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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
Recent Activity
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. Illustrating this new species of Pogostemon required some intricate back and forth with the authors Warren Wagner and Dave Lorence as well as careful dissection of the few pressed specimens sent from Kaua`i. Alice Tangerini found images on the web of... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. The National Museum of Natural History presented the 2020 Peer Recognition Awards on January 28, 2021. Award recipients are individuals and teams who have given their time and talent to the museum above and beyond what their jobs call for, and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. By Julia Beros. Sitting on a 5-acre green space and playground in Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey is a public art piece called Camden Turntable. SLO Architecture used discarded plastic bottles and facemasks to build Turntable. (photo by... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. The staff of the Department of Botany continues to make a strong push to make the U.S. National Herbarium’s collection of over 5 million specimens available online. The Botany Specimen Catalog is available at https://collections.nmnh.si.edu/search/botany/?ti=2. As the current pandemic continues, Botany... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From the forthcoming Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 3, July 2021. Dr. Maria Anna Faust, research botanist emerita from the Department of Botany, passed away on April 24, 2021 at the age of 91 from medical complications related to stroke. Faust specialized in tropical marine dinoflagellate taxonomy and ecology. Born... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. By Sylvia Orli and Erika Gardner. We appreciate the botanical pressed specimen for so many reasons–the plant, the taxonomy, the genetic material, the history, and the incredible value it provides to science. We have also come to appreciate the pressed botanical... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (288: 20210001; 2021) identifies the role that wild pigs play in maintaining the hyperdiverse structure of tropical forests, challenging the one-dimensional characterization of pigs as destructive enemies of the ecosystem.... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. Community gardens are a valuable social, ecological, and environmental resource, but we currently know very little about the pollinator species visiting them, their ecology, and the impact of human activity on their populations in Washington, DC. Intentionally or not, organic community... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. Registration is now open for the 18th Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Plant symbiosis: The good, the bad, and the complicated,” to be held 13-14 May 2021. This symposium will be held in a virtual setting and be spread over two days. If... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. -Adapted from the Florida Museum of Natural History. Scientists have found a new species of fleshy verdigris lichen, thanks to DNA analysis of museum specimens. Misidentified by its original collectors, the lichen is only known from 32 specimens collected in North... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2021. By Nancy Khan and Warren Wagner. Dramatic cliffs along the northern coast of Guam rise over 190 m to form a broad limestone plateau that encompasses the most diverse native plant communities of this small Micronesian island. Until recently the biological... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2021 at The Plant Press
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by Lotte Govaerts Today’s blog post is another installment in our series on the historical archaeology of the Missouri Basin Project. Links to all previous posts in this series are included below. In this post I examine the history and archaeology of site 32MN1, the site of an 1820s trading... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2021 at Rogers Archaeology Lab
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. Illustration of Stachycephalum asplundii by Alice Tangerini When Alice Tangerini was examining plant specimens for a series of Stachycephalum (Asteraceae) illustrations in 2006, she discovered some interesting features of the achene on a particular specimen. Her observations did not agree with... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. David Kenfack, ForestGEO staff scientist, has been elected as a Fellow to the African Academy of Sciences. This distinguished membership recognizes African scientists who have “attained the highest level of excellence in their scientific field and have made significant contributions to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. By Julia Beros. “There are thousands and thousands of ways to dig out a little plant, even if one has to resort to digging with his own nails,” such is the acumen of János Xántus, rather John Xantus, or perhaps Louis... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2021 at The Plant Press
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By Rose Gulledge. March is Women's History Month. The Department of Botany and the U.S. National Herbarium join our Federal partners in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Historically, botany has been one of the few attainable fields in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. Warren Wagner The National Museum of Natural History began awarding Science Achievement Awards in 2003. The awards recognize exceptional scientific publications in natural history. On November 18, 2020, in close consultation with the museum’s Senate of Scientists, an interdisciplinary review committee... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. By Gabe Johnson. Countless Ph.D. research botanists sincerely believe such misconceptions as: ethanol immediately destroys DNA in leaf tissue collections, leaves in both fresh and spent silica gel are equally dry, desiccated tissues rehydrate in absolute ethanol, and that EDTA inhibits... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. The Smithsonian’s Department of Botany and the United States Botanic Garden will hold the 2021 Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, “Plant symbiosis: The good, the bad, and the complicated,” on 13-14 May 2021. Originally scheduled for May 2020 but canceled due to the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. Adapted from an article written by Leonie Bolleurs, University of the Free State, South Africa. Festuca drakensbergensis in an Afrolpine grassland field at Tiffindell, Drakensberg Mountains. (photo by Rob Soreng) In their search to learn more about the impact of humans... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. As 2020 came to a close, the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) marked three decades as a global research network with a landmark new paper published in Biological Conservation (253: 108907; 2021), “ForestGEO: Understanding forest diversity and dynamics through a global... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2021 at The Plant Press
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By Lotte Govaerts We’ve been a bit absent from the blog this past year, but we do have some new content lined up for you. First up, a return to our series on the historic archaeology of the Missouri Basin Project, with an installment on the archaeology of the Garrison... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Rogers Archaeology Lab
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. Wild cranberries have a sanctuary in West Virginia and wild peppers have a protected area on Arizona’s border with Mexico. But many hundreds of other crop wild relatives native to the United States – including those related to apples, hops, grapes,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. A massive community science project using interval photography to capture rare and unknown pollinator relationships across North America has been launched by scientists at Texas A&U University, with guidance from the North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC), Smithsonian’s National Museum of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2021 at The Plant Press
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From Plant Press, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2021. Fungi exploit their environment and interact with plants in a myriad of complex and sometimes devastating ways – from symbiotic associations in lichens, endophytes, and mycorrhizae, to wood decayers and parasites causing crop diseases. One of their most remarkable and rare... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at The Plant Press