Sugar, Sex, and Poison: Understanding the Vital Powers of Plants

William Cullina, Executive Director, Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

March 2019

Celebrated author and botanist Bill Cullina explains how plant life is central to the functioning of our ecosystems, starting with their capacity to photosynthesize and power the entire food chain. He explores plants' relationships with fauna and fungi, including their incredible array of defenses for deterring herbivores as well as their sophisticated animal partnerships that enable pollination and seed dispersal. Included is a discussion of soil relationships that is especially illuminating.

William Cullina is the author of many great books about native plants, including the well-known trio: Growing and Propagating Wildflowers; Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines; and Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses. In the summer of 2019 he became the Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania. When he gave this lecture he was the Executive Director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where he led a significant expansion. Previously, he was the head propagator and the Director of Horticultural Research for the New England Wild Flower Society.