Shoreline Plants

Plant Science & Conservation

Garden Stories

Plant Science & Conservation

Community—and gelato—help undergrad scientists thrive

Angelica Ostiguin

College student Jessica Tillery came to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the summer to work in a plant science lab, hoping to jump start her career in habitat restoration—which she did. And she got the chance to develop something she wasn’t necessarily expecting: a community of scientists, from high schoolers to Ph.D.s, who taught her, supported her, and became her friends. And those relationships, Tillery said, “made her experience.”

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Why we need green spaces

Wildlife and plants are constantly on the move. Birds, deer, and even water animals cross trails, roads, and waterways to seek food or habitats that are necessary for their survival, and the seeds of plants can travel by wind or other means to establish in new green spaces.

woods

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How scientists are rethinking lawns—and how you can, too

Alternative lawns

For many homeowners, a long, hot summer means mow the lawn, water, repeat. It’s a cycle that feels inevitable if you don’t want a brown, unruly patch of land.

Conservation scientist Becky Barak, Ph.D., is looking to change that assumption. By studying alternatives to traditional turfgrass, she and her collaborators are hoping to offer a “menu of options” for greener lawns that not only look good and stand up well against Chicago’s moody seasons but also have positive ecological implications.

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Saving iconic Joshua trees

In the dry Mojave Desert, we think it’s a lovely sight when a tiny blade of a baby Joshua tree nudges up from the soil—but, to be honest, we’re a little proprietary about it. As Chicago Botanic Garden interns, we plant Joshua tree seedlings in the wild and help them flourish.

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Plants of Concern Celebrates 20 Years of Community Science & Rare Plant Monitoring

In 2001, Plants of Concern was launched through the Chicago Botanic Garden to track the status of rare, threatened, and endangered species in northeast Illinois. A landmark program at the time of its conception, Plants of Concern has remained a model for long-term, collaborative community science and still represents one of the only programs of its kind in the world. Here, we’ll look back at our history and celebrate a few of the many accomplishments that make the Plants of Concern program a success – now, and into the future.

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The Changing Climate

fall color

...and this year's fall colors

It’s hard to think of fall without picturing a mosaic of trees with warm-colored hues. Amber browns, golden yellows, and blazing reds cover many natural areas in the Midwest, including the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s all thanks to fall’s shorter days and cool nights.

But with our changing climate, what happens to that classic fall color we’ve come to know and love?

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The Changing Climate

...and this year's fall colors

It’s hard to think of fall without picturing a mosaic of trees with warm-colored hues. Amber browns, golden yellows, and blazing reds cover many natural areas in the Midwest, including the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s all thanks to fall’s shorter days and cool nights.

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This Amazing Plant Changes Gender from Year to Year

Amorphophallus remains a unique occupant in the world of plants, and visitors to the Chicago Botanic Garden recently experienced the fascinating bloom cycle with the titan arum Sprout. However, there is an additional denizen of the Araceae (a.k.a. Aroid, a.k.a. Arum) family with rare and exceptional attributes, which also bloomed at the Garden.

Japanese cobra lily (Arisaema ringens) has an uncanny, serpent-shaped, flower and possesses a remarkable ability to do something that few other plants can do: change its gender from year to year.

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