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Missouri Botanical Garden mounts milestone 6 millionth herbarium specimen
Date:10/17/2008

s with specialized knowledge of the group to which the plant in question belongs. Taxonomists will either identify the specimens, or recognize them as new to science. One specimen from each collection is mounted and added to the Garden's herbarium. Any duplicates are distributed to other herbaria in exchange for specimens from their areas of activity; the Garden exchanges specimens with about 400 other herbaria worldwide.

The Missouri Botanical Garden's six millionth herbarium specimen was collected in late 2007 by Dr. Thomas Croat, P. A. Schulz Curator of Botany. Croat discovered Anthurium centimillesimum while on a collecting trip in Ecuador's Pichincha province, in an area of tropical premontane rain forest. The giant plant was found growing on a steep bank next to a pasture.

"At first I considered it impossible that this species was new, simply because the area was previously well collected," said Croat. "Still, after returning to the Garden, I went through all the existing species and none came close to this Anthurium."

Croat has been collecting plant specimens in the wild for over 41 years as part of the Garden's science and conservation team. Anthurium centimillesimum is the 100,000th collection made by Croat, making him the fourth most prolific plant collector in the history of botany. Of his vast collections, all but 4,500 have been deposited at the Garden.

The new Anthurium is a member of the aroid or Araceae family, also known as the Philodendron family. Aroids make up the largest group of ornamental pot plants, and more aroid species are counted among the top dozen plants in North American sales than any other plant family. The Missouri Botanical Garden is a major center of aroid research, with one of the largest living collections in the world. In some cases, it is unknown whether the species are still found in nature, or whether the Garden's plants are the only survivors.

Garden scientists conduct field res
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Contact: Julie Bierach
julie.bierach@mobot.org
314-577-5141
Missouri Botanical Garden
Source:Eurekalert

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