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Tree advocate Casey Clapp and his tree-curious friend Alex Crowson bring you a podcast about trees and other related topics. History, culture, art, religion, science... trees affect and are affected by everything. Join Casey and Alex on their silly and educational journey to prove it.
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Tangent Quest

Jeff, Hayden, and Andrew

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The podcast about podcasts. Jeff, Hayden, and Andrew, 3 long time friends and podcast lovers discuss a new podcast every episode, while tangentially tangenting into their other interests.
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After living a life of stem for the last 7 weeks, we need a break! So this week, you get a bonus episode: what is a leaf? In this episode from 2021 we discuss what a leaf is, how they grow, and some defining characteristics. To coincide with this bonus episode, we are expanding our CONE CLUB to include our very first--you guessed it--LEAF! The Bur …
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A grass so interesting it earned a spot on Completely Arbortrary, giant dragon bamboo (Dendrocalamus sinicus) is a stunningly large species with no shortage of interesting quirks. But… is it a tree, or does it look on enviously. Listen now to the exciting conclusion of Seven Deadly Stems! Then, listen for a segment of Trail Snacks, where we eat som…
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Pride, the downfall of many an ancient Greek hero, is the subject of today’s Deadly Stem. As is the Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra). How did this underwhelming tree become a regional icon? Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrar…
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An oft-reviled tree, the Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is the quintissential greedy little bastard. Its invasiveness is infamous, and the disappointments it presents are seemingly endless. Then we answer a listener question about “Stumpy”! Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and beco…
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Are you sensitive? Do you show aggression when you're afraid or perceiving some sort of attack? Do you have a mercenary army of ants at your disposal to dispact at the first sign of aggression against you? Then you might just be a bullhorn acacia (Vachellia cornigera). Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Sup…
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The common fig (Ficus carica): one of humanity’s first food obsessions. From covering Adam’s junk to covering other Eve’s junk, this plant has no shortage of cultural import. But does it deserve the valor it’s flaunted for hundreds of years? Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Tr…
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*Yawn*. The weeping willow (Salix babylonica) is one of the most recognized trees in the world, but boy is it lazy! Learn about the questionable roots (ha) of this tree and what makes it such a beautiful mess. Then we answer a question from 12-year-old Gus! Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod…
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We are honored to be joined by author, illustrator, and overall bird-and-tree-advocate DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY! We talk to David about his process, whether he's an artist first or a bird lover first, and have him describe a bird perpetrator to us as we sketch from his description! To hear and see the full discussion later this week, become a Treemium Me…
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The Coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica) is the most sexual tree on the planet, and we’re out to prove it. Listen to find out how this lusty tree is the perfect example of this deadly stem in this, our first episode of 7 Deadly Stems. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-…
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Do you inherit strong muscles, deft fingers, or musical talent? Jean-Baptiste Lamarck sure thought so… and groundbreaking research suggests he may have been right! One of the central characters of this study is this week’s tree, the snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support…
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Feeling rusty? The western serviceberry sure is (Amelanchier alnifolia). In this episode, we discuss the russ(t) and how it affects our arboreal friends. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find addition…
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The pondero—we mean, the Rocky Mountain Pine (Pinus scopulorum) asks us the ultimate version of the question: are you a lumper or a splitter? Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find additional reading o…
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There is a shakeup in the bird world: ornithologists are renaming every bird whose common name is based on a human! So why can't we do this for trees? We can, and do, in this bonus episode unlocked from our support platform Completely Arbortrary Treemium! Become a Treemium member today and unlock a treasure trove of cool rewards at arbortrarypod.su…
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Everyone gets S.A.D. from time to time, so it's a good thing we have the witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia), a tree (or shrub) that flowers in the darkest, dreariest months of the year. It's going to be okay. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on I…
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Welcome to Completely Arbortrary, you’re gonna LEARRRRN all about the Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa). On this episode as diverse in “fun facts” as the jungle is in species, we talk all about the Brazil nut (seed). Stay tuned for talk all about this fascinating species and the work going into preserving it and its home. Featuring Rhett and Daniel…
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Oh this juniper is ever so western (Juniperus occidentalis). When it comes to ecological turmoil, when is it okay to blame a tree, and when should we blame ourselves? That’s the question we ask ourselves today with this “Greedy” tree. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium …
