Two cycad experts from Mexico were recently hosted by Montgomery Botanical Center. Dr. Andrew Vovides, Montgomery Botanical Research Fellow (1989) from Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, and Dr. Miguel Angel Perez-Farrera from the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Mexico reviewed the cycad collections, planned collaborative research, and presented their current work.

Dr. Vovides presented a lecture titled, “New Cycad Research in Mexico:Advances in Taxonomy, Biogeography, and Molecular Barcoding.”  Dr. Perez-Farrera presented a lecture on the Ceratozamia robusta complex: taxonomy and systematics. The lectures were heard by visitors from many research institutions. Biologists from Florida International University, the Florida Division of Plant Industry, Gemini Gardens, the USDA, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and The University of Utah attended the reception and lecture.

A leading cycad researcher in Mexico, Dr. Andrew Vovides established the Jardin Botanico Francisco Javier Clavijeroand the Mexican National Cycad Collection, one of the world’s most important cycad conservation collections. Dr. Vovides and Dr. Perez-Farrera are longtime collaborators with MBC, going back over 20 years. Most recently, Dr. Perez-Farrera worked with MBC’s Michael Calonje on 2008 fieldwork in Belize.

The important work by Dr. Vovides and Dr. Perez-Farrera is an excellent example of the merging of research, conservation, and education, and mirrors our mission here at MBC. MBC thanks the Kelly Foundation for supporting the Montgomery Botanical Research Fellows Program, which brings cycad and palm experts to MBC to advance joint research.