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Roundtable Addresses Native Plants in Landscape


The life history and mysteries of Central New York’s native flowering plants and ferns will be explored during a Community Roundtable on Thursday, April 7, at SUNY Cortland.

The panelists will include Steven Broyles, a SUNY Cortland professor of biological sciences, and Daniel Segal, owner of The Plantsmen Nursery in Lansing, N.Y.

They will discuss “Native by Nature: The Ecology and Aesthetics of Native Plants in the Landscape” from 8-9 a.m. in the College’s Park Center Hall of Fame Room. Refreshments will be served at 7:45 a.m.

Sponsored by the President’s Office and the College’s Center for Educational Exchange (CEE), the Community Roundtable is free and open to the public.

The broad extremes of Central New York’s climate are a predicament for native plants. Native plants adapt to these conditions with beauty, which makes them fascinating to learn about and can be a simple solution to many ordinary landscaping situations.

With countless photos of native plants used in environmentally friendly landscaping, the discussion will investigate why using native plants is kinder to the environment, how native plants can better attract and support wildlife and how native plants require relatively no upkeep.

“We need biodiversity in our landscapes,” said Broyles. “Native plants help support the environment around them. These beautiful plants adapt easily to their native landscapes.”

Broyles earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

The professor, who specializes in botany and field biology, has taught courses in Biological Science, Field Biology and Field Natural History. Utilizing a wide variety of field and laboratory techniques, Broyles’ research involves examining the patterns of hybridization and introgression in milkweeds, patterns of postglacial migration in temperate forest herbs and pollination and reproductive biology of flowering plants.

A frequent lecturer, Broyles used his research to contribute to many different reference books.

The owner of The Plantsmen Nursery since March 2006, Segal has been engaged in horticulture, landscaping and botany for the last 18 years throughout the U.S. His background using native plants for environmental landscaping and restoration, plus his experience collecting and propagating thousands of species of plants, makes The Plantsmen Nursery somewhat unique, and brings a new style of horticulture to the area.

Segal’s presentations feature all original photos and ideas.

“My presentations are part horticulture, part ecology and part emotion, with insight into our sustainable nursery production and practices,” he said.                 

The Community Roundtable series provides programs on diverse intellectual, regional and cultural topics of interest to College faculty and staff and community members. Each roundtable is held on the first Thursday of the month. Parking in the Park Center lot is open to the public during the roundtables.

For more information, contact the CEE at (607) 753-4214 or visit