Mountain plants of southern South America

From Mary T. Kalin Arroyo:MKA2

Over the period 16-17 September 2013 I had the pleasure to work in the herbarium at the University of Reading. My mission was to track down herbarium specimens collected in Tierra del Fuego by Dr. David Moore, formally of Reading University, and those of one of David´s close collaborators there, Natalie Goodall, a resident of Tierra del Fuego.  David´s and Natalie´s specimens are particularly important, for their coverage of alpine habitats in that remote part of the world. They are essential to the work I am presently undertaking on the high elevation flora of the South American Andes found between 27° and the extreme of the continent, and it was wonderful to find them in such good condition.  David, of course, wrote the Flora of Tierra del Fuego, which is a seminal piece of work still widely used by botanists in South America. He also produced two important alpine checklists – one for Tierra del Fuego itself, and a second for the wider area of Patagonia – the latter published in a Chilean journal. I had the pleasure of speaking with David on many occasions during his travels to Chile and Argentina, and will always be grateful for the tips he have me about suitable alpine sites in the Patagonia for my reproductive biology work carried out in the late 80s.

My visit to the herbarium was planned off the cuff during vacation time to see my son and his family in London.  I am exceedingly grateful to Alastair Culham and Sue Mott for helping me locate the specimens of interest, during a period over which the herbarium has been undergoing reorganization.  I was able to find a large number of David´s and Natalie´s specimens.  One that did escape me though was Koenigia islandica, one of the smallest of terrestrial flowering plants and one of a few annual species found in arctic and cool temperate  alpine floras – a good reason for coming back again to be able to spend more time in the Reading herbarium!

Mary T. Kalin Arroyo
Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB)
University of Chile
www.ieb-chile.cl

 

 

About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.
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