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Collections-based research at MBC



Montgomery Botanical Center is dedicated
to advancing science through living plant collections.

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MBC Research Pages:

Montgomery Botanical Center is a living research resource. MBC’s primary visitors are botanists, particularly those who study palms and cycads. MBC also serves entomologists, geologists, and scientists in many other disciplines.

Specializing in living plant research collections, MBC maintains: genetically diverse population samples of wild-collected palms and cycads; thorough documentation of each plant; the ability to manipulate plants as required by research protocols; security and protection for the study plants over the length of a project; and on-site accommodations on a space-available basis.

Montgomery Botanical Center’s population-based collections strive to represent the full morphologic and genetic diversity within a species, throughout its known native geographic range. Internationally, MBC is considered a leading garden with respect to the amount and accessibility of documentation associated with plants in the living collections.

Research material from MBC’s collections is often shipped to researchers off-site.

Dr. David de Laubenfels of New York, tropical conifer expert, studied MBC's conifer collection in January 2008 and helped us get verified ID's on some specimens in the collection.

Dr. Christopher Quinn, a conifer expert from Australia, came to Montgomery Botanical Center with Dr. Barry Tomlinson to study the conifer collection.

Andrew Filonenenko  from the Main Botanical Garden Department of Dendrology at the Russian Academy of Sciences photographing palm fruit at MBC.

Helen Ma from Angelica Cibrian's lab at New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) collecting Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii for DNA study.

Dr. Bijan Dehgan (University of Florida), shown here on the right, examined a maturing, hand-pollinated, female cone of Microcycas calocoma with Seedbank Volunteer Larry Kraus. Dr. Dehgan is photographing MBC’s Cycad Collection for a series of horticultural cycad articles he is writing.

Dr. Andrew Henderson (New York Botanical Garden) undertook a three-year project examining the growth and development of young palm plants.

Drs. Charles O’Brien and Peter Kovarik (Florida A&M University) collected weevils from our palm collection for their pollination studies on palms. They also collected and identified all insects within MBC’s natural areas.

Dr. Andrew Vovides (Xalapa Botanic Garden, Mexico) photographed MBC’s cycad collection for a compact disc called   Cycads: The Endangered Living Fossils. The CD is used for educational and conservation purposes in Mexican schools.

Dr. Paul Cox of the Institute for Ethnomedicine and Dr. Tom Croat of Missouri Botanical Garden visited MBC in 2007 to collect material from our Cycas micronesica collections. With the ongoing conservation crisis in the wild populations of C. micronesica, these plants at MBC are vital for research.

Dr. Charles Burandt, Jr. (University of Mississippi) collected numerous plant specimens from MBC’s lakes for pharmacological research.

Scientists and students from the New York Botanical Garden spent several days at MBC collecting plant material for NYBG’s Institute of Economic Botany. They harvested fresh material to take back to their laboratory for chemical compound extraction.

Bernd Kornmaier (University of Bayreuth, Germany) spent a month at MBC studying the Florida Atala butterfly. Bernd examined how the endangered butterfly uses compounds from its primary food plant, the native Florida cycad, Zamia pumila, for courtship. Bernd constructed a screened cage over a collection of cycads to undertake his research.

Dr. Jack Fisher (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden), shown here with several Florida International University students, and Dr. Jayachandran (Florida International University), undertook a detailed study of the root system of a native stand at Montgomery of saw palmetto palms (Serenoa repens).

Dr. John Dransfield (RBG Kew, England) and Dr. Natalie Uhl (Cornell University) have been examining specific features and characters within MBC’s palm collection annually for several years for their studies on the evolutionary relationship among palm genera.

Dr. Ed Kennely and Nam-Cheol Kim (University of Illinois) spent a week at MBC collecting leaf material from Abrus precatorius. Along with their colleague, Dr. Douglas Kinghorn, they have found that A. precatorius contains a compound 150 times sweeter than sugar but very low in calories.


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