DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY
Flora of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
This site presents in PDF format three important publications by Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez on the Flora of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and the watercolor illustrations and specimens of Dr. Agustín Stahl (1842-1917), the earliest renowned Puerto Rican scientist.
- Vines and Climbing Plants
- Monocots and Gymnosperms
- Agustín Stahl
- Karst Limestone
Rio Abajo Checklist
- Flora of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
The United States National Herbarium (US) has a long tradition of botanical studies in the West Indies. At the beginning of the 20th century, Dr. Joseph N. Rose, the first full-time curator of plants at US, carried out extensive field work throughout the West Indies as part of his monographic studies of Cactaceae that was co-authored with Dr. N. L. Britton of the New York Botanical Garden. During the 1920’s, Emery C. Leonard, participated in various expeditions to Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic), where he collected and brought to the US herbarium more than ten thousand plant specimens. He collected plants in Hispaniola along with the renowned Swedish botanist Dr. Erik L. Ekman, and perhaps was instrumental in obtaining duplicates of Ekman’s plant collections and field books. Leonard published several novelties for Hispaniola and intended to publish a floristic treatment for that island but died before he could complete it. In 1926, Dr. William R. Maxon, curator of plants, wrote the first treatment for the Pteridophytes of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for the multivolume publication “Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
Other workers at US with strong research interests in the region include Dr. Dan H. Nicolson, the late Dr. Robert Read and Dr. Pedro Acevedo. Dr. Nicolson published a volume completing the Flora of Dominica while Dr. Read published various papers on the palms of the Lesser Antilles. Dr. Acevedo is currently curator of West Indian plants at US. His floristic work includes the study and exploration of the main islands of the Greater Antilles, but his research is currently centered in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The main publications of Acevedo and collaborators on the floristics of the region are highlighted in this page. Current projects that include the collaboration of Dr. Mark T. Strong are: Monocots and Gymnosperms of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and A checklist of the flowering plants of the West Indies.
The West Indian collections at the United States National Herbarium are one of the best in the U.S.A. with representatives from most islands. The herbarium also houses numerous type collections and an estimated 125,000 specimens from the region. In an effort to improve holdings of West Indies collections at US, there is an active exchange program seeking specimens that would help to increase our understanding of the floristics of this region.