Abstracts of Oral Presentations
Lodge Smith

The life and work of the Swedish botanist
Erik Leonard Ekman.


Roger E. Lundin
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, S-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden

The Swedish botanist Erik Leonard Ekman was born in Stockholm in 1883 and raised in Jonkoping. He took his bachelorís degree at the University of Lund in 1907 and shortly after that he went to Argentina for three months collecting in Misiones. He started as amanuensis at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm in 1908 and continued working there with a few interruptions for degrees at the University of Lund. After his Ph.D. examination in 1914 in Lund he went on the third Regnellian expedition to collect plants in Brazil for two years. He was ordered, though, to make a stop in Cuba and Hispaniola for nine months to collect plants for Prof. Ignatz Urban in Berlin and his project, Symbolea Antillanae. Due to various circumstances, he remained in the Caribbean for 17 years, until 1931, when he died in the Dominican republic at the age of 47. Ekman contributed to the knowledge of the Caribbean flora more than any other previous scientist had done. He discovered more than 2000 species new to science and that was during a period when the flora of the Caribbean was considered to be well known. His collections are still very actively used in research on the Caribbean flora. He collected around 36,000 numbers, which with duplicates amounts to more than 150,000 specimens. Ekman also made some geographical discoveries, he drew new maps over the mountains of Haiti and he discovered the highest peak in the Caribbean, now named Pico Duarte, with a height of 3175 m above sea level in the Cordillera Central in the Dominican Republic. Seven genera and dozens of species have been named after Ekman. A biographical work on Ekman is ongoing (authors: Thomas A. Zanoni, NY & Roger Lundin, S). The biography will deal with Ekman as a person as well as his work, accompanying botanists in the field, his excursions, and his diaries. The bibliography will contain all Ekman's publications between 1909 and 1931 as well as all publications based on his collected plant material