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Botanic

Garden
Meise
Annual report
2014

Foreword

The year 2014 was a truly historical year for the


Botanic Garden Meise. On January 1st 2014 the National Botanic Garden of Belgium became an agency of the Flemish Community. This completed the
transfer from the federal authority to Flanders
that had been agreed in 2001, as part of the Fifth
State Reform. The transfer signified that Flanders
finally acquired full responsibility of this worldrenowned scientific organisation.
Botanic Garden Meise is home to a collection of
more than 18,000 kinds of plants distributed over
glasshouses, gardens and arboreta in its 92 hectares domain. This valuable living collection represents one of the most diverse groups of plants
located in a single garden in the entire world.
The Gardens scientific patrimony, its collection of living plants, valuable herbarium and important library, remains the property of the Belgian Federal State, but is loaned to the Flemish
Community for an indefinite duration. This important point avoids the collection being divided
and dispersed among the different Belgian communities.
In March a new Board of Directors was installed, all dedicated to restoring the former glory
of the institute. With their combination of expertise and skills I am sure we can offer our collections, employees, and visitors a welcoming green
home on the outskirts of Brussels. We are not

alone to achieve our ambitious goals. We are also


supported by the Scientific Council composed of
university representatives from the Flemish Community and French Community, scientific specialists and foreign experts. Therefore, the Board is
assured of obtaining the best possible scientific
advice to support their decision making process.
Botanic Garden Meise also acquired a new
CEO, Steven Dessein. His experience and expertise reassures us that we have an excellent manager for one of the most important botanic gardens
in Europe. Thus, our institute stays committed to
performing scientific research of the highest quality, providing first class educational outreach and
aims to become one of Flanders most appreciated
tourist destinations.
Such dreams only become true if you can count
on highly experienced staff supplemented with a
dedicated group of volunteers. All of these people
demonstrate their commitment to the Garden daily so that together with you, and with all of our visitors, Botanic Garden Meise will continue to shine
as a world renowned home for scientific discovery,
education, conservation and tourism.
Dr. Jurgen Tack
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Content
Discovering and recording biodiversity
6 - 13
Safeguarding plant life
14 - 18
Understanding ecosystems
19 - 21
(Re-)connecting plants and people
22 - 23
Inspiring and informing
24 - 29
Bringing our heritage to life
30 - 36
Organisation
37 - 41
Facts and figures
42 - 63

Introduction

The Botanic Garden Meise is the only scientific


institute in Belgium which is focused on botanical
taxonomy. The description of new species and developing an understanding of the role these new
species play in ecosystems is of critical importance to our mission. In 2014, a large number of
scientific activities were realised. In total 99 new
taxa were discovered: along with many new sorts
of plants, fungi and algae. There was even a new
family and order of lichens described! Expeditions
to Thailand and Mozambique have also led to the
discovery of new species that will be published in
the coming years. The Botanic Garden also lives
up to its commitment to contribute to the global
documentation of plant diversity: In collaboration with Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden
(NL) we are now responsible for the publication of
Flora of Gabon, and new volumes of the Flora of
Central Africa are published in swift succession.
At the same time, our team of dedicated scientists have also focused their efforts to conserve
plant genetic diversity. For example, there is currently a study which seeks to determine the effects
of climate change on the sub-montane species
which occur in Belgium. Our expertise is also being shared with other organisations, for example
in the establishment of an education center in the
Virunga national park, Democratic Republic of
the Congo.
In 2014, the Botanic Garden received more than
126,000 visitors an all time record and in comparison with the numbers for 2000, more than double. The fine weather surely played its part but
the many initiatives which were set in motion to
enhance visitor experience have doubtlessly begun to have their intended effect. In 2014, visitors
could enjoy two new tropical rainforest greenhouses and end October the stunning orchid exposition Flori Mundi. These new initiatives, along
with the invigoration of existing plant collections,
such as the rhododendron collection, are aimed at
enhancing the national and international reputation of the Botanic Garden as a place to visit when
in Brussels.

