Exploring the science of plants, from the field to the lab

Matt Newman

Dr. Douglas Daly on the Ground in Rondônia, Brazil: Day 3

Posted in From the Field on September 27, 2019 by Matt Newman

The Amazon Rain Forest still holds many mysteries for botanists. Dr. Douglas Daly and his Brazilian collaborators are in the Jacundá National Forest of Brazil’s Rondônia state to collect plant specimens and investigate the extent of damage from recent fires. Today’s efforts uncovered a species of tree that Dr. Daly and his team had never seen before, and could even be new to science. Follow along with Dr. Daly’s ongoing expedition here.

Brazil’s Mata Atlântica

Posted in Environment on July 2, 2019 by Matt Newman

Photo of the Mata Atlantica in Brazil

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.”

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The Specimens of Sitio Roberto Burle Marx

Posted in Interesting Plant Stories on June 11, 2019 by Matt Newman

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.

Ctenanthe burle-marxii

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Roses of the Herbarium

Posted in Interesting Plant Stories on May 31, 2019 by Matt Newman

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.

Rosa
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Michael Balick on The Scientist Podcast

Posted in Applied Science on December 27, 2018 by Matt Newman

Photo of Michael Balick

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.

Give it a listen!

Transplants: Saving the Denizens of a Threatened Coastal Ecosystem

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2017 by Matt Newman

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.


Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Wetlands and dunes in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (Photo by Dr. James Lendemer)
Lichen transplant methods use a variety of artificial surfaces
Lichen transplant methods use a variety of artificial surfaces

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.

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NYBG Facts: Cinchona

Posted in Videos and Lectures on January 6, 2017 by Matt Newman

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!

Emerald Planet: Honoring the Work of Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy

Posted in Personalities in Science on December 24, 2014 by Matt Newman

Left to Right: Gregory Long, Lewis Cullman, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., E.O. Wilson, Ph.D., Sir Ghillean Prance FRS VMH, Patricia Holmgren, Ph.D., Noel Holmgren, Ph.D., and Ed Bass at the 123rd Annual Meeting.
Left to Right: Gregory Long, Lewis Cullman, Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., E.O. Wilson, Ph.D., Sir Ghillean Prance FRS VMH, Patricia Holmgren, Ph.D., Noel Holmgren, Ph.D., and Ed Bass at the 123rd Annual Meeting.

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.

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NYBG Grad Students: Annie Virnig

Posted in NYBG Grad Students on July 17, 2014 by Matt Newman

Annie VirnigAnnie 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.

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