Blogs & Videos: Plants

Four dried corn cobs that are shades of purple, orange, and brown

The Amazing Journey of Maize

Alaka Wali is a Curator of North American Anthropology. In 1621, the Wampanoag Indians and the colonists of Plymouth shared a feast that, today, is widely viewed as the very first Thanksgiving in the colonies of America. This three-day long fall festival celebrated their bountiful harvest and an alliance that would last for over 50 years. With modern traditions of turkeys, parades, and pies, we often lose sight of the true story of those early encounters between the Native peoples and the Mayflower settlers.

Black and white photo of a man with a mustache, next to a dried plant specimen

The Mystery of a Forgotten Botanist and a Rare Frog

Part of a Field Museum scientist’s work is continuing to uncover new things about specimens that were collected a long time ago, adding new information that enhances our understanding of the natural world. When one Field Museum collections manager started asking questions about a small frog he was studying, he didn’t suspect it would lead down such a winding road.

Campaigning for CHANGE! Don't be Shallow - Vote for Mallow

In our last video we got to see one of the rarest flowers in the world blooming in its habitat for the first time in over a decade. It's the Kankakee mallow (Iliamna remota), under threat of extirpation and completely unique to Illinois... and we want to make it the official state flower! Field outreach coordinator Robb Telfer kicked off the campaign and we're TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS. It's an election year, after all. 

This flower only grows in the wild on a single tiny island... in Illinois.

The Kankakee Mallow (Iliamna remota) is a special little flower. The only place in the world it's found in the wild is on a single small island in the middle of the Kankakee River in Illinois - but until last year, it hadn't been seen in over a decade, and was feared to be extinct. Thanks to volunteer efforts, we got to be some of the first to see it back in bloom!

Aerial view of dense green treetops

A big step in the 300-year quest to find every tree species in the Amazon

How many different kinds of trees grow in the Amazon? This may sound like an impossible question to answer—we’re talking about the most biodiverse rainforest on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of different plants and animals live there, with more being discovered every year.

Group of people posing next to river

Hitting the Pavement to Save Endangered Plants

What if a rare plant is living right in your backyard? Well, it just might be. But how do you find out it’s there, and what can you do with that information? Right now, some local endangered plant species are making a surprise comeback. They grow in the Calumet region, which includes the southern part of Chicago and northern Indiana. Two kinds of sedge, a grass-like flowering plant, recently set down roots on a field of slag. This hard material comes from making steel and is usually seen as toxic to nature.  

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