An exciting study underway at Montgomery! James Clugston, Kelly Botanical Research Fellow, and recent MSc Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants Graduate from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, is here to examine cycad leaf surfaces using advanced techniques.

James, pictured here at the University of Miami Center for Advanced Microscopy, is working with the Montgomery plant collections to survey the diversity in cycad leaf surfaces, and determine if the leaf cuticles of Dioon can be used for identification. This builds upon James’ recent similar work with Podocarpus for his Masters Thesis. James states: “I believe that leaf cuticles are an important character in cycads that could ultimately help as a tool to delimitate species.”

Furthermore, the study is being performed in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Vovides of the Jardin Botanico Francisco Clavijero(Xalapa Mexico), a longtime collaborator of MBC. James will travel to Dr. Vovides’s lab later this fall to share his results.

James’s work at Montgomery is generously supported by the Kelly Botanical Research Fellows Program, which is generously funded by the Kelly Foundation.