Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: the Remarkable Botanical Collection of Brother Gerfroy Arsène Brouard

From this weekend’s newspaper (sub/ad req), a piece about UNM’s Museum of Southwestern Biology taking responsibility for the remarkable early twentieth century plant collection of Brother Gerfroy Arsène Brouard:

A Smithsonian scientist eight decades ago joked that the mosses and lichens of northern New Mexico were sure to suffer before the determined onslaught of Brother Gerfroy Arsène Brouard.

A botanical collector of prodigious energy and meticulous habits, “Brother Arsène” was in fact more of a benefit to the science of botany in New Mexico than he was a threat to the region’s plants. But he did collect an awful lot of them.

Now, thanks to a series of accidents, some happy and some sad, a scientifically rich collection of nearly 2,000 plants gathered and catalogued by Arsène from 1916 to 1938 has found a home at the University of New Mexico.

Tim Lowrey and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico’s Museum of Southwestern Biology took possession of the Arsène specimens earlier this month from the College of Santa Fe, rescuing the “orphan collection” from the financial collapse of that northern New Mexico institution.