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Let's talk about
plant sex

Prepare to blush in this episode of Branch Out as we explore the unusual, ingenious and sometimes even deceptive ways plants are gettin' it on for the survival of their species. 

More than just the birds and the bees

Plant sex is real, it’s happening all around us, and it’s not just up to the birds and the bees. Our flowering flora have honed a whole range of different reproduction processes over hundreds of millions of years to pass on their genes - and some of them, are just down right amazing. 

In this slightly raunchy episode of Branch Out, you'll also hear about the incredible scientific efforts to make sure some of our most endangered plants, like orchids, can keep gettin' it on. Hit play below to take a deep dive into the fascinating world of plant reproduction with this awesome line up of experts:

  • Dr Herve Sauquet - Systematic Botanist from the Australian Institute of Botanical Science based at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Dr Zoe-Joy Newby - Research Scientist from the Australian Institute of Botanical Science based at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan​
  • Gavin Phillips - Seedbank Officer from the Australian Institute of Botanical Science based at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
Flowering plants dominate the flora kingdom and a lot of them, like this "Princess Louise" poppy, have both male and female sexual organs. 
A basic diagram of a flower's sexual anatomy showing the different male and female organs.
Reproductive organs of a hibiscus flower, the yellow stamens (male) and the red pistils (female).
Bucket orchids are a great example of coevolution and mutualism. These orchids have evolved with orchid bees and both depend on each other for reproduction. 
Chiloglottis trapeziformis is an orchid native to Australia. It produces a chemical that attracts male wasps by mimicking the female pheromone of a female wasp. It even looks like a female wasp!
Some orchids are so tiny, and tiny orchids, means tiny seeds. Some of them are like grains of dust and are very difficult to collect by seed collectors for conservation purposes. 

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Between episodes, head over to our science page to learn more about how world leading scientists are developing solutions to the world’s most critical environmental and biodiversity issues.