Saint Louis is undoubtedly the destination for plant science research. Proof of this is, in part, evident from the first ever Joint Fall Symposium "From Darwin to Borlaug" which included talks at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Missouri Botanical Garden (October 8-10). This symposium included an impressive array of lectures from scientists from St. Louis and across the U.S, find a list of speakers here. These talks gave me some great exposure to plant evolution and its translation to crop improvement in a world looking to double agricultural productivity by 2030.
Consider that only 30 agricultural species provide us with about 95% of our food, and yet throughout human history, about 7,000 species have been utilized for food. About 120 species (out of ~20,000 medicinal plants) are utilized for modern pharmaceuticals. These disparities should highlight the sense of urgency which must be commanded in order to preserve and understand Earth's plant biodiversity.