|(Staff from the IRC in the dwarf mangroves, north of Fairch|
In 2008, scientists from several institutions including Fairchild first documented the escape of the non-native mangrove Lumnitzera racemosa into the surrounding natural mangrove forests, where plants had spread to cover 20 acres. We took action immediately, drawing on help from volunteers, staff, and two different contractors. Four years later, tens of thousands of trees and their seedlings have been removed. This April, The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) removed almost 18,000 seedlings from Fairchild and Matheson Hammock Park. While that number certainly sounds daunting, 99% of those plants were tiny seedlings that were emerging from the seed bank. Fairchild is grateful to its partners in this endeavor (including ECISMA and Miami-Dade County), and we are confident that, with persistence, this invasive plant will be eradicated within a few years.
The Bahamian Plot of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden provides an example of the vision that Dr. David Fairchild and Col. Robert Montgomery had for our Garden. The plot was established as a result of extensive plant exploration in the Bahamas Islands to produce the flora of this archipelago. This plot has unique plants that provide extraordinary opportunities for research. Luke Nikolov a graduate student from Harvard University, traveled to our Garden specifically to collect and examine material from Pera bumeliifolia (Euphorbiaceae). The species is part of our living collection of Bahamian plants and it was originally collected from Nassau in 1964 by former FTBG director John Popenoe. Luke's Ph.D. focuses on floral development and he is using both molecular and traditional tools within the Euphorbiaceae. During this visit Luke was hosted by our Brett Jestrow. Image on the right: Luke is inspecting a flowering branch of Pera bumeliifolia.
The annual meeting of the Plant Biology of South Florida took place at the Montgomery Botanical Center on April 14. CTPC members delivered oral presentations (FIU-Fairchild Faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega, FIU-Fairchild Graduate Student Klara Scharnagl) and posters (FIU-Fairchild Faculty Dr. Eric von Wettberg and FIU-Fairchild Graduate alumnus Nora Oleas). Image below: Meeting participants.