Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Cycads

Cycad Collection

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Coral Gables, Florida
Dr. Carl Lewis, Executive Director
Mary Collins, Curator of Palms and Cycads

Primary Focus:
Collection represents broad taxonomic diversity

150 taxa, not including unidentified species
341 accessions, 731 plants
57% known to be wild-collected, 17% known to be from cultivated sources
Pollen Bank, 400 specimens
Herbarium holds 860 cycad specimens, online access restricted to qualifying researchers

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) has developed a comprehensive collection of cycads for over 65 years, emphasizing wild-collected germplasm. South Florida's climate has proven excellent for growing a wide variety of cycads, and historically cycads have been FTBG's primary collection along with palms. Fairchild's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation is a leader in tropical plant research, containing a herbarium, library, DNA lab, and nursery. The cycad collection is actively curated, and there is much institutional experience in propagating and growing these plants.

Fairchild's research program has many researchers whose work is focused on cycads: Dr. Jack Fisher, Senior Biologist and recipient of the Botanical Society of America medal for outstanding contributions to botany, studies palm anatomy and mychorrizal relationships in cycad roots; Dr. Carl Lewis, FTBG Director, and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega, a joint Florida International University appointment, have developed phylogenetic markers for cycads in the Caribbean and Mexico and work on molecular systematics of cycads; Dr. Alan Meerow of USDA-ARS and a Fairchild Research Associate works on cycad phylogenetics; Dr. John Donaldson of Kirstenbosch Research Center in South Africa and a Fairchild Research Associate is the world's authority on cycads and heads the IUCN-SSC cycad group; Dr. Quentin Luke is Fairchild's East African Field Officer and is active in tracking down cycad populations in the wild; and Jeremy Moynihan, Florida International University Doctoral Candidate is a Fairchild student focused on the phylogeny of Dioon in Mexico. Joint conservation projects will be pursued with institutions in Cameroon, Mexico, Jamaica, Panama and Puerto Rico. Continued collection acquisition will focus on cycads from the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa.

Taxonomic References and Authorities:
Dr. John Donaldson, Kirstenbosch Research Center, South Africa - Old World cycads
Dr. Dennis Stevenson, New York Botanical Garden - New World cycads

October 2007