Phytophilia Blog

Phytophilia = Love of Plants. BRIT’s mission is to conserve our natural heritage by deepening our knowledge of the plant world and achieving public understanding of the value plants bring to life.

Trudy and Charles Hess

Trudy and Charles Hess Q: How did you come to be interested in conservation and botany? A: Our earliest realization of the need to protect our fragile environment comes from our SCUBA diving days.

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All Sealed Up

One of the first steps in curating the NLU collection is ensuring its security. Herbarium specimens are vulnerable to damage from light, bugs, rodents, dust, and water.

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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

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The Unusual Binding of “Flora Sibirica”

In our year-long “Hidden Treasures” series, Alyssa B. Young, Special Collections Librarian, features notable works in the BRIT rare book collection.

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.

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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

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Frontera, Texas

Our “Cabinet Curiosities” series explores significant items in our Herbarium collection. Posts are contributed by staff, volunteers, and interns. In 1852, the former Republic of

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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

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Curtis’s Botanical Magazine

One of the treasures of BRIT’s rare book collection is Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, a premier journal for early botanical illustrations and descriptions. The journal has featured over 10,000 color illustrations in its 230 years of publication. Originally titled The Botanical Magazine, it is the longest running illustrated botanical periodical and is still being published today.

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Yunnan, China

Dr. Peter Fritsch, BRIT’s VP of Research and Director of the Herbarium, is on a visiting scholarship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, based at

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