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Meet Phyllis Reynolds: original Portland Heritage Tree committee member, author of Trees of Greater Portland, and overall hardcore tree advocate. We sat down with Phyllis in the living room of her beautiful NW Portland home on the outskirts of Hoyt Arboretum, where she is a local legend and her name is spoken with mirthful reverence. To hear the fu…
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Fancy a game of conkers? No? Well how about a conversation about the ins and outs of arboriculture, and how it relates to the European horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)? Hear Casey’s first-hand experience regarding how to become an arborist, and what an arborist actually is! Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex …
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A tree with no (officiall common) name, the Falcatifolium taxoides is a derivative tree from the island of New Caledonia. It’s yew-ish, it’s sickle-like, and it’s a PODOCARP. Plus, it has a curious leech of a friend who depends on it for everything—the world’s only parasitic gymnosperm. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp an…
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It’s time for that special talk… about the rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) and its special friend and lover the Kākāpō. This bird bases its entire existence around this tree, and the feelings just may be mutual. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Ins…
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PODOCARPS! Never have we ever discussed one of its ilk, much to the chagrin of thousands, we’re sure. And to start our mini-series of New Zealand trees, today we present the Totara (Podocarpus totara). With its curious leaf-like-needle-like-leaves, this conifer is so good at pretending to be a broadleaf tree, it’s practically become one. Completely…
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Have you ever seen a column of gold (orange)? It may just be an oyamel (Abies religiosa), the sacred fir. Every year countless Monarch butterflies pilgrimage to the mountains of Mexico to spend their winter months clinging to these trees, but why? (Spoiler: we don't know.) See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notic…
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Can we interest you in a forest bath? On the series finale of Treeyazaki, we discuss Princess Mononoke and the hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa). A tree ripe with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and rich tradition such as forest bathing, this tree is a quintisential Japanese conifer. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp…
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What does a nuclear disaster do to trees? Find out on this episode of Treeyazaki, where we discuss the Miyazaki film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and the Japanese fir. Toxic jungles, giant bugs, and feudal politics. This movie was made for us. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and bec…
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Who is Totoro? They’re a spirit, a kami, of a massive camphor tree. In this episode of Treeyazaki, we talk legendary animated film My Neighbor Totoro and one of its central characters, the camphor (Cinnamomum camphora). We also talk about animism and its role in every culture around the entire world. Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Fol…
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Welcome to Completely Arbortrary’s Treeyazaki, a month-long exploration of the trees of Studio Ghibli and films of Hayao Miyazaki! To start our journey, we visit a bathhouse for spirits in Spirited Away. This is a story about a young girl who finds herself trapped in the spirit world, and must escape with the help of a river spirit. This episode we…
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Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find additional reading on our website Cover art by Jillian Barthold Music by Aves and The Mini-Vandals See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.…
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In this BONUS EPISODE of Completely Arbortrary, hear the first trailer for our new December theme month: TREEYAZAKI, a month-long exploration of the trees of Studio Ghibli and the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Also, stick around for a big announcement about the way you support Completely Arbortrary. Then, listen to some cutting room floor audio from thr…
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PRESERVATION! Join us for a conversation on preservation, John Muir, and the incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find additional reading on our website Cover art by …
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CONSERVATION! What is it? And how does it differ from preservation? Have you been using them interchangeably too? Well, no longer! In this episode, we discuss the Oregon myrtle (Umbellularia californica), and its relationship to conservation, and conservation’s relationship to the first Gifford Pinchot. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted …
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With great distaste we present to you the Norway maple (Acer platanoides). This suburbanite tree of many faces is very popular, which might be the best thing we can say about it. But we have many good things to say about diversity. In every facet of life, diversity makes us stronger… and trees are no different! Let’s also define invasiveness and he…
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We’re poppin’ bottles on this very corky episode of Completely Arbortrary. Learn all about the cork oak (Quercus suber) and the dehesas of Spain and Portugal. These agrosilvopastoral lands are a marvel of sustainability and industry, and a beautiful template for letting nature lead the way. Also, stick around for some exciting BOOK NEWS from Casey!…
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“A great tree, that is kind of grey!” The ghost pine (Pinus sabiniana) is one of earth’s most spookiest trees, and chock full of curiosities in almost every category of its being. FUN FACTS! Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbort…