In 2014, urgent renovation works were finally


started. The faade of the most iconic building of
the Botanic Garden, the Balat greenhouse, was
restored. In consultation with the Board of Directors and the Agency for Facility Management a
master plan was worked out for the Botanic Garden covering a period of 12 years. Several urgent
interventions were already carried out in 2014.
Looking back at 2014, we were saddened by the
sudden loss of our dear colleague Gert Ausloos,
head of Public Awareness at the Botanic Garden.
His vision was ambitious and focused on the future, he worked with great commitment and enthusiasm. His ideas will still live on and will inspire
those working in the Botanic Garden for many
years to come.
Last, but not least, the numerous achievements
of the Botanic Garden in 2014 have only been possible because of the high level of professional commitment of our staff, volunteers and park guides.
Working together with the Scientific Council and
the Board of Directors, we will build on past successes towards a bright future for the Botanic Garden Meise.
Dr. Steven Dessein
CEO

Discovering
and recording
biodiversity
At present the total number of plant species on
our planet remains unknown. Many are yet to be
discovered, especially in the tropics and in certain
groups like fungi and algae. This represents a serious scientific deficit, since species are the fundamental building blocks of ecosystems and knowing them is essential to our understanding of how
our living planet works.
Discovering, describing, naming and classifying species is at the core of our scientific research.
Our taxonomists combine classic methods, such as
morphology, histology and anatomy with modern
techniques including scanning electron microscopy, digital imaging and DNA barcoding. The result
aims to be a globally accepted, stable and scientific
ordering of all life forms in a system that reflects
their evolutionary origin. The taxonomic data and
identification tools, such as floras, developed by
our specialists are crucial for many other fields of
research and for commercial purposes.

Meise researchers describe


99 new taxa in 2014
Exploring the worlds most endangered ecosystems and discovering new species is part of the exciting work conducted by our researchers. In 2014, our scientists excelled by describing 99 new taxa
composed of 54 diatoms, 15 lichens, three fungi, three ferns, and 24
flowering plants previously unknown to science.
Traditional taxonomic studies are now supported by DNAbased taxonomy, which can reveal unexpected links between species and provide evidence for defining new higher-level taxa. In
2014, taxonomic studies conducted in Botanic Garden Meise supported by molecular findings resulted in the description of ten new
lichen genera, a new family (Lecanographaceae Ertz, Tehler, G.Thor
& Frisch) and unusually, a new order (Lichenostigmatales Ertz,
Diederich & Lawrey).
Important on-going work at the Garden is the study of thousands of specimens collected during the three-month long Congo
River Expedition in 2010. In 2014, these specimens revealed eight additional new lichen species keeping our taxonomists busy. Little by
little, these scientific discoveries improve our knowledge about the
tremendous biodiversity present in the riverine forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To complete a busy year for our lichen
team, the endemic Trapelia antarctica Ertz, Aptroot, G.Thor & Ovstedal, was discovered growing on a granite ridge near the Belgian
Princess Elisabeth Research Station. This lichen is one of the very
few living organisms able to survive the extreme climatic conditions
experienced on this continent.
The Sub-Antarctic region is a hotspot for diatom diversity,
which are of particular interest for biogeographic studies. Among
the numerous new freshwater diatoms collected and described from
this area during 2014, Halamphora ausloosiana Van de Vijver & Kopalov is worth a mention, as it was dedicated in honor of our late
colleague Dr Gert Ausloos (see obituary).

Sabicea bullata Zemagho, O.Lachenaud & Sonk,


a new Cameroonian Rubiaceae.

The Rubiaceae, or coffee-family, is one of the most diverse plant


families worldwide and has always been a particular specialism of
our researchers. In 2014, eight new Ixora species were described
from Madagascar in international scientific journals. Collecting in
African mountains often yields new discoveries. The recently discovered Rubiaceae, Sabicea bullata Zemagho, O.Lachenaud & Sonk,
was found to be locally abundant but endemic to the Western Cameroon Highlands.
New species are occasionally discovered among herbarium
vouchers. Taxonomists looking at preserved specimens of Begonia
clypeifolia discovered two additional Begonia species and two subspecies of this genus. These hidden discoveries were an important
because they are endangered in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. African novelties from the genera Combretum and Cyperus were also first published in 2014. All publications of new taxa are a prerequisite to the preparation of regional
Floras. Our scientists have had an exceptional year of discovery.

