plants | KCUR

plants

Segment 1: How a tattoo interacts with technology.

A tattoo artist in Topeka inks soundwave tattoos, which play a recorded sound with the help of your phone. Hear more about it.

Segment 2, beginning at 14:12: The story behind Loose Park's rose garden.

It's a beloved KC landmark that's been the setting for weddings, prom photos and picnics. More on this fragrant oasis in the city.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How Kansas City is protecting its digital data from hackers.

In light of recent cyberattacks in Atlanta and Baltimore, data security is becoming a larger focus of municipal governments across the country. Today, we looked at Kansas City's own data security, and some of the measures the city has taken to protect against ransomware and other harmful technologies.

Phillip Taylor / Flickr -- CC

A Kansas Citian just returned from his first trip back to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by two hurricanes. We hear how recovery is going from his on-the-ground perspective.

Then: when you think of Antarctica, you may picture a vast land covered with snow. But did you know that plants used to grow there? A scientist is back from an Arctic expedition with plant fossils that she collected — fossils that may tell us something about how life withstands climate change.

bloomlandscape / Flickr -- CC

When you think of moss, you may conjure up images of dense woods. But a new restaurant on the Plaza features a moss wall. We talk to the local artist who created it, and we hear his vision for a harmonious life.

Plus: As one of the most significant tax bills in recent history gets ironed out, there has been talk about what it could do for the middle class. What is the middle class — and what does it mean to be middle class today?

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Cycling 10,000 miles would be plenty of work for anyone. For Sara Dykman it's a labor of love.

The Johnson County native is pedaling her way from the mountains of Central Mexico all the way up to Southern Ontario, Canada, following the migratory pattern of millions of monarch butterflies.

"I love animals," Dykman says. "I like the underdogs — and lots of insects are ignored — but there is this one beautiful butterfly that everyone can get behind."

Jalisco Campus Party / Flickr - CC

Are all those April showers making your May flowers feel a little soggy? Today, we get tips for late-spring gardening from the Kansas City Community Gardens. Also, we speak with Kevin Mitnick about how hackers can use digital know-how and social engineering to work their way into your computer. Mitnick gave up hacking after a five-year stint in prison for computer-related crimes. Now he helps companies and governments secure their own digital networks.

Randy OHC / Flickr -- CC

Echinacea. That's a word you've probably heard a lot, especially during cold and flu season. A chat with a KU botanist about this native Midwestern plant, which has been harvested and used medicinally in the Great Plains for a long, long time.

Tom Schroeder / Kansas City Wildlands

It took bee expert Mike Arduser about seven months to discover all the bee species living in two small patches of nature preserve in Kansas City.

But with a net and a lot of patience, he found something unexpected: 89 different bee species – including two never before seen in Missouri – pollinating flowering plants.

The surprising diversity is good news for conservationists because many of the bees evolved to fill narrow niches and serve vital roles in pollinating specific native plants.

Gabriel Pollard / Flickr -- CC

An interview with KC CARE Clinic's Sally Neville, who spent more than 20 years caring for HIV/AIDS patients; when she retired this month, the program she ran was one of the most successful in the country.

In the past, scientists made a lot of assumptions about ferns and how they reproduce — these assumptions turned out to be false. A chat with the KU professor who is correcting the scientific record about ferns.

Plus, an encore presentation of the story of a family's Christmas tape from 1968.

Guests:

Charlotte Street Foundation

Rodolfo Marron is an artist who grew up in the 1990s, on Kansas City's West Side. It was a grittier place back then, he says. For an escape, he started creating characters who inspired him. Now, he draws on Kansas City stories and the materials that grow wild in backyards and along highways.

Guest:

file photo / Harvest Public Media

Near Alexander, Iowa, on a cloudy spring Tuesday, Josh Nelson watches a bright red Case IH Magnum tractor pull a 24-row planter and crest a small hill, dropping corn seed at careful intervals. Nelson says his family farm dodged a weather bullet this week, but it’s just one of many hurdles this season promises.

Courtesy Photo / Rhianna Weilert

We love grass in the United States. In fact, we've planted nearly 40 million acres of turf — along highways, in parks and in our home lawns. 

Turf grass isn't inherently bad, but the problem, according to the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, is that there is too much of it.

“It has virtually no value to native species of wildlife that live here,” volunteer project coordinator Kathy Gates told Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up to Date

Another downside? It’s expensive to maintain.

Plant Study

Mar 1, 2016

Sutherlandia is a legume that's native to South Africa, where it's used to treat numerous infections, including HIV/AIDS. The benefits and safety of this treatment haven't been explored through the lens of western science... until now. MU's Bill Folk is part of a team running clinical trials on the plant and its uses.

Guest:

Valentine's Day is approaching and many Americans will gift flowers to their partners as a romantic gesture. But when did roses become a symbol of romance, and what kind of sex lives have the flowers led before they wind up in a bouquet?

Guest:

Amanda Gehin / Missouri Department of Conservation

A hard freeze is bad for most flowers, but a patch of prairie in midtown Kansas City has seen so-called “frost flowers” in full bloom this winter.

Frost flowers aren’t really flowers at all. They are ribbons of ice twirling out from the stalks of some plants including the white crownbeard, a wildflower flower native to Missouri and Kansas.

Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

It’s Monday, around 9 o’clock, and the library is locked for the night.

Silently, Linda Zellmer appears on the other side of the glass door. She opens it and guides us up four dark floors towards a puddle of light.

“There it is,” she says, gazing down at the swollen bud of an orchid cactus. “It’s slowly opening.”

Zellmer perches on a stool behind her camera and waits in anticipation of the night’s big event: the moment when the bud opens.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

It's that time of year. Flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the sweet scent of honeysuckle wafts in the warm summer air.

Honeysuckle’s fragrance however, may be the only sweet thing about it. According to conservationists in Kansas and Missouri, Asian Bush Honeysuckle is the most visible and environmentally destabilizing invasive species in the metro area.

Larry Rizzo, a natural history biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, says that there is a difference between invasive and exotic species, and the two are not necessarily exclusive.