Category: Research

Newsletter

Herbarium Reaches Transcription Milestone with 52,000-plus Specimens Fully Digitized

The herbarium is the heart of research at the Garden. A major priority of the herbarium is to digitize the collection by photographing the specimens and transcribing the related information recorded by botanists. Staff and volunteers made significant strides in reaching this goal last year. “The herbarium ended 2022 with complete transcriptions of 52,674 specimens,” says Herbarium Collections Manager Ashley Bordelon.

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Newsletter

FWBG Experts and Volunteers Digitize Records of Renowned Botanist in Cutting-Edge Project

Botanist Sherwin Carlquist (1930-2021) was a legend in his field, a prolific researcher who made major contributions to plant systematics, plant anatomy, island biology and wood anatomy. He traveled the world collecting plant specimens, photographing plants in the field and collecting data about ecosystems. Hard work by our experts and volunteers means scientists interested in studying Carlquist’s work will soon have a new type of digital resource giving them unprecedented context for his findings: an extended specimen network. Assuming, that is, that they can decipher Carlquist’s handwriting. 

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"My Father Is the Gardener" book cover
Newsletter

Meet the Author of the New BRIT Press Book “My Father Is the Gardener”

Many gardeners find the work of tilling the ground, planting seeds and caring for plants deeply meaningful. Author Shelley S. Cramm and illustrator Layla Luna have explored gardening as a spiritual practice and linked this experience to the plants and gardens of the Bible in their new book My Father Is the Gardener: Devotions in Botany and Gardening of the Bible, now available from BRIT Press.

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Avocados are both delicious and botanically fascinating
Newsletter

The Plants that Miss the Mammoths: Curious Cases of Evolutionary Anachronisms

Avocados are one of the most delicious fruits, especially when smashed with some lime and garlic salt. But have you ever really looked at an avocado? Because they are unusual fruits, with a seed too large for any of the animals in its original habitat to swallow. Learn more about avocados, ginkgos and other plants that have outlived their companion animals in this discussion of evolutionary anachronisms.

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Multicolored kernels on heritage corn
Newsletter

Ethnobotany and the Study of Plants, Cultures and Communities

Imagine you lived exactly where you live today–but five hundred years ago. If you’re hungry, you can’t go to the grocery store. If you’re tired, you no longer have a foam mattress. If you have a headache, you can’t pop an Advil. Yet the people of the past ate, slept and treated their ailments just as we do. How? They used plants.

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Newsletter

Citizen Science Leads to Discovery of New Wasp Species on Garden Grounds

Many Fort Worth and area residents have explored the Garden for years. They may think they know every corner, every path and every tree. In fact, our own Garden holds many surprises. For example, a new species of gall wasp was recently identified on Garden grounds. The story of the wasp’s discovery has much to tell us about the importance of citizen science, the diversity of life around us and the many mysteries waiting to be uncovered in our own backyards.

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Floral illustration from 1829 of stemless evening primrose
Newsletter

What Is This Thing? Discovering Stemless Evening Primrose.

It’s one thing to identify a flower when it’s in bloom. Petals, stamens and other features provide all sorts of information to botanists to narrow down the plant’s name and history. Starting with a seed pod is a different matter – especially when the pod is hard, dried, and an indistinct brown. When friends Carol and Cynthia both found particularly tough, dried pods that superficially resemble pine cones, they were baffled. But it takes more than a dried-up pod to baffle the botanists at the BRIT Herbarium. They were able to let Cynthia and Carol know that they had found the dried fruits of Oenothera triloba, or stemless evening primrose.

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Field of deep blue bluebonnets against a green field
Newsletter

Protect Native Plants to Protect the Planet

April is National Native Plant month and a great opportunity to talk about the importance of native plants to the health of our planet. Native plants help preserve local wildlife, reduce water use and protect and restore soil, but these plants are threatened by invasive species, habitat loss and water quality issues. What is FWBG | BRIT doing to protect these plants? And how can you help?

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