Between March 5 and March 8 (2007) we have been visiting the herbaria of Lisbon (LISC, LISU) and the herbarium of Coimbra, all of them hosting important Hyphaene collections from former Portuguese colonies in Africa, in particular material sampled in Angola, Guinea Bissau, and Mozambique (also some collections from Sao Tomé and Principe). During the last years of the '70, the Indian botanist (although with clear Portuguese roots!) Caetano Xavier Furtado, based his monographic study on Hyphaene in the Lisbon herbaria. All the Hyphaene material stored in this herbarium has been identified by Furtado himself. Cristina Duarte, Luis Catarino and in particular Paula Branco are greatly thanked for their kind support to my visit to LISC, whereas Ana Isabel de Vasconcelos Correia and Alexandra Lucas hosted my visit to LISU. In Coimbra, Fátima Sales, Joaquim Santos and kindly made available the interesting specimens stored at COI.
This is the Tropical Botanic Garden, located in Belém, about 10 minutes drive from downtown Lisbon. The garden was created in 1906 with the main goal of training agronomists and technicians for the former Portuguese colonies in Africa. It is jointly managed by the Museum of Natural History and Science and the Botanical Garden. We could identify many palm species (i.e. Bismarkia nobilis, Chamaedorea sp., Howea sp., Phoenix canariensis, Phoenix reclinata, Washingtonia filifera).
We are studying the Hyphaene collection at the Montgomery Botanical Center in Miami. Between January 22 and January 28 (2017) we are carefully carrying out studies on the four species therein cultivated (H. compressa, H. coriacea, H. petersiana and Hyphaene thebaica). This work is largely supported by Patrick Griffith, Larry Noblick, Jessica Sparks, Joanna Tucker Lima and Claudia Calonje. We have been able to benefit from all facilities at the lab and the living collection. Sampling of the palms includes material for anatomical studies, leaf fragments for DNA analyses and dry leaves for the study of phytolits (project with the Universidad Nacional of Colombia).
The Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) has one of the finest palm collections in the world. Locating the Hyphaene individuals was easy thanks to the very well curated database of the collection, in which every single individual is georeferenced.