live in a sub-tropical or tropical climate, I'm growing two healthy Moringa trees in a Mediterranean climate. I've heard of people in colder areas who grow Moringa outside in warmer months and in green houses when it's cool. 

Direct download: Moringa-_The_Giving_Tree.mp3
Category:Trees -- posted at: 4:46pm PST

Outdoor Mushroom Cultivation

In this episode of The Plant Report, we talk with Michael Judd about outdoor mushroom cultivation. Growing mushrooms at home is fun, surprisingly easy and offers multiple benefits including a delicious medicinal crop, increased mycelium in your soil and mycoremediation opportunities.

In the interview, Michael talks about different growing techniques, including log and mulch cultivation and walks you through everything you need to know to start your first backyard (or patio) mushroom crop!

Michael Judd is a Permaculture designer, teacher, author of Edible Landscaping With A Permaculture Twist and all around Fun-gi. He's just launched a campaign to help fund his new book- A Guide To Backyard Mushroom Growing.

 If you'd like to learn more, check out Michael's Kickstarter campaign by clicking here or visit his website,

Direct download: Outdoor_Mushroom_Cultivation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm PST

Hala- The Hawaiian PVC Pipe

We met with farmer and Hawaiian plant expert John Aquino on the beautiful grounds of the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens located on the island of Maui. In this episode, John talks about the many uses of Hala- Pandanus tectorius. Hala can be woven into floor mats, canoe sails, and baskets. Hala is a famine food, has male and female trees and its trunk can be used for irrigation. John calls Hala- the Hawaiian PVC Pipe! 

To schedule a tour of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens click here.  Maui Nui Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the state of Hawaii located on a coastal dune system that features native Hawaiian coastal and dry forest plants. Their


Direct download: Hala_with_John_Aquino_1.mp3
Category:Trees -- posted at: 1:11pm PST

Feijoa- An Affable Edible Plant

Feijoa, Acca sellowiana, popularly known as pineapple guava is an easy to grow shrub with beautiful edible flowers and fruit that tastes like the tropics. To learn more about this delicious temperate sub-tropical plant, I spoke with Mark Albert, an expert in all things Feijoa. Mark Albert is a naturalist and rare fruit grower who specializes in self-sufficient year-round food production. 

Direct download: Mark_Albert_-_Pineapple_Guava.mp3
Category:Plants -- posted at: 4:17pm PST

Bunya-Bunya Tree

The Bunya-Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii) is a tall, evergreen coniferous tree with large, edible and high carbohydrate nuts. In this Plant Report, Permaculture designer and horticulturist Byron Joel talks with Jill Cloutier about the Bunya-Bunya; its growing habits, history and untapped potential as a perennial staple crop. (Just watch out for those bowling ball sized falling cones!)

Direct download: Bunya_Bunya_with_Byron_Joel.mp3
Category:Trees -- posted at: 5:41pm PST