Selby Gardens’ Botanist to Assist Smithsonian Institution

September 1, 2016

A two-week project will help identify plants of the Guianas

Bruce Holst, director of botany, has spent three decades exploring the Tropics of the Americas.

Bruce Holst, director of botany, has spent three decades exploring the Tropics of the Americas.

The head of the botany department at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been invited by the Smithsonian Institution to collaborate on an international plant identification project next month.

Bruce Holst, director of botany and a 22-year staff member of Selby Gardens, will spend two weeks in September at the National Museum of Natural History identifying plants collected from the Guianas – French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana – located in northeastern South America. This area comprises the eastern extent of the region of the world is often referred to as the “Guayana Shield,”which extends to eastern Colombia. Holst has explored the region extensively for the past three decades.

“I’m excited to take part in this project, which Selby Gardens has contributed to by adding samples to the collection over the past 20 years,” Holst said.

Holst expects to describe a dozen up to 15 plant species new for science. This work will be used internationally by taxonomists who study the flora of this “Lost World” region of South America.

During its 40-year history, Selby Gardens scientists have discovered or described more than 2,000 new plants for science. Ongoing international expeditions have been plotted by Selby Gardens most recently in Venezuela, Belize, Costa Rica and Brazil as the Gardens focuses its scientific research on the Tropics of the Americas. Selby Gardens is also recognized for its conservation efforts throughout Florida.

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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of tropical epiphytic plant species, including many orchid, bromeliads and gesneriads, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. For more information, please visit www.selby.org. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas, regular admission $20 (ages 18 and up), ages 4-17 $10, Members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or selby.org.  Get social with us on Facebook, Instagram and more by searching @selbygardens.  

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