Phytophilia

Bringing NLU to BRIT

In March 2017, the scientific community was ablaze with the news that the University of Louisiana at Monroe would no longer be able to care for its natural history collection, including a significant fish collection and 470,000 herbarium specimens. The issue made national headlines as well, inspiring articles from the likes of Smithsonian Magazine , The Washington Post , Nature , Gizmodo , and Atlas Obscura . It was a rare drama for the typically quiet collections world, and BRIT was soon to find itself right in the thick of it. Headlines from March - July 2017 But let's back up a bit. Several years ago, the natural history collections at University of Louisiana at Monroe were moved from a campus building to an old print shop underneath Brown Stadium. Conditions were far from ideal for hou...
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Holiday Botany: Poinsettia

The poinsettia is a quintessential part of typical holiday decor. Its bright red, burgundy, or white foliage are common sights in locations both private and public throughout the winter months, from apartment balconies and church altars to bank lobbies and coffeehouses.
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The Legacy of Alexander von Humboldt

How much do you know about Alexander von Humboldt, one of the most influential naturalists in history? More species and plants are named after him than after any other human being, but in the last 150 years he's been nearly forgotten. Let's change that.
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The Unusual Binding of “Flora Sibirica”

As you look through the shelves in our rare book room, you see rows and rows of beautifully-bound books. They have bindings of leather and vellum, ornate embossed and gilded decorations on the covers and spines. Two volumes stand out: Flora Sibirca.
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Botanical Specimens with a Mysterious Past!

“Wow!” is the most frequent comment from visitors viewing the two oldest plant specimens in the BRIT Herbarium, both of which were collected by Dr. Thaddeus Haenke in 1791.
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Alexander von Humboldt and the Scientific Discovery of America

The work of one of the most important scientific explorers you've never heard of.
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Recycling Rocks!

Mixed-stream recycling is pretty amazing. We get to throw all of our recyclables into one bin, and then — POOF! — they magically get taken away and sorted elsewhere. No more icky sorting of paper from soda cans, milk jugs from mason jars! But have you ever wondered how the sorting ACTUALLY HAPPENS and WHO DOES IT?
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A Trip to Seville Farms

A couple of weeks ago, over half of the BRIT building was eerily empty for a day as the whole research department set off for a tour of Seville Farms, which is owned and operated by one of our board members, Billy Brentlinger. Seville Farms is a large-scale plant nursery providing annuals, perennials, and ground covers to numerous garden centers across Texas. The farms have five facilities containing over three million square feet! On this trip we visited the headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, and Billy and his right-hand-man John gave us an in-depth tour of the operations, start to finish.
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Frontera, Texas

It's 1852 in the newly-formed Republic of Texas. A devoted botanist collects a Cryptantha oblata specimen in the forgotten town of Frontera...
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My Time at Mile High

This is the first in a new “Where Are They Now?”series featuring guest posts from former interns, volunteers, staff, and friends of BRIT. This month’s post is from former BRIT intern and herbarium staff, Miranda Madrid. Hello! I wanted to share my experience in the Mile High City with all of you back home in the great state of Texas. I am currently participating in a year-long service program in Denver, Colorado, while I discern my path as an up-and-coming environmental scientist. My first couple days in Colorado were spent in the mountains. Amazing views! My service group, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, is a nonprofit organization based in Denver dedicated to inviting young people into a process of transformation through companionship with those who are poor and marginalized. So what exa...
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