Throughout our run of Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx, we’re sharing glimpses into the natural world that informed Burle Marx’s love of plants and the landscapes that he traveled through in his home country and beyond, discovering new plants and working to protect those under threat of deforestation, development, and more. He called these journeys his viagens de coleta, or “collection trips.”
Sitio Roberto Burle Marx, the eponymously named home of the iconic Brazilian landscape architect, was a haven of native Brazilian plants, from tropical bromeliads and philodendrons to orchids, legume trees, and more—many that he discovered himself. Discover just a few of the Brazilian specimens from the NYBG Herbarium that called the Sitio home, some even named for Burle Marx, in the latest from The Hand Lens.
From the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden to our Steere Herbarium, Rosa ‘Home Run’ transitions between two forms of beauty. Swipe through to see the preserved form of this vivid red rose, as well as other roses from among the 7.8 million cataloged specimens in our Herbarium which have a profound influence on our understanding of biodiversity, as we approach the spectacle of the Rose Garden’s peak spring bloom in 2019.
Dolly Parton isn’t the only public figure to have a new species of lichen named after her by NYBG scientists. Following precedent in naming discoveries after incredible American women, we can now add Oprah Winfrey to the list.
It’s around this time of year that we often think about family, and keeping traditions alive. Michael Balick, Vice President for Botanical Science and Director of the Institute of Economic Botany, talks about maintaining longstanding family traditions using ethnobotany, collaboration, and chewing on ginseng with scientist and podcaster Toshiki Nakashige on The Scientist Podcast.
Jessica L. Allen is completing her Ph.D. at the Commodore Matthew Perry Graduate Studies Program at The New York Botanical Garden. James C. Lendemer, Ph.D., is an Assistant Curator in the Institute of Systematic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden. Lichens are their primary research interest.
In a previous post, we reported on the discovery of an overlooked biodiversity hotspot located in the vast coastal swamps of eastern North Carolina. While the area was already renowned for its wildness, we discovered that it hosts more lichen species than anywhere else in the Mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, the factors that likely preserved the wilderness into the present day—endless low-lying swamps are difficult to drain and log—mean that it is now imperiled by rising sea levels associated with climate change. In an area where the elevation is measures in inches, minute increases in sea level mean the difference between old-growth, lichen-rich forests and marshes or open water where lichens cannot survive.
Deep in the Haupt Conservatory‘s upland rain forest house stands an unassuming tree with a rich history—one that involves one of the most significant medical discoveries of the last century. From the forests of South America to the ships of the British Navy, and even your favorite cocktail, the cinchona’s been making waves for decades.
Find out more about this eminently useful tree in our latest series, NYBG Facts!
This past November, some of the most influential botanists and conservationists in modern science gathered together for The New York Botanical Garden’s 123rd Annual Meeting, joining CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President Gregory Long and the NYBG’s Board Members for a recap of the past year’s successes—as well as the Garden’s plans to come. But top billing during this event went to a person who has not only served as an integral member of the NYBG Board since 1986, but proven an enormously significant figure in global ecology initiatives and conservation efforts.
For many, the highlight of the evening was Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., who received the NYBG’s Gold Medal—our highest honor—for his accomplishments within and dedication to biodiversity and plant science.
Annie Virnig is no stranger to tackling formidable challenges. Whether she’s hiking through the dense tropical forests of Colombia in search of rare plant species, noting her findings in the laboratory, or blocking a header on the soccer field, she employs the same diligence and problem-solving tactics to ensure the best possible result.
As a grad student at NYBG, Virnig’s work focuses on the neotropical blueberries that so often cause a stir in our Haupt Conservatory. The exotic shapes and colors of the Conservatory’s collection are only a small sample of their incredible diversity in South America, where the wealth of species goes well beyond the common blueberries, cranberries, and huckleberries that we associate with this plant tribe in the U.S. Zoning in on the historic and cultural uses of these plants, as well as the antioxidants and other health benefits provided by them, Virnig has found herself drawn to the town of El Queremal in Colombia, where an eponymous flower has captured imaginations for centuries.
Whether it’s a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle or the phylogenetic reconstruction of the Carex laxiflorae complex, Jenna Dorey has a knack for piecing things together. Her work as a first-year Ph.D. student here at the Garden takes her through long stretches spent poring over morphology and molecular data, yet each piece of information is, like a jumble of shaped cut-outs, only a series of tenons and mortises waiting to be made whole. And from the field to the lab, this student rarely backs down from a good challenge.
We spoke with Dorey in late fall about her work in the NYBG labs, and the botanical inspirations that push her to continue her studies in the plant world. Among them, she tells us the love of a good frolic in a verdant field sits high on the list (though stomping around on a spongy moor with a vasculum in tow has a charm all its own).