fruticans inflorescences at Montgomery Botanical Center
December 15, 2008
The Villagers Publish New
just came out with
their second cookbook, Cook It Like
A Native! , which showcases Montgomery Botanical Center in three
lovely photographs. The
Villagers have funded various restoration projects for Montgomery
Botanical Center’s 1930s buildings. The latest grant
funded helped restore the Arthur Montgomery Guest House.
In the 1937 sketch, the second image depicts the guesthouse. In
the sketch architect Robert Fitch Smith signs, “The happiest task I
have ever had”.
The Villagers new cookbook states, “At Montgomery Botanical
Center, former home of Robert Montgomery, founder of Fairchild Tropical
Garden, Villager grants funded the installation of air-conditioning
systems in the main house and restoration of the guesthouse.”
We thank the Villagers for their continued support in helping us
preserve and restore these two buildings while these buildings continue
to serve the vital mission and operations of Montgomery Botanical
December 12, 2008
Cal Welbourn and Patti
Anderson Visit MBC
to discuss Red Palm Mite and their Hosts
Dr. Cal Welbourn
and Dr. Patti
from the Division ofRaoiella indica in
Florida- One Year Later”. The red palm mite was first detected in
the United States in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on November 29,
2007. Since then, it has been spreading down through Broward and
Miami-Dade County. This pest of coconut and other palms appears
to be spreading very quickly. Cal stated, “at this point the best
control method is to simply refrain from
spraying pesticides. Allowing the red palm mite’s predators to
thrive may be the best method of control.”
and Patti are working on an interactive digital key, where mites and
their host plants can be identified through characteristics and images.
of palms in a
relatively small area to survey. Without going out of the country
there is not another place to go to survey all these palms in one
place”, said Cal.
Botanical Center is honored to have had the Division of Plant Industry
visit MBC to survey our collection. Collaborating with government
agencies to research palm pests benefits all South Florida Palm owners.
December 4, 2008
Russian scientists study MBC palm
from the Russian Academy
of Science and Moscow State University were recently hosted at
Montgomery Botanical Center while studying the living palm collections.
Dr. Mikhail Romanov, Dr. Alexy Bobrov, and two colleagues stayed in the
Arthur Montgomery Guest House and collected palm fruits for anatomy and
Dr. Romanov presented a lecture
type and putamen
structure in Borassoid palms
(Arecaceae-Coryphoideae), which was attended by a number of
plant Monocots IV in
Following the lecture, Dr. Romanov and his colleagues discussed
terminology and technique with the attendees. MBC Executive Director
Dr. Patrick Griffith stated, “I was very happy to have so many
anatomists here for the lecture; facilitating an informal discussion
between American and Russian experts helps advance our understanding of
While here, our colleagues from Russia highlighted the value of living
botanical collections, noting that developmental studies of this type
are made possible through well curated live collections.
December 1, 2008
Fall/Winter 2008 Montgomery
Newsletter Available Online
Botanical News Fall/Winter 2008 issue is now available
issue has an article by Larry
Noblick about exploring for new palm species in Brazil (see page
4) and an article by Montgomery Fellow Cristina Lopez-Gallego on her
research on tropical zamia in Colombia (see page 5) along with many
other articles on research, horticulture practices, and landscape
November 14, 2008
MBC International Fieldwork and
The Board of
Directors of MBC unanimously adopted the MBC International Fieldwork
and Collaboration Policy at the November Directors Meeting.
For decades, MBC has conducted international research and conservation
fieldwork in an ethical and collaborative manner, and has been a
leading institution in requiring rigorous permitting for plant material
added to the scientific collections. This policy document solidifies
and codifies the ethic that MBC operates under.
This policy was authored by Chad Husby and Patrick Griffith, and
unanimously adopted by the Directors on November 14, 2008.
November 10, 2008
Palmarum -- Landmark volume on Palms published
A copy of Genera Palmarum, the much
anticipated volume on palm evolution and classification was recently
gifted to Montgomery Botanical Center by the authors.
