News and Highlights
Botany Seminar Series
The NMNH Department of Botany seminar series features guest speakers presenting their current research. Topics range from taxonomy, evolution, and systematics to plant ecology and conservation biology. All seminars are held on Thursdays at 2pm Eastern (unless otherwise noted). If you are interested in receiving notices of upcoming seminars and web links to the virtual presentations, subscribe to the Botany Seminar email list by sending your name, affiliation, and email address to Gary Krupnick.
No seminars are currently scheduled.
20thSmithsonian Botanical Symposium: Exploring Plants in the Neotropics
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) will host the 20th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “New Horizons in the Study of Neotropical Floras,” on 19 May 2023.
The tropical regions of America—the Neotropics—have long intrigued explorers and scientists who sought to study, catalog, and explain their incredible biodiversity, which includes more than 100,000 plant species. The origins, evolution, and even species composition of the Neotropical flora are far from understood and are the subject of active research in the face of ongoing habitat loss and climate change. The 20th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium will feature current research on the natural history, geographic diversity, evolution, and conservation of plants in the Neotropics. Speakers will include scientists who explore this incredible flora and contribute to our understanding of how and why there are so many plant species in tropical America.
In addition, the 20th José Cuatrecasas Medal for Excellence in Tropical Botany will be awarded at the Symposium to an international scholar who has contributed significantly to advancing the field of tropical botany. The award is named in honor of Dr. José Cuatrecasas, a pioneering botanist who spent many years working in the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian and devoted his career to plant exploration and taxonomy in tropical South America.
The Symposium will be in a hybrid format with both online and in-person attendance. The talks will be held at NMNH in Washington DC, and an evening reception and poster session will take place at USBG. The event is free; there is no registration fee to attend the Symposium. We request all attendees, both in-person and virtual, to register.
For more information, please visit the Symposium webpage.
The Department of Botany is happy to announce that the US Herbarium is completely digitized as of May 2022. The seven year effort to digitize the herbarium through a digitization conveyor system has resulted in 3.8 new specimen images, 2.8 new label transcriptions, and over 80,000 new taxonomic names added to the data catalog.
Women Support Staff of the United States National Herbarium
Women have a significant presence in museum work most notably in illustration, research assistance, and collection management. More recently collections work has expanded to include digitization, outreach, administration, and library and information resourcing, as well as fulfilling everyday department tasks.
Women of the United States National Herbarium
Historically, botany has been one of the few attainable fields in science for women, most commonly in the areas of scientific illustration and field collection (assisting male botanists who oftentimes were their husbands). In the US National Herbarium, women have figured prominently. Here we spotlight many of our best from past and present.
Plants Are Cool Too!
Chris Martine's series "Plants are Cool Too" presents a behind the scenes in Kauai to look at how the National Tropical Botanical Garden is leading the charge to save rare plants and protect tropical biodiversity. In a second episode, a group of passionate plant people are working to save some of the rarest plants on the archipelago -- and tell us why we need a new generation of biodiversity lovers to help battle the extinction crisis. Our own Warren Wagner is spotlighted in this series.
Newsletter -- The Plant Press is the quarterly newsletter from the Department of Botany and the U.S. National Herbarium. The purpose of The Plant Press is to provide information about the activities of the Department. Included are articles about staff research and travel, visitors, new publications, and plant conservation highlights.