MBC Plant Exploration Fund

Vital Support for Plant Exploration!
Advancing Botanical Discovery

Montgomery Botanical Center is excited to support research, conservation, and study of plants from tropical habitats possible worldwide. Generous funding from Dr. Lin Lougheed and others makes these efforts possible through the MBC Plant Exploration Fund. This newly dedicated fund advances plant science and exploration efforts for Montgomery and its partners—and connects Montgomery to emerging plant researchers and garden leaders internationally.

Already, the MBC Plant Exploration Fund has led to the discovery of new species, greater understanding of wild plants, and more effective conservation of threatened palms and cycads, by linking Montgomery experts with our international botanical colleagues. Below, please see some of the recent advances made possible through this fund.

As the Fund’s founder, Dr. Lougheed will give a matching gift of $100,000 to encourage others who believe in the irreplaceable value of plants to contribute to the Fund. As an author, explorer and language expert, Dr. Lougheed sees great value in these collaborative efforts. He states: “You can’t help endangered animals and plants without preserving and conserving their habitat.  All things depend on plants.”

We look forward to many more discoveries!

Photo of Lin Lougheed, center holding Explorers Club flag, with American and Madagascar team.

Lin Lougheed, center holding Explorers Club flag, with American and Madagascar team, August 2006.

In its first year, the Plant Exploration Fund already fielded 12 projects in 8 countries on 4 continents, supported 9 students from 6 universities, described 2 new species, and published 3 scientific studies—a tremendous reach!  See below for some exciting examples.

Please join our search for new discoveries—please consider giving to the Plant Exploration Fund. 

Every gift of every amount is doubled through the matching gift from Dr. Lougheed—your $20 gift means $40 for the Fund, your $100 will increase the fund by $200, and so on. Let’s meet Lin’s challenge to raise $200,000! 

Plant Exploration Fund
Montgomery Botanical Center

Play a vital role in providing a world-class international scientific collection for research, study, and conservation.

Plant Exploration Fund
Montgomery Botanical Center


Support Montgomery Botanical Center’s commitment to developing educational and scientifically-valuable tropical plant collections with a tax-deductible donation of:

Personal Info

Billing Details

Donation Total: $500.00

In order to make an offline donation we ask that you please follow these instructions:

  1. Make a check payable to “Montgomery Botanical Center
  2. On the memo line of the check, please indicate that the check is a donation to the Plant Exploration Fund.
  3. Fill out this online form, or print and complete the printable PDF form located here.
  4. Please mail your check and printed form to:
    Montgomery Botanical Center
    11901 Old Cutler Rd
    Coral Gables, FL 33156

All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged and are tax deductible.

Thank you to all who have contributed and had their generous gift matched:

Lin Lougheed

Tim Gregory

Charles & Dorothy Sacher

Faith Bishock

Steve Pearson

Sallye Jude

Walter Haynes

Tom S. Kenan III

Lynn Leverett & Lane Park

John Popenoe

Michael Dosmann

Dale Kammerlohr

Mike Harris

David Martin

Elvis Cruz

Ethan Johnson

Debra DeMarco

Lazaro Priegues

Mary-Randolph Ballinger

Sam Schmerler

Marta Magellan

Marlin Ebbert

Don Evans

Judy Shaw

Don Hemmes

Michael Katz

Linda Talbott

Alan Curtis

Dolly MacIntyre

Charles Beck

Gregory Hood

B.B. Gould

Lynn Savits

Remote Amazonian Palms

Joanna’s studies of Attalea palms showed how these towering giants respond to deforestation, which changes how they flower. The Plant Exploration Fund sent Joanna to Acre, Brazil to further these studies of palm flowering and its relationship to conservation. 

New Palmetto Species


This palm only thrives in remote corners of Curacao and Bonaire, and is new to science as of 2017. The Plant Exploration Fund sent Patrick Griffith to work with local botanist John De Frietas to determine its natural history. In addition, the Fund allowed Montgomery’s Peter R. and Stuart Y. Jennings Intern, Imena Valdes, to work with a team of Dutch students to survey these rare plants, resulting in a scientific paper on palm conservation.

New Zamia species from Brazil

Dedicated fieldwork and study by Rosane Segalla and Michael Calonje discovered this new species in remote Western Brazil. This international collaboration of students and experts also provided a detailed conservation assessment of the new species.

Tree Conservation

Montgomery is leading a Federally-funded, multi-national effort to determine the best ways to conserve trees in a garden environment. This advancement would not be possible without field-collected DNA samples from wild populations of Cacheito Palm, from a remote plateau in the Dominican Republic. The Plants Exploration Fund recently sent Xavier Gratacos and Patrick Griffith to work with expert botanists Teodoro Clase and Pedro Toribio.

Colombian Cycads


Great advances in understanding Zamia are being made in Colombia, due to the efforts of Dr. Cristina Lopez-Gallego, Michael Calonje and the Colombian Cycad Society. Exploration of new habitats, monitoring of imperiled populations, and careful study of biology and morphology are producing many new findings.

Australian Cycad Conservation

Experts from the California Academy of Sciences and Montgomery worked together to study the conservation genetics of Australian Cycas, taking the team to remote areas of Queensland. Aerial survey — by drone and helicopter — helped to locate and inventory these living treasures. 

Palm Studies in Casamance

Montgomery joined in a scientific mission with Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques Genève, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, and Les Eax et Forets Sengalais to document and conserve the palms of Casamance, Senegal. New data, important herbarium specimens, novel living collections, important ethnobotanical findings, and student training resulted from this international collaboration. 

Chiapan and Oaxacan Cycads

Miguel Angel Perez-Farrera, a longtime colleague of Montgomery, invited Michael Calonje to collaborate on studies of cycads in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Extensive fieldwork resulted in morphometric data, specimens, and an updated confirmation of the conservation status of these threatened species. 

New Advances in Conservation Horticulture

Yarey, a threatened palm of Hispaniola, requires better understanding of the best germination media in order to improve protective cultivation. The Plant exploration Fund allowed careful seed collections which were used in experiments to gain this knowledge – resulting a featured article in HortTechnology. This scientific advancement was a collaboration between Jardin Botanico Nacional Rafael Moscoso, Montgomery and Fairchild.

Please see our Fieldwork page for more examples of Montgomery’s Plant Exploration work.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!