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.
21st Smithsonian Botanical Symposium: Exploring Conservation Horticulture
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany, the United States Botanic Garden, and Smithsonian Gardens will hold the 21st Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Advancing Plant Conservation Through Horticulture,” on 17 May 2024.
The focus of the Symposium will be on conservation horticulture, the application of the technical knowledge and practical expertise of growing plants (horticulture) for the advancement of plant conservation. Conservation horticulture is critical in our time of rapid global change if we are to ensure the survival of imperiled plant species. Botanic gardens and conservation organizations around the world maintain diverse and wild-collected ex situ plant collections, care for plants of conservation concern in situ, provide plants for population augmentation and repopulation, and supporting conservation education and advocacy. Many plants that are extinct or facing extinction in the wild persist in cultivation through such efforts. The 21st Smithsonian Botanical Symposium will explore these topics and current research on the nexus of plant conservation and horticulture.
In addition, the 21st 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 a hybrid event, with invited speakers giving afternoon presentations for in-person and virtual guests in Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History, and a poster session and evening reception for in-person guests in the Conservatory of the U.S. Botanic Garden. The event is free; there is no registration fee to attend the Symposium. We will be requesting all attendees, both in-person and virtual, to register after the registration page opens in the winter.
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.