Little by little, these scientific discoveries


improve our knowledge about
the tremendous biodiversity
The highly variable Begonia clypeifolia complex required
taxonomical treatment (B. clypeifolia Hook.f. subsp. clypeifolia).
Photo Jacky Duruisseau.
7

Myxomycetes in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Myxomycetes or plasmodial slime molds are a fascinating group
of giant amoebae. Their life cycle comprises a mobile amoebic stage
that slides over substrate feeding on bacteria. In order to reproduce,
it transforms into static fruiting bodies containing spores. Myxomycetes can grow in all terrestrial ecosystems on decaying wood
and plant litter. Some are cosmopolitan, while others are associated
with specific habitats, for example on the bark of living trees or near
snowbanks in (sub) alpine regions.

Perichaena pulcherrima on twigs and aerial litter, new for


Central Africa, collected in Man and Biosphere Reserve
at Yangambi.

Myxomycetes are relatively well studied in the temperate zones


of the northern hemisphere. Over the last three decades efforts have
been focused on surveys in tropical regions. A checklist of African
myxomycetes published in Mycotaxon in 2009 (and based on literature data) reports only nine species from the Democratic Republic
of the Congo. Although a total of 21 species from this country are
treated in two volumes of the Flore Illustre des Champignons dAfrique
Centrale published in the early eighties by Botanic Garden Meise. In
2014, work started to publish a volume on myxomycetes in the series
Fungus Flora of Tropical Africa published by the Botanic Garden.
The herbarium of Botanic Garden Meise holds 1,094 myxomycete specimens from Africa, of which 407 (84 species) are from
the DRC. Most of the Congolese specimens were collected in the
provinces of Katanga, Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu during the period
1980-1990. During the Boyekoli Ebale Congo 2010 expedition an
additional 159 field specimens (50 species) were collected.
The visited region, located west and north-west of Kisangani, is
an unexplored area with regard to myxomycetes. Different habitats
were explored in 2010, from woodland clearings to primary lowland
rainforest. The substrates that yielded more than 60 % field collections were dead stumps, stems and trunks of various plants, including oil palms which were often covered by large colonies of myxomycete fruiting bodies. Leaf litter on the forest floor also proved to
be a productive substrate to sample and provided interesting species.
In 2013, a field survey was undertaken in the framework of the
COBIMFO (Congo Basin Integrated Monitoring for Forest Carbon
Mitigation and Biodiversity) project, in the Man and Biosphere Reserve at Yangambi. This recent survey generated 305 records representing 100 species, with the most important substrate leaf litter
where 55 % of all specimens were collected.

Physarum sp. on leaf litter, potentially new to science, collected in


Man and Biosphere Reserve at Yangambi.

The herbarium of Botanic Garden Meise


holds 1,094 myxomycete specimens
from Africa

The surveys of the Boyekoli Ebale Congo 2010 expedition and


the COBIMFO project in 2013 added 45 species to the checklist of
the DRC giving this country 129 species. This figure matches the
numbers in Madagascar, which means these two countries are the
second most diverse countries in Africa for plasmodial slime molds,
just behind Tanzania with 133 species. Despite this, 49 % of African
countries are reputed to have less than 20 species per country, although the conditions in many of them being ideal for myxomycetes.
This disparity demonstrates that they should be properly inventoried, a role that Botanic Garden Meise can lead on by organising field
surveys and by capacity building local specialists.

Improved tools to predict the global


diversity of soil-dwelling fungi
Predicting fungal diversity would ideally be based on identifying mycelia. Since the latter cannot be identified using morphological features, researchers have used fruiting structures, known as
sporophores, to determine fungal diversity.

