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MBCs Palm Collection Today

 
   
 

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Although the largest, most visible, and most mature palm specimens at Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) are still those from Colonel Montgomery’s original collection, they make up less than 3 percent of the total number of palm specimens at MBC. As of MBC's 2006 inventory, there were 2,356 accessions of palms in the nursery and the grounds, representing 428 taxa from 63 countries. In the grounds collection there were 5,233 palm specimens representing 1,803 accessions and 358 taxa. Approximately 73 percent of the palm grounds collection is wild collected and another 2 percent can be traced to wild-collected parents. So, 75 percent of the collection is either directly or indirectly from the wild, making Montgomery Botanical Center's living palm collection one of the most scientifically valuable collections in the United States today -- and valuable for scientific research.

Most of these trees came from nurseries and were planted in 1932. On the left is Phoenix canariensis; behind it are two Phoenix reclinata; in the center is a Chinese fan palm, Livistona chinensis; to the right is Attalea butyracea; and on the extreme right is Caryota mitis. In 1933, Dr. David Fairchild collected this particular Attalea butyracea from a garden in Trinidad. The mother plant was reported to have come from Brazil.

Nypa fruticans are thought to be the most primitive of the palms. Dr. P. B. Tomlinson, a recognized authority on palm anatomy and morphology, collected these from Malaysia in 1982.

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The Arthur Montgomery Guesthouse is available for scientists conducting research at Montgomery Botanical Center. MBC's collections development department is available to support scientific research with current maps of the property and an extensive database of information on the collections. MBC can offer security for the scientist to mount long-term experiments with the confidence that experiments will not be disturbed.

The quality of MBC’s palm collection is becoming internationally known, and scientists are recognizing the benefits of working at MBC. The collections have been studied by such internationally-known palm scientists as Dr. John Dransfield (Royal Botanic Garden, Kew), Dr. Natalie Uhl (Cornell University), Dr. Andrew Henderson (New York Botanical Garden), Dr. William Baker (RBG Kew), Dr. P. Barry Tomlinson (Harvard University), Dr. Jack Fisher, and Dr. Scott Zona (Florida International University). Those scientists have consulted the material at MBC as a basis for revising reference books on palms, morphological and anatomical studies, physiological studies, growth and development studies, and DNA work.

Montgomery Botanical Center encourages and promotes all research on its collections and continues to build the scientific quality of its palm collection.

For more photos of palm in the Lowland Palmetum, click here.
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