Hospital officials zeroed in on Thujopsis dolabrata as the culprit…


It’s safe to say that the Chicago Botanic Garden fields quite a few plant and gardening questions every day. The garden, located in Glencoe, is home to an amazing 2.6 million living species of plants, from chyrsanthemums to corpse flowers.

Recently, though, staff at the gardens got a more urgent request. On the Chicago Botanic Garden’s blog, employee Boyce Tankersley recounts the tale of a very sick young girl in a Denver hospital who desperately needed help controlling a life-threatening allergic reaction. She had been flown in from Japan to National Jewish Health in Denver and doctors were attempting to figure out what was causing her symptoms.

When hospital officials zeroed in on an ornamental cypress called Thujopsis dolabrata as the culprit, they knew they’d need help obtaining samples to find the specific variety causing the problem. They began the search with help from the Denver Botanic Gardens, but they were unable to provide the samples necessary.