Posts in Taxonomy
Who was David Fairchild?

There was a time when many Americans didn’t know what a soybean or a zucchini looked like. Dinner plates were filled with corn, potatoes, cheese, grains and meat—pretty drab. The rainbow of foods that we eat now can be traced back to the self-deemed ‘agricultural explorer’ David Fairchild. David Stone’s book “The Food Explorer” eloquently details the life and travels of Fairchild as he brought many of the plants that are common to our diets today. The book is a colorful and fascinating narrative of the life of a man who lived in an age where Americans were eating purely for subsistence, who traveled the world to bring flavor and spice and diversity into our diets.

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Hot Off the Press

I am happy to announce that a paper that I have been working on for many years has finally been published in Brittonia this past week! The paper focuses on ten species in the genus Miconia (Melastomataceae), the largest genus in the family. These ten species all occur in the northern Andes in Colombia and Venezuela and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Coastal Cordillera of Venezuela, with one species endemic to Jamaica. This study illustrates the importance of field and herbarium collections. Herbaria document the world’s flora and provide a permanent record of botanical diversity. This is particularly important for endangered and threatened species such as those in the Miconia ulmarioides complex.

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