Genera Palmarum gives an
encyclopedic account of the 183 genera comprising the palm
family. The 2008 edition has the most up to date palm
classification based on phylogenetic research and is available from Royal
Botanic Gardens Kew or the International Palm Society.
Dr. Dransfield’s latest book, is co-authored with other prominent palm
researchers including Dr. Carl Lewis of Fairchild Tropical Botanic
Dr. John Dransfield of Kew and Dr. Natalie Uhl of Cornell have made
extensive use of MBC palm collections. The authors write:
“Throughout our work on palms, we have been given generous access to
the many of the best living collections in botanic gardens throughout
the world, allowing us to make direct observations of living palms and
to collect material for micromorphological and molecular studies. We
make special mention of the unparalleled facilities provided by the
Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC), Miami. From 1997, JD and NWU visited
Miami annually for seven years in a row, making ourselves at home in
the MBC guest house and making extensive use of the fantastic palm
collections at the MBC and the neighbouring Fairchild Tropical Botanic
Garden. We often received visits from the remaining coauthors and we
are left with many happy memories of those times, of the camaraderie
engendered by our meetings, and of the concentrated peace and quiet in
which we were able to discuss and develop ideas on palm morphology.”
includes many photographs taken during John’s time at MBC; Nypa fruticans, Zombia antillarum, Coccothrinax miraguama, and Cryosophila stauracantha are some
of the many MBC collections featured in the book.
October 23, 2008
Calonje gives talk on Zamia prasina at
Michael Calonje, cycad
Montgomery Botanical Center, gave a talk last Thursday titled,
"Searching for Zamia prasina
- A journey to remote sinkholes in the Maya Mountains of Belize".
Michael discussed his journey through Belize and the different and
distinct habitats of Zamia prasina
that he encountered.
for Tropical Studies visits Montgomery Botanical Center
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) recently
celebrated its 45th anniversary in South Florida. Montgomery
Botanical Center hosted a luncheon at Nell's House for the OTS Boards,
and gave a tour of the living plant collections.
is significant overlap between the missions of OTS and MBC. Tracy
Magellan and Michael Calonje of MBC have both conducted tropical
research at OTS facilities in Costa Rica. The Miami meeting of OTS was
coordinated by Christiane Tyson, MBC Honorary
Member. The Kampong, The
Gifford Arboretum, and
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden also
participated in the meeting. Montgomery Botanical Center looks
to continued advancement of tropical botany through collaboration with
OTS, headquartered at Duke University, is a non-profit international
consortium of universities and research institutes dedicated to
strengthening education, research and rational use of natural resources
in the tropics. Its member institutions are throughout the United
States, Latin America, South Africa and Australia.
October 15, 2008
Montgomery Botanical Center
collections prominently featured
Cédric Pollet spent two weeks at Montgomery Botanical
Center. During his time at MBC,
he took thirteen photos that were prominently featured in ten pages of
his new book, Écorces: Voyage dans
l’intimité des arbres du monde. Interesting and
unusual plant bark is the subject of the
A variety of MBC
collections were featured including Bursera
simaruba (Gumbo limbo), Sabal
mauritiformis, Roystonea regia
(Royal Palm), Coccothrinax argentata,
and Pseudobombax ellipticum
(photo). The book is an artistic piece that can be appreciated by
all. Published in French, each photograph is
also accompanied by
the plant’s scientific name. The photos show a high level of
detail of this often overlooked botanical feature.
Cedric’s ongoing projects can be seen at www.artsylva.com.
October 2, 2008
Lopez-Gallego: Population Biology of Cycads in Colombia
Montgomery Botanical Research Fellow Cristina Lopez-Gallego, from the
Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, recently gave a seminar on cycad
research in Colombia.
