Climate Change and Common Violets

In many Missouri backyards, a carpet of small purple or white violets is a sure sign of spring. In future springs, we’re likely to see more of these cheerful flowers earlier in the season as a result of climate change, a recent study from Garden researchers found. This may seem like an unexpected positive outcome…

The Plants of Encanto

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest feature film, Encanto, is not a movie about plants. But plants are far more than background greenery in this story. They play an important role as the plot unfolds, and take center stage in one of the more lively musical numbers. Even the plants that are in the background serve…

The Botanist Behind Encanto’s Plants

Walt Disney Animation Studios goes to great lengths to build true-to-life environments as the settings for their films. For the movie Encanto they enlisted the help of the Colombian Cultural Trust. This group of experts consulted with the filmmakers on subjects such as architecture, clothing, indigenous culture, food, and of course plants. The botanist who…

Madidi | 20 Years of Discovery

Encompassing more than 7,000 square miles, Madidi National Park in northeast Bolivia is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. The park and its surrounding regions encompass the Andes’ snow-covered peaks, hazy cloud forests, and a portion of the tropical Amazon Rainforest. Yet until recently, relatively little was known about the plants and…

New Plant Species Discovered by the Garden in 2021

Each year, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Science and Conservation staff discover and name about 200 plant species new to science. That’s roughly 10 percent of all plant species discovered by scientists worldwide annually. Discovery is the first crucial step in plant conservation. Until a species is described, we cannot think about conservation status or ensure…

Record-Setting Monstera Among Newly Described Species

Monstera are well-known to many houseplant parents. The glossy evergreen leaves give off tropical vibes year-round, and the perforated leaves add an extra layer of interest. Species like Monstera deliciosa and M. adansonii are in-demand houseplants, along with cultivated varieties like the white-speckled ‘Thai Constellation.’ While appreciation is growing for these cultivated houseplants, so too…

Spotlight on Science: Tariq Stevart

Tariq StevartAssociate Scientist, Africa and Madagascar Program When Tariq Stevart was around 10 years old, his grandfather took him on a trip to Switzerland, where they climbed mountains and discovered alpine flora, in particular orchids. It sparked a lifelong interest for Stevart, who grew up in Belgium and always admired the beautiful orchids of Europe….

National Geographic Honors Garden Researcher for Conservation Work in Madagascar

Jeannie Raharimampionona has dedicated her life to conserving the flora of her native Madagascar. With more than half of plant species facing extinction in Madagascar, some may find the never-ending work to save them to be too daunting. But Raharimampionona can’t imagine doing anything else. “Sometimes I think of each plant species as a gorgeous,…

Garden Study on Biodiversity Helps Focus Conservation Efforts

Around the world, tropical forests are disappearing at alarming rates. As conservations race against time to protect these ecosystems, it’s crucial to know where it would be most fruitful to focus their efforts. Key to that is data. While it has long been understood that Latin America is richer in plant species than tropical Africa, scientists…

Racing the Clock for Rediscovery

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down travel, Jim Miller, Senior Vice President of Science & Research at the Missouri Botanical Garden, was in Madagascar, searching for a plant that scientists had not seen in the wild since 1965.  Bourreria angustifolia is a small tree or shrub with “willow-like” leaves and orange fruits the size and…

Spotlight on Science: Armand Randrianasolo

Dr. Armand RandrianasoloCurator at the William L. Brown Center Many botanists’ careers are the realization of a lifelong goal, born in a childhood exploring the natural world and followed by a series of carefully-planned steps to attain that goal. Armand Randrianasolo did spend much of his time outdoors during his childhood in Vatomandry, Madagascar, but…