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The Broms

Bromeliads are one of the most spectacular groups in the new world tropics, occupying many of the harshest habitats across the Americas. With around 3,500 species currently accepted, the Bromeliaceae is by no means a large family when compared to Orchidaceae (~30,000+ species) or the Asteraceae (~30,000 species). However, its diversity rivals that of any… Read More »

Edmond Albius and the Story of Vanilla

 Ice cream, cake, frosting, candy, pudding, the list goes on! Vanilla is one of the quintessential flavors for desserts, and a scent that you can find perfuming homes around the world. It’s a  classic flavor you can find everywhere, but did you know that it was once coveted for its rarity and supposed medicinal properties? … Read More »

Mandalas in Nature

Landscape Gardener Tim Chadd at one time designed and replanted Sherman Library & Gardens’ modern formal garden as a living mandala with butter lettuce, thyme, and bok choy. The word ‘Mandala’ is a Sanskrit word for a circle contained within a square, often with sections radiating out from the center point. The process of making… Read More »

The Hardiest Houseplant You’ve Never Heard Of

Pull up a chair, roll up your sleeve, and put on a brave face because it’s time for your daily dose of trivia! Ready? Let’s begin: What plant is hand pollinated using cat whiskers? Need a hint? This plant shares its name with the mascot of Georgetown University. If you answered Hoya, then treat yourself… Read More »

Horsefeathers in Horticulture

Starve a cold and feed a fever. Don’t cross your eyes too long or they’ll get stuck that way. Always wait thirty minutes after eating before swimming. Drinking coffee in adolescence will stunt your growth. Shaved hairs grow back thicker. Unless you were raised by wolves, you’ve likely heard at least one of these admonitions… Read More »

Captivating Carnivorous Plants

Precocious pitcher plants, seductive sundews and the vivacious, yet vicious Venus fly traps use their alluring bodies to entice their naive guests into a romantic dinner for two. But there’ll be no walk along the beach after this malicious meal. For the carnivorous plant, its date is the main course in this tale of summer love…. Read More »