The Secret Life of Plants
Play • 25 min

How do you capture the image of a 150-foot-tall tree in the middle of a dense rainforest? If you’re National Geographic Explorer Nirupa Rao, you pull out your paints. Rao draws from the centuries-old practice of botanical illustration to catalog and celebrate native plant life of the southern Indian rainforest, introducing new audiences to the wonders they hold.

For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard.

Want more?

This Earth Day, celebrate our planet’s beautiful, remote, and at-risk locations—and meet the explorers protecting them—at natgeo.com.

See Nirupa’s illustrations on Instagram, @niruparao. And check out her books Hidden Kingdom and Pillars of Life.

“Sky islands” in the Western Ghats host an almost unbelievable array of microclimates—and a chance for scientists to see evolution in action.

King cobras, which live in the Western Ghats, can "stand up" and look a full-grown person in the eye. Fortunately, they avoid humans whenever possible.

Also explore:

Rainforests have an unsung hero that keeps the forest healthy and functional: termites. Also, National Geographic’s resident artist, Fernando Baptista, brings stories to life by sculpting clay models, then using them for a drawing or stop-motion film.

If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.

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