The Florae Team

A team of experts who use a state-of-the-art greenhouse and propagation lab to grow all sorts of cool plants.

Our team is growing! Check out our current job openings.

Nina Bassuk

Nina is a living legend of the plant world. Currently a professor and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University, she also is the co-author of Trees in the Urban Landscape, a text for landscape architects and horticultural practitioners on establishing trees in disturbed and urban landscapes.

Nina has authored over 100 papers focusing on the physiological problems of plants growing in urban environments, including improved plant selections for difficult sites, soil modification including the development of CU-Structural Soil and improved transplanting technology.

A native New Yorker, Nina is on the Technical Advisory Committee of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) and works closely with municipalities to help implement best practices in urban forestry management.

Nina helped to develop the Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) to inventory public trees in small communities. She is a frequent invited speaker at conferences and workshops and received the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowship from Cornell University.

At Florae, Nina oversees research, education, conservation, and propagation of rare woody ornamentals.

Nina Bassuk
Ryan Georgia
Ryan Georgia

Ryan Georgia

Ryan Georgia is one of the United State’s premier carnivorous plant growers. He is best known for founding Native Exotics, a carnivorous plant nursery focused on plants produced in tissue culture. Ryan grows top-notch, well acclimated plants and has contributed many unique hybrids to the hobby, including Nepenthes glandulifera x edwardsiana and Nepenthes (veitchii x lowii) x edwardsiana.

Ryan first started with carnivorous plants at age 12, when he was taken under the wing of Mary Alyce Kobler at Cornell University. His horticultural skills were honed at Boyce Thompson Research Institute, where he received carnivorous plant seed from the International Carnivorous Plant Society and learned how to propagate and cultivate these amazing plants. Over the years working with other Cornell staff and graduate students he learned how to propagate Nepenthes and other plants via plant micropropagation. After graduating high school, Ryan went on to study Environmental Studies at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Ryan and Nina met in 2018 and founded a lab at Cornell University researching the clonal fidelity of Quercus (commonly known as oak trees). After initial success, they decided to combine their forces (and plant knowledge) and to start Florae Collaborative.

Ryan is responsible for our tissue culture lab, greenhouse, and the cultivation and propagation of tropical plants.

Andrew Smith

Andrew is the operations guy. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Andrew is the gear-box that keeps Florae running smoothly. His experience in sales, international supplies chains, and eCommerce made him an ideal fit to help bring Nina and Ryan’s work to the public. He coordinates Florae’s shipping, customer service, sales, and operations.

Andrew Smith
Austin MIller
Austin MIller

Austin MIller

Austin is our go-to greenhouse and orchid guy.

Austin grows over 120 orchids in his personal collection, primarily his favorite genus Paphiopedilum (though he loves all tropicals). He studied biotechnology at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. A former employee of Marlow Orchids LLC, Austin has traveled to numerous shows along the northeast. He’s done a variety of public education on orchid culture and has designed award-winning orchid displays. His experience in plant sales, shipping, greenhouse growing, and knowledge of orchids make Austin a wonderful addition to the Florae team.

Austin on orchids: “They’re such a unique family of plants, full of awe-inspiring blooms that dazzle the eyes and exude a wide range of fragrances from pleasant to downright gross. All the while, they fascinate us with the sexual deception that can frustrate the insects pollinating them.”

Kallie Jones

Kallie is our tissue culture wizard 🧙‍♂️. Kallie’s background is in tissue culture research. In particular, she has worked on plant virology and the beneficial plant-microbe interactions in grasses. An alumna of the University of Missouri, she holds a Bachelors degree in Plant Breeding, Biology, and Biotechnology.

Outside of the flow hood, Kallie loves bonsai, knitting, and clogging. To see what Kallie’s been up to lately, check out our Clone Database!

Kallie Jones
Jane Brennan
Jane Brennan

Jane Brennan

Jane is Florae’s creative eye! We first discovered Jane through her blog Orrinia, which focuses on developing care instructions for beginner aroid enthusiasts. She developed her photography skills traveling to different plant shows, and is an aroid fanatic. She collects Anthurium, Monstera, and Alocasia nonstop, and her favorite plant is Anthurium clarinervium.

Jane is a current student at Ithaca College studying Cinema Production. Check out Jane’s recent work on our Instagram and Facebook.

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