The Plant Detective
11:19 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Farewell Flora Delaterre

Intrepid phytomedicinal investigator, Flora Delaterre has decided to retire. "The Plant Detective" will have its last on-air broadcast on MTPR on December 28, 2013.  But the program will live on via podcasts and on demand archives.  Read more from Flora below. 

Hello Montana Public Radio listeners!  As I’ve said for the past eighteen years, “I’m Flora Delaterre, Plant Detective. Drawn by the mystery of medicinal plants, and their alarming disappearance, I decided to investigate.”  Now, I've decided to retire.

Nineteen years ago, University of Montana Pharmacy professor Rustem Medora heard a show about herbs and spices on Montana Public Radio, and thought there should be one like it on his area of expertise, medicinal plants. He contacted MTPR station manager Terry Conrad, who contacted Beth Judy, producer of the other show, who searched for me and invited me to come to Missoula. Little did we know our little show would turn into a long-term gig.

Over twenty years, we built a show with original theme music composed first by Scott Billideau, then Charles Nichols; worked on each script with Dr. Medora, Mark Blumenthal, Robyn Klein, Botanical Medicine professors and clinicians at Bastyr University in Seattle, Tai Sophia Institute in Maryland, and the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, plus local editors too numerous to name; recorded with Terry, William Marcus, and for many years, my good friend Beth Anne Austein; plotted national distribution with Linda Talbott; and watched the show go national twice, once to 25 other stations, later, with marketing support, to 120 (also in Canada and the Philippines!). An initial grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists followed by sponsorships from Genuine Scooters and Frontier Herbs made the show largely self-supporting financially. Another grant helped MTPR adopt podcasting technology, starting with “The Plant Detective.”

The only problem was, I could never get too far from a microphone. Listeners know I broadcast from perches around the world, but eventually a microphone does feel like a chain. My sights are set farther, higher, and deeper—on places where, evidence suggests, new plants with astounding compounds await, where I might want to linger with no regard for time.   

You can still hear “Plant Detective” by subscribing to podcasts at mtpr.org. Or, listen on demand on my website, www.floradelaterre.com. All 273 shows are there. 

Beth Judy, writer and producer of "The Plant Detective" and voice of Flora Delaterre.
Credit Todd Goodrich

It was your positive response to our show years ago that made western Montana a center nationwide of public education about medicinal plants. Thank you from the bottom of my own heart, and from the very root tips of all my plant friends! May the plants be with you! May you never stop treating them right, because (by now I hope you’re convinced) some day they might be treating you!  

Love and good health, Flora