From Plant Press Vol. 17 no. 2, April 2014.
I have been here over a year now and it is thrilling to see the plant mounting program continue to grow and contribute to the permanent collection of the U.S. National Herbarium. It was a long winter with many snow days, but the plant mounting crew forged on and prepared some 1,876 specimens for the collection. We also have a number of additions to the plant mounting crew this year. Our new volunteers are Sara Ulfhielm Rekic, Ardith Harle, Pat Zangrillo, and Kenneth Fitzpatrick.
We have been working hard on mounting curator material, plus some interesting material from our legacy collections. Due to Andrew Clark’s hard work on helping the Department obtain Material Transfer Agreements with various Brazilian institutions , we have been able to accession more material from Brazil and are working on getting it mounted for the permanent collection. We have stressed how important these agreements are, and being able to add this material to the collection is demonstrated in the following example. The featured specimen here is a specimen of Fabaceae that one of our new curators Ashley Egan studies. Egan put together the following story:
Lima Beans! These two simple words are usually followed by a silent or audible ‘ew!’ – at least by kids. It seems that most children universally hate lima beans – how and where such loathing originated is – I believe – impossible to trace. And yet, it is portrayed in the literature again and again. Perhaps all kids have read the book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” in which poor Alexander experiences a number of trying things, only to be served lima beans for dinner. Or maybe kids just can’t overcome the image of “The Lima Bean Monster” conjured by Sammy’s repeated attempts to slyly rid his dinner plate of the endless lima beans put there by his mother for dinner day in and day out. And yet, it was only after Camilla Cream admits her love of lima beans that she is cured of her colorful illness brought on by conformity and peer pressure in “A Bad Case of Stripes.”