With many neotropical cycads (zamias included) critically endangered,
more information on cycad biology is needed to support cycad
conservation efforts. Cristina's research seeks to provide
data on population biology to develop informed conservation strategies
for cycads. She is working with the IUCN-SSC Cycad Specialist Group on
a network of cycad population monitoring programs to generate relevant
and high-quality biological information for conservation and for
evaluating potential management and use strategies.
There are few pristine habitats left in Colombia, due to the many areas
disturbed by agriculture and development. With only 40% of
worldwide being primary forest, that leaves over 60% of habitats
worldwide in a degraded state. Disturbed habitats are very
from primary forests; the high light conditions of the degraded lands
appear to be affecting the life history of zamias, essentially speeding
up their life history. Zamia
fairchildiana in disturbed habitats
quicker to put out new leaves and seed than their counterparts in
undisturbed forest lands. Cristina's research on Zamia
in Costa Rica suggests that environmental changes caused by habitat
degradation can considerably affect the life-history of
She is developing research to evaluate the effects of these
life-history changes on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of
cycad populations in Costa Rica and Colombia.
Cristina’s current research is being done in the heavily disturbed
Tropical Andes region as well as the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena
Colombia, both known biodiversity hotspots.
September 26, 2008
2008 Cycad Projects
led international cycad research efforts in Belize in August and
September of 2008. The expedition was conducted in two parts. The first
leg of the expedition, which was generously funded by Tim Gregory,
focused on Ceratozamia robusta. The second
portion, funded by the Association of Zoological Horticulture, surveyed
native Zamia prasina populations in
Belize, obtaining valuable phytogeographic, botanical, and demographic
The project represented direct collaboration between Montgomery
Botanical Center, Green Hills Botanical Collections, Belize,
Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Mexico, and local
Toledo District, Belize. Germplasm for ex situ
horticultural conservation was obtained, and voucher specimens were
deposited in Belize and in the United States.
September 20, 2008
Ellison visits MBC to
give a talk for the
Flowering Tree Society
Ellison, co-author of Cultivated
Palms of the World
and Australian horticulturist, gave a lecture on the flowering trees of
Australia and their potential for import to the United States.
The Tropical Flowering Tree Society and the South Florida Palm Society
attended the lecture. After discussing flowering trees, Don gave
a short presentation on a palm expedition just completed by Michael D.
Ferrero. Upon completion of the lecture, a tour of Montgomery
Botanical Center was given.
Botanical Center holds one of the most important tropical
palm collections in the world. A large number of rare palms and
flowering trees are grown on site. MBC is pleased to have hosted
another visit from an Internationally renowned expert -- Our interest
in international scientific collaborations has been historic and
persistent throughout our 49 years.
August 6, 2008
Dr. Alan Meerow
Presents Palm Research using MBC Collections
Dr. Alan Meerow,
Research Geneticist at Chapman Field (USDA-ARS-SHRS) gave a public
lecture at MBC on Wednesday, August 6, titled, Phylogeny of Cocoseae subtribe Attaleinae
(Areceaceae) based on eight WRKY transcription factor loci. Dr.
Meerow’s work involves a large number of specimens from the MBC palm
collections, including Syagrus,
Attalea, Butia, and related genera. Alan
spoke about how these palms are related, based on his innovative
DNA-based research. Dr. Larry Noblick, MBC Palm Biologist, is among the
coauthors on the study, which will be included in the Proceedings
of Monocots IV.
The Board of
Directors of MBC has recognized Dr. Meerow as an MBC Honorary Member
for his frequent collaboration and assistance with MBC’s botanical
research and horticulture. Alan has participated in joint expeditions
with the MBC Team, and advised and consulted on planting and scientific
collaboration has its roots in the colleagueship of Col. Robert
Montgomery and Dr. David Fairchild, and the plant collections they
founded at MBC and Chapman Field.
MBC looks forward to continued collaborative advances in botany.
