Science on Screen® – Wednesday, March 20 at 7pm – “KILLER PLANTS!”

A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.

Director: Frank Oz
Writers: Howard Ashman (screenplay by), Howard Ashman (based on the musical play “Little Shop of Horrors”)
Stars: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia


“Killer Plants” will feature Dr. Fay-Wei Li of the Boyce Thompson Institute, as he introduces some of Earth’s killer plants, covering the evolution of toxicity and even predatory behavior in a variety of flora.

Dr. Fay-Wei Li is interested in the evolutionary processes at the gene, genome and microbiome levels that shaped plant diversity. His lab primarily focuses on “seed-free” plants (ferns, lycophytes and bryophytes), and anything that has an unusual biology.

Fay-Wei joined the Boyce Thompson Institute as an Assistant Professor in 2017. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Biology Section, at Cornell University. Fay-Wei’s engaging hands- on presentations have been highlights of events in the local community, including Judy’s Day and Sciencenter After Dark: Wicked Plants.

In 2018, Fay-Wei was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study hornwort/bacteria symbiosis. The hornwort plant relies on nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria to give it life, and unlocking the secrets of that process may help reduce agricultural dependence on synthetic fertilizer.

While at Duke University, Fay-Wei was part of a team that discovered a new genus of ferns, which they named after Lady Gaga, leading to national media coverage. You can learn more about Fay-Wei and his lab’s work by clicking here.

Science on Screen® is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre. With major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.