When we talk about climate change and conservation, animals tend to steal the show. Yet the organisms whose extinction would affect us the most are actually plants. Horticulturalist Carlos Magdalena has become known as the Plant Messiah for his work using groundbreaking, left-field techniques to save endangered species. First captivated by the bogs and flowers of his native Spain, Carlos has spent much of his professional life in greenhouses and laboratories—and traveling the world, from the Amazon to Australia—to resurrect plants of all shades. And with his new book, he’s on a mission to change the way we see the flora around us by spreading the good word about green things.
Go beyond the episode:
- Carlos Magdalena’s The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species
- Get a daily dose of flower power through Kew Gardens’s Instagram account
- Check out images and background on the Café Marron plant at the Global Trees Campaign
- Watch a clip from the BBC’s Kingdom of Plants, including a glimpse of Carlos tending to some water lilies
- Read the wild story of how several samples of the world’s smallest water lily—the one Carlos saved—were stolen in a grand heist
- Kew Gardens highlights other plants on the brink in this YouTube video
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.