(Sarasota, FL, September 21, 2010): Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been awarded a grant for $32,500 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The funds will allow Selby Gardens to participate in the Global Plants Initiative, a massive effort by more than 150 institutions in 55 countries to produce high-quality digital images of special preserved plant collections called “herbarium type specimens”.
Type Specimens are dried, pressed, plant specimens and invaluable to botanists who study plant diversity as they serve as the standard reference point by which species are identified and classified. Properly cared for, type specimens can last many centuries.
The resulting digital images will be compiled into a database, along with related reference works, photographs, and botanical art and made available through JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing academic content to a world wide audience.
Selby Gardens was awarded this grant in recognition of its considerable holdings of Latin American type specimens particularly of orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, which have been accumulated by Gardens’ botanists during the past 35 years.