August 1, 2008
MBC Study of Palm Evolution
and Hurricanes Published
study of how palms are affected by high winds was recently
published in Annals of Botany.
describes patterns of variation in palms' tolerance for high winds, and
natural selection for wind tolerance. An online
version of the study can be found on the Oxford Journals website.
The study provides
evidence that palms’ tolerance to high winds shows some variation
according to where they are native. Palms from the Caribbean are more
tolerant of hurricane force winds than South American palms, as the
Caribbean has seen frequent hurricanes for several millenia.
Beyond the scientific
findings, the study also shows one of the many ways in which live
conservation collections inform the plant sciences. The generous
support of the Kelly Foundation, through the Montgomery Botanical
Research Fellows Program, made this work possible.
July 31, 2008
Botanical at Botany 2008
Center’s research in palms and cycads was recently presented at Botany
2008, the annual conference of the Botanical Society of America and
other plant science associations. Dr. Patrick Griffith, Executive
Director, presented two talks at the meeting. Both research projects
were accomplished through collaboration with other botanic gardens.
The first talk, Ex
situ conservation efficacy: a study of Leucothrinax morrisii,
presented an assessment of MBC collections development protocols, using
new DNA data. This first DNA-based assessment of the Palm Collections
found that MBC protocols succeed in capturing significant genetic
diversity. This project was generously funded by the International Palm
Society, and the work was performed in partnership with Fairchild
Tropical Botanic Garden.
A second talk on cycad
phenology and phylogeny organized and investigated MBC collections
data in the context of how plants are related. This project represents
collaboration with The New York Botanical Garden, made possible by the
generous support of the Kelly Foundation.
This conference was
held in conjunction with The Canadian Botanical Association in
Vancouver, British Columbia, and had the theme of ‘Botany without
Borders.’ Montgomery Botanical’s broad international conservation
partnerships echo that theme.
July 23, 2008
presents lecture on Wollemi Pine and Nypa
Ian Cole, recent
M.Sc. Graduate in Phytochemistry at UBC, is in residence at MBC this
summer, studying Montgomery Botanical's Nypa collections. Ian is the
recipient of a 2008 Montgomery Fellowship for Early Career Botanists.
By using the live
scientific collections of Nypa at
MBC, Ian is able to bridge the areas of
ethnobotanical evidence and quantitative phytochemistry. While here,
presented a narrative of the recent introduction of Wollemi Pine into
North America, and basic research on Wollemia
"The Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis),
has been the subject of curiosity, fascination, delight and even some
ridicule ever since its discovery in 1994 and eventual release on the
open market. This tree is truly unique not only because it was
believed to be extinct and exist only in the fossil record, but also
because it is one of the first international projects to use
horticultural distribution of a plant to fund Conservation. In May
2008, an experimental Wollemi forest was planted in British Columbia,
Canada, to allow for realistic experimentation, and to answer many
questions of this species. Growing conditions in the field can be
greatly different than those within a botanical garden or arboretum."
Ian has been an MBC
Research Associate since 2006, and has frequently used the plant
collections here for his research. The Montgomery Fellows Program is
generously supported by the Kelly Foundation.
July 17, 2008
Dr. John Dowe,
Montgomery Botanical Research Fellow
Dr. John Dowe,
Montgomery Botanical Research Fellow, presented a lecture on the Palms
of the Wet Tropics Bioregion of Australia, on July 17.
Although Australia is
the driest continent on earth, with an average continent-wide rainfall
165 mm (6”), there are some areas that receive relatively large amounts
of rainfall annually because of topographical characteristics. These
areas are often biodiversity hotspots. The ‘Wet Tropics Bioregion’ is
situated on the north-east coast of Queensland, centred on 16° S
latitude, and the annual rainfall ranges from 1600 mm (63”) to 7000 mm
(276”). Although the WTB covers only 4.2% of Australia’s land surface
area, it contains about 17% of the continent’s floristic diversity.
