Smithsonian.com

What's on your botanical bucket list?


From rare orchids to grizzled desert
plants, experts weigh in on which flora
they most want to see before they die.
Which species do other botany fans
want to stalk like celebrities or witness
like world landmarks?

Nature

Writer and E​ditor

The Washington Post

Pete the parrot is getting a prosthetic foot, then he has to learn to live with it


Pete cocked his head and fixed his sharp eyes on the people 
​gathered to watch him. The blue-crowned mealy Amazon parrot gave no indication on this late August day that he knew something remarkable was happening. 

​​​​​​​​​​The Washington Post

Meet Challenger, a bald eagle whose soaring skills are in high demand


The first big cheer at Lincoln Financial Field occurred when the Philadelphia Eagles ran onto the field. The second roar came during “The Star-Spangled Banner” — when an actual eagle swooped around the stadium.
Pet360

Cloned puppies push the boundaries
​of science and love


Laura Jacques couldn’t imagine life without her beloved dog, Dylan. Although she didn’t set out to clone her dog, the $100,000 price tag was worth what turned out to be a harrowing ordeal.
Quartz

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash the tarantula:
​Why new species are named after celebrities


When scientists discovered a new species of black tarantula living near Folsom State Prison in Folsom, Calif., the name they chose made complete sense: Aphonopelma johnnycashi. It's far from the first or last species named after someone famous.
The Washington Post

A new job for the power company:
​Feeding giraffes


Some humans consider mulberry trees
little more than oversize weeds, but Stella
the giraffe loves them. Utility companies 
routinely trim trees to keep branches 
from damaging power lines and a
growing number are are donating the 
collected trimmings to zoos. 
The Washington Post

People built a whole island to protect the 
​rarest of rare creatures—an albino orangutan


Alba is one of the rarest creatures
on earth: She’s the only known
albino member of a dwindling
population of Borneo orangutans.
She is such a target that humans
are taking unprecedented measures
to keep her safe.
The New York Times

How to Save Phallic Flowers

From Being Inbred to Extinction

To save endangered plant species,
horticulturalists are using a tactic
they’ve borrowed from horse breeders
and zookeepers, building breeding
registries or “studbooks” to avoid
inbreeding. Naturally, they’re starting
with a plant with a Latin name that
means “large misshapen penis.”