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Levy Library Blog

Beyond the Stacks: July 2021

by Angelyn Thornton on 2021-07-21T08:00:00-04:00 | Comments


Kaci Resau, MA, MLIS (She/her/hers), E-Resources Manager


I am a plant lover, and luckily, I was born with my great-grandmother’s green thumb. Anytime I visit a new city, I always explore whatever gardens or forests I can find. So, when I heard that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was releasing a podcast series, I knew I had to listen.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew aims to protect biodiversity while supporting sustainability. Currently, the gardens preserve 8.25 plant and fungal specimens and 200,000 botanical illustrations. In 2020, Kew released a new podcast, “Unearthed: Mysteries from an unseen world,” hosted by ethnobotanist & broadcaster/writer, James Wong. The 8-episode podcast (to date) series looks at how fungi and plants play a role in everything from crime-solving, to body healing, to new laws. Most of the podcasts are about 30 minutes, with a few around 1 hour. It’s a great listen for a commute or while you’re taking a walk.

Listeners can learn about how a zombie fungus can make ants explode, how the Kew was able to help solve a murder by identifying a plant that the murderer used to kill their spouse, food safety, plant/fungi based medical cures, and the seedy underbelly of plant culture via plant trafficking. The podcast brings in horticulturists, toxicologists, climate change experts, and more. My favourite episode focuses on ecocide (the destruction of natural environment by humans deliberately or negligently) and whether or not it is a crime.

Give this podcast a chance and you’ll surely look at plants a lot differently – plus, that James Wong is a fun-gi!



“Unearthed: Mysteries from an unseen world” can be downloaded directly at or wherever you find your favourite podcasts. You can learn more about Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, here.


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