DNA meta-barcoding techniques and annotated sequence databases have provided new tools for researchers to measure diversity.
One of the Gardens mycologists joined an Estonian-based team of
35 researchers willing to discuss and reconsider previous attempts at
estimating fungal diversity. Over the next two years the team collected soil samples in 365 natural ecosystems worldwide. Botanic
Garden Meise targeted its sampling in several Miombo forests in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The results of the teams project demonstrated that plant species richness was not the best determinate of fungal diversity. Climatic factors (mean annual precipitation, seasonality), followed by
edaphic (soil calcium, phosphorus, pH), spatial patterning (distance

from the equator) and fire periodicity, were all better predictors of
soil fungal richness and community composition at the global scale.
It was found that the richness of all fungal functional groups (e.g.
saprotrophs, symbionts and parasites) are unrelated to plant diversity, with the exception of ectomycorrhizal symbionts. This suggests
that changes to soil properties caused by plants, do not influence the
diversity of soil fungi.
The Team discovered that: geographically the plant-to-fungi
ratio was not constant, soil-fungal diversity increased towards the
poles, endemicity was strongest in tropical regions and declined
exponentially towards the poles. Many taxonomic groups were represented in distant continents suggesting that distribution of fungi
is more efficient at long-distance dispersal than macro-organisms.
This research fundamentally changed the general view on global
fungal diversity patterns indicating the plant-to-fungus ratio method overestimated ground-dwelling fungal richness by a factor of 1.5
- 2.5.
The collaborative study can be found in L. Tedersoo et al., Global
diversity and geography of soil fungi. Science 346, 1256688 (2014).
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256688

Termitomyces reticulatus (ADK6069), belongs to a very diverse group of


symbiotic fungi directly associated with termites, not plants.

In many countries checklists and other biodiversity data has


been used to calculate a plant-to-fungus ratio. In general, depending on location, this ratio ranges from one plant species for every
four to six fungal species. This ratio is based on a number of excellent, local surveys and has been used to base the estimate for the
global diversity of soil-dwelling fungi to around 1.5 million species.
Basing this analysis on sporophores is problematic because they often occur briefly and unpredictably. As a consequence, researchers
have looked for better ways to estimate diversity.

Olivier Rasp collecting and photographing


boletes in Xishuangbanna,Yunnan Province, China.

DNA-analyses reveal high Boletales


diversity in Northern Thailand and
Yunnan (China)
Boletales are a group of fungi with a global distribution. The
majority form symbiotic (ectomycorrhizal) associations with trees.
Most of the species known have been described from temperate regions, with little research carried out on tropical boletes. However,
tropical Boletales are very diverse, and they regularly challenged the
taxonomic classification mainly based on temperate taxa.
Southeast Asia encompasses three of the 25 most important
biodiversity hotspots in the world. Northern Thailand and Yunnan, in particular, shelter high biodiversity because they are located
at the confluent of temperate and tropical areas. Their landscape is
formed, mainly, by mountainous areas, which creates a mosaic of diverse forest habitats.
Since 2010, a Botanic Garden Meise researcher has collected
Boletales in Northern Thailand and Yunnan. In 2014, DNA analyses revealed the existence of over 230 Boletales species in the areas
investigated. Many of the species detected were new to science.
For example, in Northern Thailand, five new species were discovered from the genus Sutorius, a recently published genus with just
two described species (one from the Americas and Japan, the other
from Australia). Further, phylogenetic analyses revealed the existence of several genera new to science. Studies on Boletales diversity
in Southeast Asia has contributed to a greater understanding of the
evolution and systematics of this group and suggests that there are
many more taxa waiting to be discovered. Statistical analyses suggests that 300 species are likely to occur in Northern Thailand alone,
making this area a potential hot spot for Bolete diversity.

Pulveroboletus fragrans sp. nov., a species new to science producing a strong


aromatic smell, a distinctive and rather uncommon character among
Boletales. It was found in only one locality in Northern Thailand.

