The Caribbean Garden at the New York Botanical Garden

The Caribbean Garden at the New York Botanical Garden’s Haupt Conservatory has been on view since January 21 and will continue until February 26, 2012.

Located at 200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard (Bronx River Parkway, Exit 7W) and Fordham Road in the Bronx, New York, the garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

The Haupt Conservatory’s permanent collection includes spectaculars specimens of “orange-yellow crotons, fuchsia bromeliads, and rosy-red hibiscus. [. . . The] Victorian-style glasshouse [offers] warm rain forest mists, soaring palm trees, and bright desert landscapes.”

The New York Botanical Garden has worked to document, study, and conserve plant and fungal diversity in the Caribbean for more than a century, amassing in the process the world’s largest and most important collection of Caribbean plant and fungal specimens and associated scholarly literature. A biodiversity hotspot, the Caribbean is home to some 11,000 native species of seed plants, of which nearly 72 percent are endemic to the region. However, more than 500 years of colonization, conflict, and economic development have taken a heavy toll on the Caribbean’s biodiversity, resulting in the loss of more than 75 percent of the Caribbean’s pre-Columbian forest cover.

The New York Botanical Garden houses the Caribbean Biodiversity Program, directed by Brian M. Boom (Bassett Maguire Curator of Botany). Dr. Boom’s research focuses on neo-tropical forests, their botanical diversity, and the interaction between people and those environments. He has led or participated in forest inventories of trees in Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Bolivia, Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. In conjunction with several of these forest inventories, he has conducted ethnobotanical studies in which he has quantified the use of plants by local indigenous people (e.g., the Chácobo of Amazonian Bolivia and the Panare of the Venezuelan Guayana). As director of the Caribbean Biodiversity Program, he is responsible for the creation, operation, and management of the institution’s botanical research and conservation initiatives in the Caribbean.

For more information on the Caribbean Garden, see http://www.nyc-arts.org/events/17445/caribbean-garden-at-the-new-york-botanical-garden

For more on Brian M. Boom, see http://www.nybg.org/science/scientist_profile.php?id_scientist=81

See the Caribbean Biodiversity Portal at http://sweetgum.nybg.org/caribbean/index.php

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