Cataloging Diversity Across The Americas

“Now we know what we can conserve.” -Dr. Carmen Ulloa “What trees! … all utterly new to us; Bonpland keeps telling me he’ll go out of his mind if the wonders don’t cease soon.” Alexander von Humboldt words of excitement when first landing in present day Venezuela in 1799 demonstrate the exuberance of plant diversity…

From the Library: Bookbinding Curiosities—Paste Papers

The practice of decorating paper with pleasing patterns and colors began in China, where paper was invented. By the 10th century, Chinese craftspeople were probably practicing a rudimentary kind of paper marbling, a complex process that results in sheets covered with sinuous, organic, often colorful designs. This art traveled west along with paper making technology,…

The Past, Present, and Future of Corn

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Agenda for Sustainable Development to guide global efforts through 2030. A large part of the agenda focuses on investment in agriculture as a key tool to end poverty and hunger, which result in sustainable development and can help address climate change. As a world-renowned botanical institution, the Missouri…

Shorter Future for Big Bluestem

Scientists at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Kansas State University, and Southern Illinois University–Carbondale have completed an analysis of the effects of climate change on a dominant and economically important grassland plant. Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is a common grass in natural and restored prairies that extend across the central Midwestern region (Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri,…

From the Library: A Different Kind of Conservation

The Peter H Raven Library of the Missouri Botanical Garden contains many rare and unusual books, but they aren’t all in the Rare Book Room. Our General Collection also holds many rare, even unique items, such as this small volume (about 6.5” long) of pressed plants from the Holy Land.   This book, Flowers of…

World-Traveling Butterflies

Where do the tropical butterflies that fill the Butterfly House Conservatory come from and how do they make it all the way to Missouri? To answer that question, we must first travel to Costa Rica. El Bosque Nuevo Beginning in 1995 in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, El Bosque Nuevo aimed to help preserve the rainforest and…

Giving Birds a Helping Hand

A trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden is a delight to the senses, from the visual beauty of the Garden’s display beds to the fragrant aroma of the plantings that populate them—and the chorus of birdsong from the many feathered visitors that fly by throughout the year (and help pollinate the Garden’s living collections in…

From the Library: Ancient Books Given Another Chance

“Utopian visions we had about the Internet and all it would be able to do are just that: utopian visions,” says Susie Cobbledick, book conservator at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Peter H. Raven Library. “Electronic files don’t last very long,” she adds, “These [books] are very rare materials, many being the last or only copies…

A Baby Boom for Rare Legumes

A new study by partners from the Missouri Botanical Garden and Washington University concludes that populations of rare plants should be aggressively increased now, before the effects of climate change become more severe. Of all the effects brought on plants by a changing climate, drought is among the most potentially damaging. While much of the…

Rescuing the Rainforests

“In the dark undergrowth of the Caribbean rain forest, only a rustle of leaves betrayed the presence of Larry Conners, KMOV-TV news anchorman.” BULLETIN / MARCH-APRIL 1992 Tropical rainforests play a huge role in keeping our planet healthy. The dense vegetation soaks up carbon dioxide, and converts it into oxygen. Tropical rainforests also supply food,…

The History of Cacti at the Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden has a long history of cacti research and has housed a notable collection for nearly 150 years. The collection today contains hundreds of plants, including some threatened in the wild. Selections from the collection can be seen in the Garden’s historic Linnean House conservatory. Early collections and research Dr. George Engelmann,…