Some 24 palms species occur in the WTB: of these 10 are endemic to the
Bioregion. Dr. Dowe's presentation discussed the biophysical factors
that control the environment in the WTB, and examined the
identification, distribution and ecology of the 24 palm species
Dr. Dowe is in
residence at MBC this summer, studying biogeographic variation in
palms, especially with regard to elevation, using MBC's database and
living collections. Dr. Dowe and Dr. Larry Noblick, MBC Palm
Biologist, also studied geographic variation in native Sabal palms.
Botanical Fellows Program encourages scientific and educational study
of MBC's palm and cycad collections, linking distinguished scientists
and their work with other scientists, educators, students, and the
community. The Montgomery Botanical Fellows Program is generously
supported by the Kelly Foundation.
June 27, 2008
Botanical Center at APGA 2008
Botanical Center (MBC) team participated in many aspects of the 2008
American Public Gardens Association (APGA) Conference in Pasadena,
Chad Husby organized
and spoke at a session on challenges in plant collection and exchange
for botanical gardens in the 21st century. This session also included
Professor Sabrina Safrin of Rutgers University School of Law, Dr. Jim
Folsom, Director of Gardens at The Huntington, and was moderated by Dr.
Patrick Griffith of MBC.
Jeff Shimonski, MBC
Honorary Member, was an invited speaker for a session titled: Doing the right thing: Sustainable
Practice as evidence of the mission.
Chad and Patrick also
represented MBC at the NAPCC members' forum. Montgomery Botanical's
Palm Collection and Cycad Collection were recently recognized
as nationally important collections by the NAPCC. Discussions of
multi-garden coordinated efforts at palm and cycad curation were held.
As a member of the
APGA's Program Selection Committee, Patrick also participated in
organizing the topics for the conference, and was also responsible for
moderating a multi-speaker session on advancement and development at
and collaboration within the botanic garden community is becoming more
apparent," stated Patrick. "The presentations by Chad and Jeff
demonstrate areas in which MBC has a leading role. The MBC mission is
based on plant collections, and MBC operations are based on
sustainability. Both are fundamental to botanic gardens."
Cycad Biologist Returns from Successful
Cycad Fieldwork and Conference in China
May 13 through May 29, Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) cycad
biologist, Michael Calonje, traveled extensively in China during a
cycad conservation conference and study tour organized by Willie and
Limei Tang. Michael visited and
studied native populations of Cycas
sexseminifera, C. ferruginea,
and C. debaoensis.
of his GIS expertise, Michael was called upon to assist in a GPS and
data-collecting survey of Cycas
debaoensis plants at the type locality. Using the data
collected, an accurate base
map will be prepared -- as part of a cycad conservation project -- to
aid the forestry department in managing the population.
presented Ex situ Cycad Conservation
at Montgomery Botanical Center at The International Symposium on Cycad
Conservation at Zhongkai University of Agriculture and
Engineering, Guangzhou, detailing the critical role MBC's ex situ conservation program plays
in preserving cycads. Zhongkai University, the IUCN Cycad
Specialist Group, the Cycad Society of China, Wutonshan Scenic Spot
Administrative Office, and Shenzhen Fairy Lake
Botanical Garden sponsored the symposium. Michael also gave the
presentation at Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden.
in China, Michael visited the South China Botanical Garden, Dighushan
Arboretum, the cycad garden at Qing Xiu Shan Park, and Shenzhen Fairy
Lake Botanical Garden.
this comprehensive trip, Michael met many Chinese cycad researchers and
students, building future collaborative opportunities.
April 29, 2008
Botanical Newsletter Available Online
expanded coverage of Montgomery Botanical Center's expeditions,
research, and conservation efforts, please see Montgomery
Botanical News Spring/Summer 2008.
April 26, 2008
Botanical Center Palm Material in National Arboretum Exhibit
Botanical Center contributed palm foliage and fruits to The U.S.
