Today’s Factismal: The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden was dedicated in 1938.
If you’ve ever had a sweet nectarine, a juicy mango, a dab of spicy horseradish, or a tender bamboo shoot, then you owe a debt of gratitude to David Fairchild. This inveterate explorer searched the globe for new and interesting plants to bring home to Miami. All told, he introduced more than 200,000 different plants to the United States including blight-resistant varieties of wheat and cotton that are now an economic bulwark.
Fairchild’s exploits so impressed his friends in Miami that one of them decided to build a monument to him. But what sort of monument would be most appropriate for a botanist? Nothing but the biggest, grandest garden would do. In 1935, Robert Montgomery began construction on the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Stretching over 85 acres, the park eventually became home to exotic plants from every part of the globe. And, in keeping with its namesake’s legacy, the staff conducts research on plant conservation and adaptation.
If you can’t make it to Miami to see the Fairchild in person, then why not build your own virtual botanic garden? LeafSnap allows you to identify hundreds of plant species from their leaves, flowers, and fruit, and includes interesting information on each species. Your pictuer of a plant is automatically added to the database, providing scientists with important information on plant distribution.