News From MO: 2000

General Curation

As of January 1, 2000 there were 5,002,128 mounted, accessioned specimens in the herbarium (4,672,010 vascular plants and 330,118 bryophytes). During 1999 the herbarium mounted or packeted and accessioned 92,381 specimens. 35,835 specimens were sent on loan and 11,849 gift specimens sent to specialists around the world. James Solomon manages the herbarium. Herbarium functions–filing, shipping, receiving, etc.–are performed by Jean Digby, Micah Issitt, Peter Keefner, and Heidi Threnn. Kristin Pierce and Maria Becker are working on the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) imaging project. Specimen mounting activities are managed on a daily basis by Gigi Hill, with the assistance of Tom Bernickus, Carol Hebblethwaite, Renate Kheim, Leonardo Mourré, Anna Spencer, Lidiya Toropova, and Laurel Zimmer. Donna Herrera and Carla Kostelac ably provide data entry and produce labels through the Garden's computer database programs. Lois Ganss, Senior Secretary, handles innumerable telephone calls, visitors, and administrative details for the herbarium.

Ronald Liesner, Curatorial Assistant, sorts Mesoamerican, South American, and Chinese plants to family so they can be sent to specialists. For families without specialists, Liesner identifies accumulated collections to species and at the same time curates the herbarium using new monographs and Floras, cycling through the flowering plant families once every three years. Special requests for determinations from ecologists, anthropologists, etc., are accumulated and processed once a year. Plants without label information (including latitude, longitude, and elevation) will not be identified.

MO is bar-coding its holdings and capturing label data from older plant collections. To date 155,652 specimens have been bar-coded and connected with the database. Doris Casatta has been entering bar-code numbers since the beginning of the project. A concerted effort is being made to complete data entry and bar-coding of specific families. The Bignoniaceae are completely bar-coded. All type specimens being imaged as part of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) project are also being bar-coded.

As an aid for research in molecular phylogenetics the herbarium maintains a collection of material specifically intended for DNA extraction. Botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden collect leaf samples, preserve them in silica gel and store them at -20º C. Because the samples are carefully prepared and curated, they are likely to give better yields of higher quality DNA than herbarium material. James Miller and James Solomon coordinate this effort. To date, nearly 4,000 specimens have been catalogued and are available for distribution. The catalog of this material is available on the Internet. Please contact Solomon or Miller if you are interesting in obtaining DNA samples.

Center for Plant Conservation

Since its arrival at the Garden in January 1991, the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) has continued to build its program to conserve the rare plants native to the U.S. The core CPC program is the National Collection of Endangered Plants maintained in a nationwide network of 30 participating institutions. The National Collection now includes 570 rare U.S. taxa, making it the largest living rare plant conservation collection in the world. CPC also actively promotes and convenes Endangered Plant Task Force meetings in regions of the U.S. with high plant diversity and rarity (currently Hawaii, California, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). These task forces identify and prioritize plant conservation problems within their respective regions, produce plant conservation action plans, and develop funding and program strategies. The CPC database includes information on over 8,000 U.S. taxa, of which approximately 4,220 are classified as being of some level of conservation concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, or the CPC.

The CPC program is directed by Kathryn Kennedy, who joined the organization this year as President and Executive Director. She is assisted by Donna Key, Administrative Assistant. Mary Yurlina is the Manager of Conservation Programs, and Chana Martin is coordinator of membership and communications. Carol Annable is the Conservation Projects Coordinator at the CPC Hawaii program office at Lyon Arboretum, Hawaii. The CPC is governed by a national Board of Trustees, chaired by Eliot Paine (Mentor, Ohio), the former director of the Holden Arboretum. The Board now includes 27 members from 12 states and Great Britain. A national Science Advisory Council, chaired by Barbara Schaal of Washington University, oversees CPC's scientific activities. The CPC's website can be viewed at

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