National Arboretum for use in their South
African Plants Used in Traditional Zulu Culture exhibit. The
Zulu use the dried leaves of Hyphaene
coriacea to weave baskets and watertight containers; its fruits
are used for carvings and jewelry.
Botanical's tradition of providing plant material for exhibits dates
back to the 1939 New York World's Fair, where much of the palm material
for Fairchild Tropical Garden's plant display was shipped from Colonel
Montgomery's Coconut Grove Palmetum. Tropical plant displays have long
been a curiosity in more temperate reaches and make an important
contribution to education.
April 23, 2008
Botanic Garden Edinburgh and MBC Collaboration Continues
Gardner, coordinator of the International Conifer Conservation
Programme (ICCP) of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) visited
Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) with RBGETorreya taxifolia
and Taxus floridana.
glasshouse supervisor Fiona
Inches. While here, they studied several native U.S. conifer habitats
in the southeast including Torreya State Park, home of the critically
visit was part of ongoing collaborative efforts among RBGE, MBC,
and Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) to further conservation of warm
climate conifers. Last October, Chad Husby, MBC collections manager,
and Ron Determann of ABG traveled to Edinburgh to exchange tropical
conifer propagating material. That project was funded by a USDA
Germplasm Exchange grant.
at MBC, Martin Gardner presented a seminar on the tropical conifer
conservation work of RBGE's International Conservation Programme. He
shared photos and information about the ICCP's efforts to improve the
conservation status of threatened conifers, including extensive work in
New Caledonia, Vietnam, and Chile.
April 18, 2008
Donald Hodel Studies Montgomery Botanical's Sabal Species
Donald Hodel, University of California, Davis, studied Montgomery
Botanical Center's (MBC) wild-collected Sabal species in an effort to help
identify the Sabal species
being cultivated in California.
at MBC, Dr. Hodel presented an update of his research on Pritchardia
distribution, ecology, and conservation status. He presented
illustrated profiles of 26 Pritchardia
April 15, 2008
Drummond Fund for Palm Conservation Grows
a very generous gift from Jeff Shimonski, the Paul Drummond Fund
continues to grow. Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) has earmarked this
fund for palm conservation work via expeditionary fieldwork to collect
palm germplasm. The Fund honors
the life and work of Paul Drummond, past president of the International
Palm Society and lifelong palm enthusiast. Mr.
Drummond passed away in September 2007; this recent gift was made in
remembrance of his birthday.
April 11, 2008
MBC Material Used in NSF
Sarah Matthews of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University,
along with postdoctoral fellows
Nagalingum and Dr.
collected samples from 80 taxa in MBC's tropical
conifer collection for DNA
analysis. This collection
constitutes a significant contribution to the
Gymnosperms on the Tree
of Life project, funded by the National
During her time at MBC, Dr. Matthews expressed her appreciation of the
great value of ex situ
for fundamental botanical research,
emphasizing that work such as the Tree of Life project would not be
feasible without such collections.
Matthews’ sampling follows another very large contribution to the
Gymnosperm Tree of Life by MBC's Cycad Collection, through the work of
Drs. Dennis Stevenson and Damon Little. MBC's Palm Collection is
slated to make a large contribution towards construction of the monocot
branch of the Tree of Life in the coming months.
March 27, 2008
Botanical Center Hosts Environmental Education Day
Botanical Center hosted students from John A. Ferguson Senior High
School as part of The Fairchild Challenge. Please see our Education
page for more on this Environmental Immersion Day.
March 20, 2008
Botanical Center Co-Sponsors 20th Gifford Arboretum Lecture
S. Denslow, research ecologist and team leader for the Institute of
Pacific Island Forestry, USDA Forest Service, presented Weeds in Paradise: Invasive Plants in the
Pacific Islands at the University of Miami. The 20th Gifford Arboretum
Lecture was part of the Coalition for Excellence in Tropical Botany
(CETroB) lecture series. Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) hosted Dr.
Denslow in the Arthur Montgomery Guesthouse.
