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The World Comes to Selby Gardens


International bromeliad experts (l to r) Greg Brown (U.S.), Eric Gouda (Netherlands), Ivón Ramírez (Mexico), and Julian Aguirre-Santoro (Colombia) with Selby Gardens’ Bruce Holst in the Tropical Conservatory

Attendees of the 2022 World Bromeliad Conference got a bonus with this June’s event: access to one of the best scientifically documented collections of bromeliads in the world, right here at Selby Gardens!

The biannual show, put on by the Bromeliad Society International, was hosted for the first time ever in Sarasota, June 8-12. Conference goers had to wait two years for the opportunity. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Sarasota show was postponed by the pandemic. But the wait was worth it, according to Selby Gardens Vice President for Botany Bruce Holst.

“We got to share our collection with 120 bromeliad fanatics, and they loved it,” he said. The program included a morning-long visit to the Downtown Sarasota campus, where our President & CEO Jennifer Rominiecki welcomed attendees before they broke into small groups for a behind-the-scenes tour of our world-renowned living plant collection. Conference registrants also could visit the Gardens on their own throughout the week.

Four of the world’s leading bromeliad researchers spent several days on site working with the collection alongside Holst and his team. “Having experts visit our living and preserved collections to update names, identify previously unidentified plants in their specialties, and discover species not yet described for science helps us to improve the accuracy of the names we use,” said Holst. “Hosting Greg, Eric, Ivón, and Julian visit—two of whom were interns here during the early stages of their careers—was especially gratifying for me, as I have known them all for decades.”

See photos of Conference guests during their visit Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota Campus here.