The Botany Libraries host a robust exhibit program. Online exhibits are designed to enhance Harvard courses as well as illuminate aspects of our department's history.
The Botany Libraries staff also work in conjunction with our faculty and HUH staff members to create a series of in-house exhibits that highlight a wide range of botanically inspired topics. Past exhibits have showcased everything from current research to botanical motifs in early 20th century glassware.
Current In-House Exhibit:
Plant fibers used by the native Indians of the Orinoco and Rio Negro river basins
By Gustavo A. Romero, Keeper of the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium
There are many plant families that provide fibers, such as Annonaceae (the inner bark of species in several genera), Lecythidaceae (e.g., rolling paper and caulking fibers), Malvaceae (Gossypium barbadense L.: cotton); Marantaceae (Ischnosiphon spp.), Moraceae (Brosimum spp., Ficus spp.: cloth-fiber). However, the fibers used in this large geographic area are derived primarily from three plant families:
The exhibit we will focus on three sources of fibers:
Heteropsis spp. (Araceae), known as Cipó-titica in Brazil, Mamure in the Orinoco, Yaré, Tamishe or Tamishi in the Colombian Amazon, and under numerous other names, practically one for each ethnic group in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Species of Heteropsis are widely distributed in the Orinoco and Amazon river basins.
Leopoldinia piassaba Wallace (Arecaceae), known as piassaba in Brazil and piasaba, Chiquichiqui or Chiquichiqui in Colombia and Venezuela, and as "monkey grass" in English. It is restricted to black-water rivers in the upper Orinoco and Rio Negro river basins.
Ananas lucidus Mill. (Bromeliaceae), a domesticated species of pineapple known as Curauá in Brazil and curagua in Colombia and Venezuela.
Contact the library with any questions about our in-house or online exhibit programs.