Denslow's research on invasive plants is of great importance for
botanical conservation," states Dr. Patrick Griffith, MBC executive
director. "MBC recently completed a cycad
conservation expedition on
Guam and Rota and a palm
conservation expedition in the Hawaiian Archipelago -- invasive
species biology has a role in each of these Pacific Island conservation
Arboretum celebrated its restoration this year, with a special
rededication of the Arboretum collections following the extensive
recovery work required after the 2005 hurricane season. With funding
from the IMLS, John Cozza, Aldridge Curator at the Gifford Arboretum,
developed and implemented a new master plan designed to maximize the
educational and research use of the Arboretum collections.
March 15-16, 2008
Botanical Hosts South Florida Palm Society Sale
a second year, Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) hosted the South
Florida Palm Society's spring sale. Close to 30 vendors offered over
500 species and varieties of palms for sale during the weekend event.
Motorized tours of Montgomery Botanical's grounds were available for
visitors interested in learning about MBC's palm and cycad research
was pleased to, once again, host the South Florida Palm Society sale,"
said Dr. Patrick Griffith, MBC executive director. "We are also
grateful for SFPS's continuing support of our palm conservation work."
March 10, 2008
Botanical Completes Successful Cycad Conservation Expedition
Botanical Center's (MBC) cycad biologist, Michael Calonje, recently
returned from aex situ
conservation for Zamia fairchildiana
and Z. cunaria (pictured). Mr. Calonje conducted a month-long expedition to the
Wargandí provinces of Panama. Supported by MBC's Zane B.
Carothers Memorial Fund, the expedition helped advance phytogeographic
collaboration with the University of Panama and the Kuna indigenous
communities of Wargandí Province helped accomplish expedition
objectives. Michael Calonje worked closely with Dr. Alberto Taylor,
cycad researcher at the University of Panama and Montgomery Botanical
total of 733 seeds representing five species and 27 accessions of
cycads and palms were collected. For additional expedition information,
please see this report.
March 4, 2008
& Caicos National Trust Visits MBC
leadership of the Turks &
Caicos National Trust is being hosted at Montgomery Botanical
Center (MBC) this week. Ethlyn Gibbs, executive director, and Bryan
Naqqi Manco, senior conservation officer, are in south Florida
following an international meeting on Pine Rockland conservation.
at MBC, Ethlyn and Bryan met with the MBC staff to plan future
collaborative conservation projects focusing on palms native to the
Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI). Comprised of many islands, rocks, and
keys, TCI encompasses some of the largest uninhabited islands in the
Caribbean. The Turks & Caicos National Trust seeks to safeguard the
natural, historical, and cultural heritage of the Turks & Caicos
Islands. Through collaboration with MBC, ex situ conservation collections
can help advance this mission.
February 20, 2008
Andrew Henderson Presents New Palm Discoveries at Montgomery Botanical
Andrew Henderson, curator at the Institute for Systematic Botany at The
New York Botanical Garden, has recently returned from a five-month
field survey of palm diversity in Vietnam. While studying at Montgomery
Botanical Center (MBC) this week, Dr. Henderson presented a seminar on
the palm diversity of Vietnam based on this fieldwork.
in collaboration with Dr. Ninh Khac Ban of The Institute of Ecology and
Biological Resources, Dr. Henderson collected palm specimens from
throughout Vietnam. The survey sought to also investigate the
sustainability of rattan harvesting activities in Vietnam. This
fieldwork discovered a great number of palm species new to science.
large volume of new botanical discoveries from Dr. Henderson's
fieldwork highlights the continuing ongoing need for basic
phytogeographic research in many areas of the world. There remains a
great deal of plant diversity yet to be described.
Henderson is a longtime collaborator of MBC, having spent several
summers here performing detailed morphological studies. He is author of
several books on the palm family, including Evolution
and Ecology of Palms, and A
Field Guide to the
Palms of the Americas.
