28 April 2010

Selby Gardens publications on gesneriads

In my experience, many gesneriad enthusiasts are interested not only in growing and displaying plants, but also in learning as much as they possibly can about their favorite plant family. Society members eagerly await each quarter's instalment of Gesneriads, the preeminent journal for all things gesneriad. But did you know that the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, home of the Gesneriad Research Center, is a great connection to receive current literature on gesneriads as well?

Both the Gardens' membership magazine, the Tropical Dispatch, and the Gardens' peer-reviewed scientific journal, Selbyana, frequently feature gesneriad articles, images and information.

A peek insides the most recent issue of the Tropical Dispatch.

This month's Tropical Dispatch, with a picture of Drymonia decora on the cover, contains several articles of interest to gesneriad enthusiasts. In the magazine, Bruce Holst provides a valuable overview of epiphyte biology, and in it he discusses gesneriads and other plant families that contain epiphytic species. Selby's Director of Horticulture Mike McLaughlin explains the challenges and pleasures of maintaining one of the world's most scientifically valuable collections of living plants and features an image and discussion on Gasteranthus atratus. In a column on epiphyte evolution, I explain how we are using DNA and molecular techniques at Selby Gardens to better understand epiphytism in the Gesneriaceae and other plant families.

A page out of a past issue of Selbyana featuring a new gesneriad species description.

Bruce Holst and I have taken over editorship of Selbyana and just recently submitted the next instalment, Selbyana 30(2) to Allen Press for publishing. This issue contains two original scientific articles on gesneriads. Laura Clavijo and John L. Clark publish a new species of Drymonia from Colombia and Ivonne SanMartin-Gajardo and José Renato Santana Vianna present a fascinating study on hummingbird pollination in Nematanthus brasiliensis. Both articles feature excellent photographs and new insights on gesneriad biology.

So, are you interested in receiving either or both of these publications? If you become a member of Selby Gardens, you will automatically receive the Tropical Dispatch. Selbyana is available through subscription.

How to join and subscribe:

Tropical Dispatch - Basic Membership at Selby Gardens, starting at $60/year, includes three instalments of the Tropical Dispatch and unlimited access to the Gardens for you and a guest (among other benefits). Not in Sarasota that often or at all? There's still reason to join. Your membership to Selby gives you free admission to over 200 participating gardens, arboreta, and conservatories nationwide, so the rewards from your Selby membership are likely within a short drive from where you are right now. To learn more about the benefits of being a member and to join, please visit Selby Gardens' website or call me directly (941.366.5731 x256) and I'll get you in touch with our membership department.

Selbyana - The journal of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, published since 1975, Selbyana is a peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to publishing original research on tropical plants, with an emphasis on epiphytes and their forest canopy habitats. Selbyana is available by yearly subscription for only $55. Gesneriad articles frequent the pages of Selbyana and as editor, I am working to include gesneriad-related articles in every issue. To subscribe, please visit SBG Press or give me a call and I can help you get signed up.

21 April 2010

Welcome new Research Assistants at Selby Gardens

Selby Gardens is pleased to announce the addition of two new staff members into the Research Department – Carly Summers, a B.Sc. graduate from New College of Florida, and Elaina Margenthaler, a B.Sc. graduate from Southern Illinois University.

Elaina Margenthaler (left) and Carly Summers (right)

Both Carly and Elaina have exceptional experience in modern molecular methods and will be working under the direction of Dr. John R. Clark in Selby’s new molecular laboratory. Their research will be geared towards understanding the role of plant characters and ecology in the evolution and diversification of epiphytic plant lineages, with a focus on Selby’s three core plant families – bromeliads, gesneriads and orchids. Dr. Clark is particularly excited to have two qualified and eager research assistants in his department. He encourages staff, volunteers and members to stop by Research to meet Carly and Elaina and to learn more about this new and exciting research program at the Gardens.

06 April 2010

Cyrtandra samoensis - on display in Selby's Tropical Conservatory

We have a rather impressive specimen of Cyrtandra samoensis currently on display in Selby's Tropical Conservatory. The plant is just about 1 meter (3 ft) tall and is in full bloom. The delicate white corollas last only about a day or two but are constantly being replaced by new blooms.

Cyrtandra samoensis belongs to a group of about 10 closely related species that are found scattered across the South Pacific from Papua New Guinea all the way out to the Society Islands. At the GRC, we are using traditional morphological studies combined with modern molecular methods to better understand how these species are related to each other and how they came to be distributed across so many remote islands in the Pacific.