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It lurks in the dark, and it sees the darkness…. The honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), like most trees, has a stick sense. How does it perceive the world? It all starts in the dark. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary …
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A million year old forest, the Laurisilva of Madeira are stunning ecosystems trapped in time and untouched by humanity. At the center of this forest is the Canary Island Laurel (Prunus lusitanica). Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find…
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Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find additional reading on our website Cover art by Jillian Barthold Music by Aves and The Mini-Vandals See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California …
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What was the “happiest place on Earth” before it was Disneyland? And what is it before that? We go back in time today to explore the dark history of the changes of this land from indigenous river people to farmland to massive theme park, and the one tree that survived it all, the Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis). Completely Arbortrary …
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Sweet Neem! That’s right, today we’re talking all things Curry Leaf Tree (Murraya koenigii), and all things curry! This Indian tree is one of the most important trees in India, and one of the most delicious. You may even learn a little something about “curry”. Then, we answer a question about kelp! Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Ca…
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The Margosa (Azadirachta indica) is one of the world’s most magical trees. Why? It’s in the oil! We call it neem oil, and its benefits have been lauded for centuries, for humans and plants alike. And join us for a discussion on Ayurveda, a traditional medicine system from India. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex C…
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What does it mean to be “extinct in the wild”? Just ask the Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha), who lives it existence only in arboretums and gardens. But it wasn’t always like this…. Then, we answer a question about TREE LAW. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Fo…
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A curious and very special relationship exists between the Sourwood (and its family) and the fungus that feeds it. Find out all about this ancient pact, and hear us wretch and spit our way through a very sour segment of Trail Snacks. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium M…
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Bees go to trees and get pollen on their knees. That tree is very likely a Silver linden (Tilia tomentosa). On this episode, we talk about bees. Unlike the last episode in which we talked about bees, this one has a happy ending. Plus, learn about Honeydew honey (just don’t think about it too much before you eat it). To hear Casey’s “Save The Bees” …
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One of the world’s loneliest and most critically endangered trees, the Sahara cypress (Cupressus dupreziana) stands nearly alone in the dead center of the mindblowingly vast Sahara desert in northern Africa. With only a handful of these trees left, we ask the question… what in the world is going on with these curious reproducers. Completely Arbortr…
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When does a tree that seems to be able to provide so much good become a tree that is reviled for causing so much harm? Today’s subject is the beach sheoak (Casuarina equisetifolia) a tree that is loved and loathed by many, including the Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) of Keewaydin Island, where some well-meaning locals caused harm to the local…
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Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Casey Clapp and Alex Crowson Support the pod and become a Treemium Member Follow along on Instagram Find Arbortrary merch on our store Find additional reading on our website Cover art by Jillian Barthold Music by Aves and The Mini-Vandals See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California …
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The tree under which The Buddha sat and reached enlightenment, the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) is one of the world’s most iconic trees. As an ending to our Summer Vacation series, we trip to Sri Lanka where we visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Hear our uneducated takes on Buddhism, and a reminder about what dark waspy rituals go on inside your favori…
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The Baobab! One of Africa’s most storied and mythological trees, the baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) is one tall, thicc mother. Learn about how this tree is the camel of the arboreal world, listen to the myths associated with its topsy-turvy appearance, and learn about one of the best places to view them, Madagascar’s Avenue of the Baobabs. Complete…
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This week we head to Sierra Leone and take a look at their famous kapok, the Cotton Tree of Freetown (Ceiba pentandra). The kapok is a tree that has had uses for humans for thousands of years, but the Cotton Tree of Freetown was far more than just a useful tree representing the spirit of a nation. Completely Arbortrary is produced and hosted by Cas…
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We’re going on a Summer Vacation! First stop, Oaxaca, Mexico, to visit the sacred and legendary Árbol del Tule (Montezuma cypress, Taxodium mucronatum). This glorious and massive tree sits squarely in a church courtyard, and has found its way into the zeitgeist of Oaxacan culture. With a sordid taxonomic past, this tree tells a tall tale. But is it…
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What makes a tree popular? What keeps a tree popular? Ask the Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), whose commercial popularity has lasted decades with no sign of slowing down. The “Norm” to plant nurseries’ Cheers, this spruce is a common character from corporate courtyards to suburban yards. Plus, we ask the question: will this tree’s popularity …
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