|1. Distribute new and underutilized plants to botanic
gardens, nurseries, research organizations, students, and collectors.
This will be done to accelerate the introduction of species and forms that
are worthy of rescuing from extinction or introduction because of their
potential ornamental, medicinal, herbal, ethnobotanic, horticultural, or
research uses. Initially, I will emphasize species over hybrids.
2. Collect, organize, and distribute horticultural and botanic
information on both species and hybrids. Feedback will be necessary
because I am not a trained taxonomist, nor do I have access to enough data
sources to be even 80% complete. To aid this effort, modest utilities developed
for this site will be used to collect information and to raise, challenge
and resolve issues by stimulating the interest and participation of students,
hobbyists, collectors, botanists, nurserymen, seed and plant collectors,
botanic garden collection managers, and other experts.
Initially, a simple forum will be developed for clarifying and resolving
confusion of Salvia identities. As with the plants themselves, species
information will be developed in preference to hybrid forms, since a lot
of the information is proprietary and regional. Sorting out the recent
rapid development in new varieties of Salvia greggii in areas like
Europe, California, Texas, and other parts of the United States will take
3. Promote the use of new graphic techniques for databases
to aid the development of neglected tools of taxonomy and other botanic
disciplines. While it is true that university research in botany
is receiving much funding, most of the funds are going into projects that
promise a quick reward for the sponsors. The basic tools that would
expedite this work are not being adequately funded in my view. Even though
primarily designed as references and aids for research, there are many
possible practical and commercial uses for these tools.
For example, the Synthesis
of the North American Flora could benefit from the addition of images.
This impressive work, a digitized, searchable flora of all of North America
north of the Rio Grande River and including Greenland and Hawaii, will
hopefully be developed for use in studying and controlling the spread of
exotic species. I understand that estimates are around six billion
dollars per year for the damage caused in the United States alone by all
kinds of exotic (introduced) species of plants, animals, molds, etc. Data
bases with images would be useful to essential personnel like agricultural
agents not deeply trained in taxonomy. Here are two further examples
of useful applications that could benefit from the addition of image utilities:
A. Field operable electronic data bases
that will certainly be needed to catalog and monitor the world's remaining
undiscovered flora, rapidly disappearing because of global development
4. Alert interested parties to botanic resources. One
of my best resources for investigating Salvias has been the Gray Herbarium
at Harvard University. I made many visits there between 1975 and
1977 reviewing herbarium specimens and old botanic journals like Hooker's
Botanic Magazine. Consequently, I discovered the many worthy sages
not being grown or investigated. To continue my research, I had to
make a copy of the herbarium sheet on a black and white copier, a
tedious process. This information was extremely useful for developing
searches for new and worthy plants not being grown. Now technology
is catching up.
B. On-line herbarium data bases that make their precious
resources accessible to all kinds of interested parties with urgent needs,
such as hospital poison control centers.
A searchable database of their specimen holdings is currently available
on line as the Index
of the Gray Herbarium. Another outstanding resource is the W3Tropicos
site of the Missouri Botanical Garden. These modest but impressive
Internet utilities hint at their tremendous potential for further development.
Currently, new image databases are being developied:
A. The Missouri Botanical Garden is
building its TROPICOS
Image Index for its W3Tropicos data base.
Both of these resources use state-of-the-art image handling software, which
enables the efficient downloading and viewing of herbarium sheets.
B. The New York
Botanical Garden has similarly begun building an on-line data base
of its herbarium holdings (Vascular
Plant Type Catalog).
However, urgent support is needed to maintain the physical collections
that form the basic reference and research material needed by scientists
to certify identities and carry on investigations. Unless more attention
is paid to these resources, they will become less accessible and harder
5. Develop a new art form for plant graphics used for the
Gallery of Salvias. This goal may become my main interest in the
future. Many people have remarked that my images look somewhat like
watercolors, others mistake them for fresh-pressed flowers. My goal
is to make them as realistic as possible, useful in both science and art.
I hope to develop a series of high resolution art prints (Iris press
on Arches Text Wove paper, for instance). One use for the prints will be
to develop kits of full, half, and quarter page prints for garden club
fund raiser sales, favors for nurseries to offer customers (bookmarks,
note paper), and items for bookstores and botanic and zoological gift shops.
Posters, tee shirts, and digitally colored art media like ceramics are
other possibilities. I welcome contacts from developers.