February 14, 2008
Pritchardia Conservation Project
research and conservation project involving Montgomery Botanical Center
and National Tropical Botanical Garden recently obtained specimens and
data for conservation and research. The project focused on native Pritchardia populations. Pritchardia comprises some of the
most imperiled palm species in the world.
Bacon recently returned from her 30-day Pritchardia
conservation expedition in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Christine is a
doctoral candidate at Colorado State University, McBryde Graduate
Fellow of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and Montgomery
Botanical Research Associate.
generous funding from The Thomas S. Kenan Foundation, Inc., and
logistical support from National Tropical Botanical Garden, Christine
was able to conduct research at 11 field sites across five islands. The
expedition resulted in valuable ex
situ material of Pritchardia
for Montgomery Botanical's palm collections.
a detailed account of the project, please see this report.
January 19, 2008
Botanical at Cycad 2008
2008, the triennial scientific conference for cycad biology, was held
in Panama City, Panama, January 12-18. Hosted by Universidad de
Panamá (UP), Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) was honored to
co-sponsor this important meeting in collaboration with other important
research institutes and botanic gardens including The New York
Botanical Garden (NYBG) and The Smithsonian Tropical Research
Institute. The meeting also bridged the scientific and enthusiast
communities through the participation of The Cycad Society.
Alberto Taylor, professor at UP, MBC research fellow, and conference
chair, organized the conference and all related functions. Montgomery
Botanical was well-represented among the diverse scientific and
horticultural findings presented at the conference. Michael Calonje,
MBC cycad biologist, presented a poster on his very recent
phytogeographic research, highlighting new field data obtained in the
days before the conference. Dr. Patrick Griffith, MBC executive
director, gave a talk on MBC phenological data, coauthored by Dr. Damon
Little and Dr. Dennis Stevenson of NYBG, with Michael Calonje and Chad
Husby, MBC collections manager and botanist.
more information regarding MBC's participation in Cycad 2008, please
see this report.
January 10, 2008
Cycad Scientist, Dr. John Donaldson, Visits MBC
John Donaldson, chief director of conservation science at the South
African National Biodiversity Institute, visited Montgomery Botanical
Center (MBC) with his graduate student, Terence Suinyuy. While here,
John and Terence discussed future research and conservation
collaborations with MBC, and photographed the Encephalartos collections.
a presentation, Pictures From The
Edge, Dr. Donaldson shared his project photographing cycads --
some of which are now extinct -- "to inspire an appreciation of wild
plants in wild places". Wild
Portraits is a limited edition of prints from that project
which supports cycad conservation; the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group
receives a portion of the profits.
Aronson, a longtime volunteer and friend of MBC, has very generously
donated a complete set of those nine cycad prints to MBC. Montgomery
Botanical plans to display the cycad portraits in the Nixon Smiley
Meeting Room upon completion of the Room's renovation.
was very excited to bring Larry [Aronson] and John [Donaldson] together
for this presentation," stated Dr. Patrick Griffith, MBC executive
director. "Larry has been an incredibly dedicated volunteer here, and
the prints he gifted to MBC are wonderful. Having John describe these
beautiful prints in person was a unique opportunity."
January 8, 2008
Authority, Dr. David J. de Laubenfels, Studies
David J. de Laubenfels, a renowned authority on conifers of the
Southern Hemisphere and professor emeritus at
studied the cycad and tropical conifer collections at Montgomery
Botanical Center (MBC). Dr. de Laubenfels has described 100
species of conifers and is also an authority on the genus Cycas.
with Chad Husby, MBC collections manager and botanist, Dr. de
Laubenfels helped with identifying MBC's conifers and species
within the genus Cycas. While
here, Dr. de Laubenfels presented The
Southern Hemisphere Conifers.
the photo at left, Dr. de Laubenfels at MBC with Araucaria laubenfelsii, a species
named after him which has been growing in MBC's collection for 20
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016