Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) has a tradition of curating Palms since Col. Robert H. Montgomery established his estate, Coconut Grove Palmetum, in 1932. Its Palm Collection boasts an excellent diversity with extensive documentation useful for research, conservation, and education. Decades of historic collections data on provenance, collector, growth and development, are now maintained in electronic format accessible to researchers. MBC’s Palm accessions are obtained through research and conservation expeditions. Growing conditions, climate, soils, and habitat variation onsite support a collection with considerable taxonomic and biogeographic breadth. MBC’s collecting protocol seeks to maximize capture of populational genetic diversity by obtaining sufficient seed from a minimum of five mother plants to ultimately plant at least three seedlings from each mother into the collection. Detailed data and photographs of field-collected populations are maintained, as well as ongoing ex situ development imaging documenting growth and phenology.
Since palm seeds are recalcitrant, making long-term storage of viable seed difficult, MBC maintains a viable conservation collection by growing significant population samples of each taxon to ensure the vigor of F1 progeny. The original wild-collected germplasm can be preserved through propagation and distribution. MBC’s Palm Biology Program is led by Dr. Larry Noblick, with over 20 years of palm research and international fieldwork experience. Dr. Noblick is a member of the IUCN-SSC Palm Specialist Group, and the Administrative Secretary of the International Palm Society. Dr. Noblick has described a number of new taxa from the collection. Executive Director Dr. Patrick Griffith performs collections-based population genetic and natural history research using the collection. Cycad Biologist Michael Calonje, an expert in ex-situ conservation methods, has contributed a significant number of accessions through his fieldwork. Palm Curator, Laurie Danielson, and Collections Manager, Joanna Tucker Lima, oversee the active curation of the palm collection.
The Palm Collection is primarily augmented through international collaborations with research botanists, professors, and botanic gardens proximal to the areas being explored. MBC is committed to ethical provenance of its germplasm, maintaining rigorous standards for permitting, international collaboration, conservation protocol, and scientific documentation. The Palm Collection is accessible to qualified researchers at any time. The general public may arrange a visit by contacting MBC to make an appointment. Montgomery Botanical Center – Provenance of Palm Accessions