Dr. Andrew Vovides of the Instituto de Ecologia, A.C., Xalapa, México—and México’s leading cycad researcher—visited Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) to advance the collaborative cycad research in progress between the two institutions.

While at MBC, Dr. Vovides presented two public lectures in Montgomery Botanical Center’s Nixon Smiley Meeting Room. The focus of Dr. Vovides’ lecture on November 27, 2006, was the phylogeny of Dioon. Dr. Vovides used Montgomery Botanical’s Dioon collections in this study.

On November 28, 2006, Dr. Vovides spoke about Education in Botanic Gardens: Sustainable Management of Mexican Cycads in Rural Nurseries. The Jardín Botánico Francisco Javier Clavijero started this program in response to the illegal removal of cycads from the wild and the destruction of cycad habitat in México. Through this initiative, local farmers participate in cycad reforestation and reintroduction projects. As part of the program, the farmers receive hands-on horticultural training about growing cycads from seed. This cycad conservation through propagation program has achieved some successes—the farmers, who have seen its economic value, have accepted it, and other communities are following suit.

Dr. Vovides acknowledged the importance of botanical collections, highlighting the accomplishments of botanic gardens in both south Florida and México. Montgomery Botanical Center’s mission is to advance research, conservation, and education through its scientific plant collections. Montgomery Botanical Center educates the community about its scientific and conservation work through lectures, seminars, and workshops focusing on its palm and cycad collections. MBC is open by appointment to students, educators, scientists, historians, botanical groups, and all others interested in scientific plant collections.