In the month of April, Bruce Holst, the director of Botany from Marie Selby Botanical Gardens arrived in Belize, by special invitation from Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Botanical Gardens, to start a 2 year long project of inventory of bromeliads and other epiphytes in all the districts of Belize. It is the first of many trips for this project. The goal is to create a comprehensive guide to the bromeliads of Belize, and create educational materials that will assist in conservation efforts.
Ella and her team are working closely with Dr Elma Kay from University of Belize on the first step of the project. The next step of this project will be to organize a couple of expeditions to the most remote areas of Belize, where research has not been done before.
Dr. Elma Kay working in collaboration with Ella Baron
Dr. Elma Kay and the Caves Branch Botanical Garden Crew
Two weeks of collecting yielded 200+ different species of epiphytes, including many orchids, ferns, and bromeliads, as well as cacti, peperomias, and marcgravias. Both living and preserved specimens will be deposited at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Lodge, the Belize Forestry Department, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Laurie Birch and David Troxell collecting a Trichocentrum from an orange orchard
Preparing Specimens at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge
Marvin learns to dissect an inflorescence
About Bruce Holst – Bruce Holst, director of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has studied plants of the American tropics for over 30 years and has participated in more than 20 international expeditions, most recently to Belize, Costa Rica, French Guiana, and Venezuela. He has participated in Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program and served in the Peace Corps in Honduras. He currently edits Selby Gardens' research journal, Selbyana, and was former editor of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society and a senior editor of the Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, a nine-volume encyclopedia of the flora of Venezuela’s Lost World region.