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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Washington DC
We inspire curiosity, discovery, and learning about nature and culture through outstanding research, collections, exhibitions, and education. Comment policy: http://www.si.edu/Termsofuse
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. By Julia Beros. As Spring begins to peak through the last dregs of winter and sweep away those straggler snowflakes, the delicate blossoms of cherry trees (Prunus × yedoensis) that cover the Washington D.C. area return to invite a rumination on... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. John Boggan, Botanical Type Register Manager for the US Herbarium, retired at the end of March 2022. Boggan began his career in the Department of Botany in 1991 as a contractor for the Biological Diversity of the Guianas program, working with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. By Jerald Pinson (Florida Museum of Natural History) A plant specimen that had been collected in northwestern Haiti in 1929 by Smithsonian botanist E.C. Leonard has led researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History to the discovery of a new... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. Adapted from the Botanical Research Institute of Texas Research featured in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (119: e2115640118; http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2115640118) highlights the progress of plant genomics and includes a roadmap for the enormous task of sequencing the genomes of plants... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. Historically women have had a heavy 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... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. In the 1930s, biologists studying chromosomes in the rose family (Rosaceae) noticed that species in the apple tribe (Maleae) had approximately twice as many chromosomes (base chromosome number = 17) as every other species in the rose family (base chromosome number... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. -Adapted from Jerald Pinson (The Florida Museum of Natural History). Just before the closing scenes of the Cretaceous Period, India was a rogue subcontinent on a collision course with Asia. Before the two landmasses merged, however, India rafted over a “hot... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. By W. John Kress. A recently published scientific paper documents the imminent decline of thousands of species of plants as a result of the degradation and deterioration of natural environments caused by human greed and recklessness (Plants People Planet; https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10252). As... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. A new analysis spanning more than 86,000 plant species from John Kress, botany curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and Gary Krupnick, head of the museum’s plant conservation unit, finds that on this human-dominated planet, many more... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. The Smithsonian’s Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden will hold the 19th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Life on the Edge: Exceptional Plants in Exceptional Places,” on 13 May 2022. Plants live in seemingly inhospitable environments that exhibit extremes of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2022. By Larry Skog and John L. Clark. Stamp-collecting, or philately, is a time-honored hobby that has been indulged in by kings, presidents, and every-day folk since postage stamps first came into use in the 1840s. While stamp collectors or philatelists fill... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. Humanistic Botany (1977), an undergraduate textbook co-authored by Bill Stern (1926-2021), was illustrated by Alice Tangerini. Among her illustrations is a drawing of eel grass, Vallisneria spiralis, chosen for its unusual reproduction process. Tangerini was recently able to match a photocopy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. A page from the Science to Go lesson plan, “Making a Marsh,” provides students with instructions on how to draw Lobelia cardinalis. (image courtesy of Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) Alice Tangerini participated in on online STEM event, “Science to Go,” organized... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. Ken Wurdack is the recipient of the National Museum of Natural History’s 2020 Science Achievement Award. NMNH began awarding Science Achievement Awards in 2003. The awards recognize exceptional scientific publications in natural history. In close consultation with the museum’s Senate of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2022 at The Plant Press
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The Smithsonian’s Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden will hold the 19th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Life on the Edge: Exceptional Plants in Exceptional Places,” on 13 May 2022. Plants live in seemingly inhospitable environments that exhibit extremes of light, temperature, altitude, drought, and substrate. To survive in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. By Julia Beros Opening a letter lends an excitement unlike most paper-related activities. Perhaps through a pen pal, writing with an old friend, or even just a short anecdote on a pre-fab birthday card, letters beget a form of communication that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. -Adapted from USGS The Plant Conservation Alliance, a coalition of federal agencies and their Tribal, state and non-governmental partners with the goal to protect and restore resilient native plant communities, released a five-year progress report detailing coordinated efforts to increase the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. -Adapted from Oregon State University Research from the Oregon State University College of Science and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has produced the first definite identification of grass in fossilized tree resin from the Baltic region, home to the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. Illustration of tulip (Tulipa) by Alice Tangerini, for Bill Stern's textbook, Humanistic Botany. My first acquaintance with Bill Stern came through Edward Ayensu, the Chairman of Botany back in the 1970s. Dr. Stern was looking for an illustrator for his book,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. William (Bill) Stern joined the Smithsonian’s Department of Botany in 1960 as the first Curator in the Division of Woods, a newly formed division that soon merged with the Division of Plant Anatomy. He was recruited by the Smithsonian from Yale... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 25, No. 1, January 2022. By Gary Krupnick, Eric Schuettpelz, Rose Gulledge, and Erika Gardner Among the biggest challenges for a research department during the COVID-19 pandemic have been continuing collaborations and maintaining community. National Museum of Natural History staff were sent home to telework almost... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2022 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2021. Alice Tangerini drew this graphite on film drawing of a lichen, Lecanora sp., for Mason Hale in November 1977. Her use of the polymer pencils started by following Jack Schroeder’s drawings of lichens and Eupatoriae in the early 1970s. Most of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2021. On March 16, Alice Tangerini gave a presentation on “Botanical illustration at the National Museum of Natural History” to the Baltimore City Master Gardeners for their first meeting of 2021. The initial request was from Master Gardener and beekeeper, Chris Turett.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2021. Rosalie “Roz” Elliott, age 76, a beloved plant mounting volunteer from New York, passed away on August 9, 2021. Elliott had been battling several health issues since 2018. She had to take a break from volunteering, and members of the Botany... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2021. José Anibal Medina Vega is a postdoctoral fellow with ForestGEO and NGEE–Tropics working to develop a pantropical analysis of nutrient controls and their impact on tropical tree recruitment, growth, and mortality. He began his fellowship in August 2021. His office is... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2021 at The Plant Press