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Agriculture and Horticulture News
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Montgomery Scientist Discovers New Palm

Article Editor: Christopher Laird Simmons

MIAMI, FL - November 16, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- On an expedition to Brazil in 1994, Dr. Larry Noblick of the Montgomery Botanical Center in Coral Gables, Florida, discovered a previously unknown species of palm that he has named Syagrus vermicularis. Dr. Noblick's discovery was recently confirmed by his full scientific description published in the September 2004 issue of Palms, a peer-reviewed journal of the International Palm Society.

The Montgomery Botanical Center (www.montgomerybotanical.org), a nonprofit 501(c) institution, grows scientific collections of tropical plants in its botanical garden. Its plant collections include more than ten thousand palms, cycads and other tropical plants from over 30 countries. Scientists from all over the world access the Montgomery collections and its associated database, which has grown to be the largest repository of scientific documentation on palms and cycads in the world, including the most comprehensive mapping data of any botanical garden. Montgomery also operates the world's largest and most successful seed bank program.

Dr. Noblick is the Manager of Collections Development at Montgomery. He is one of the world's leading experts on palms and has led 17 scientific expeditions in South America and Asia. After Dr, Noblick returned from his expedition to Brazil in 1994 with seeds of a previously unknown palm species, Montgomery germinated the seeds in its nursery and then planted the plants in its botanical garden.

The plants grew into elegant trees with a smooth, green trunk thinly covered by a whitish velvety layer and crowned by a beautiful head of glossy, soft, pinnate leaves creating a graceful, arching canopy. In late 2003, several of the trees began to display a showy inflorescence that resembles a tangle of bright yellow noodles or worms. "At long last," exclaimed Dr. Noblick. "When I discovered the palm, I couldn't find any with female flowers. I had to wait nine years until the seeds had grown into mature plants so I could finish my scientific description of the species."

The tight squiggling noodle or worm-like form of the palm's newly emerging inflorescence is the source for the name that Dr. Noblick chose for his newly discovered palm. "I was tempted to name the species something fun like Syagrus ramennoodlensis," Dr. Noblick told us. "But after careful consideration, I opted for something that sounded a bit more sophisticated." The species was officially christened Syagrus vermicularis (Latin for "resembling a worm").

As the seeds from the collection of Syagrus vermicularis at the Montgomery Botanical Center mature, it expects to distribute them through its seed bank program. The new palm is creating a buzz for some tropical plant insiders who have been tracking its growth at Montgomery and anxiously awaiting the first seed distribution.

web graphic (c) Send2Press John DeMott, an omnipresence in both the palm and nursery worlds, predicts, "This fast-growing, medium-large palm should fill the void in the palette of palms available to the industry--and eventually the garden. From a design aspect, its dense crown of dark green fronds and relatively thin trunk places it somewhere between a Carpentaria and the queen palm."

Photo caption: Dr. Larry Noblick, palm biologist at Montgomery Botanical Center gets a close-up view of the first inflorescence of Syagrus vermicularis, a new palm species he discovered in Brazil.

Montgomery Botanical Center, 11901 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL 33156, (M-F, 7a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).


    Organization Website: www.montgomerybotanical.org
    Source of News: Montgomery Botanical Center

    THIS IS ARCHIVAL CONTENT
    Note: for contact information at the organization mentioned in the above PRESS RELEASE, visit the "organization website" (if applicable), or view either version of the original news release using the links below. Send2Press cannot provide contact info.


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References: palm trees, tropical, botany, landscaping, garden, horticulture, ornamental, Larry Noblick, Montgomery Botanical Center, Florida

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