On May 19, Dr. Fred Stauffer gave a public lecture titled, “Palms of Venezuela: Diversity, Ecology, and Conservation.”  Dr. Stauffer is Curator at Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland.  His lecture focused on the history, floristics, systematics, conservation, and potential uses of these palms, and also added an overview of the Jardín Botánico de Caracas, where a unique collection of palms was developed through decades of work by August Braun.  

Two hundred years ago Humboldt (German) and Bonpland (French) collected palms in the Venezuelan Amazon.  These collections are housed in European herbaria, with many lectotypes in the de Candolle Herbarium in Geneva. Dr. Stauffer carries this palm research tradition forward, and in addition to fieldwork and herbarium study, Dr. Stauffer makes extensive use of botanic garden living collections.  While at Montgomery this month, Dr. Stauffer dissected, studied and documented a great variety of palms in flower, remarking that the living collections here were a great resource for his research.   

Venezuela has over 15,000 known plant species and 261 families. With three distinct ecosystems—Caribbean, Guayanan, and Andean—Venezuela is especially rich in palm diversity, with 30 genera, 106 species, 1 subspecies, and 34 varieties.   

Dr. Fred Stauffer is the most recently named Kelly Research Fellow at MBC. The Kelly Foundation’s generous support of this program allows experts from around the world to make use of the MBC living collections for their scholarship, and to share their findings with the botanical community, students and the public through lectures. Please join MBC in thanking the Kelly Foundation for their support of plant research and education.