Many of the species detected were


new to science

Botanical diversity
in the Chimanimani Mountains,
Mozambique
The Chimanimani Mountains straddle the border between
Zimbabwe and Mozambique. They form an isolated range rising in
the east from the Mozambique coastal plain to the highest point at
Mount Binga at 2436 m. The mountains largely consist of quartzite
sandstones that weather into nutrient-poor soils. This combined
with isolation means that the area is represented by a high percentage of endemic and near-endemic flora. This is especially true on
montane grassland plateaus, slopes and bogs.
Historically most of the botanical research and collecting has
been done from the Zimbabwean side of the mountains which is protected by a National Park. This side, however, only contains about
20 % of the total area of the mountainside and in addition, very little
data has been collected from the area in the last 50 years. Information from the extensive and unprotected Mozambique side has been
very fragmented and is largely incomplete. However, it is known
that many rare and endemic species occur here, but have never been
officially recorded.
Recently artisanal gold mining has posed a significant threat to
parts of the unprotected Mozambique mountainside. In April and
October 2014, two expeditions were organised by the Royal Botanic
Gardens Kew, MICAIA (a local NGO based in Chimoio), Botanic
Garden Meise, National Herbarium of Zimbabwe and the National
Herbarium of Maputo.
The purpose of these expeditions was four fold to:
develop an up-to-date inventory of the rare and endemic
plant species, their threat status and distribution, particularly
on the Mozambican side of the mountains,
discover and record specific areas of high botanical or ecological importance,
assess the threats and possible long-term impacts of artisanal
gold mining on botanical biodiversity, especially on rare and
endemic species,
record and photograph the flora and upload it to the website:
www.mozambiqueflora.com.

Field collections.

Over a period of four weeks a total of 580 plant specimens were


collected. Whenever possible duplicates were collected for all four
participating herbaria (K, BR, SRGH, LMA). In most cases, silica-gel
samples for DNA analyses were also gathered. In this period, over
70 % of the target species were collected, many of them recorded for
the first time in Mozambique. In addition, 65 specimens of corticolous and saxicolous lichens were also collected for further investigation by Botanic Garden Meise.
The identification and confirmation of plant collections have almost been completed and all records and images of the first expedition are freely available online
http://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/outingdisplay.php?outing_id=32,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbart/
sets/72157644203545549/,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/62615101@N02/
sets/72157644547376913/
Among the preliminary results were five to six species that are
thought to be new to science. Results of the second expedition and
of the lichen collections are still being processed. The final results
and findings of the two expeditions will eventually be published in
an extensive report. This report will be a follow-up to the original
publications by Goodier & Phipps (Kirkia 1: 44-66, 1960) and Wild
(Kirkia 4: 125-157, 1963).

Field presses drying in the sun.

11

A new Flora at Meise


With an estimated 7,000 plant species, the central African
country of Gabon harbours the most species-rich lowland rainforest
of Africa. The multivolume Flore du Gabon offers essential tools to
identify these plants and as such is crucial to a wide audience, such
as researchers, conservationists, or interested amateurs. It also provides basic information for the strong conservation program in the
country, with 13 National Parks and 11 % of its surface protected. The
Flore du Gabon series was initiated by the Musum national dHistoire
Naturelle in Paris back in 1960, and taken over by the National Herbarium of the Netherlands Wageningen branch in 2005. But, with
the recent relocation of the latter to Leiden to join the Naturalis
Biodiversity Center, and its Editor-in-Chief, Marc Sosef, coming
to Meise to revitalize the Flore dAfrique centrale, its future became
uncertain. However, in 2014 we signed an agreement with Naturalis to jointly continue the Flore du Gabon, and to try and finish it in
five years. With that, we have strengthened our position as center
of expertise on the flora of the Central African region, and provide
significant support to the conservation of, research on, and sustainable use of Gabons exceptionally rich botanical diversity!

European Journal of Taxonomy


publishes its 100th issue
On October 24th 2014, the editorial team of European Journal of
Taxonomy was proud to publish its 100th issue of the journal, a beautifully illustrated monograph on African millipedes written by Henrik Enghoff, which describes 20 new species.
European Journal of Taxonomy (EJT) is a peer-reviewed international journal on descriptive taxonomy. Its content is fully electronic
and available by means of open access through the internet (www.
europeanjournaloftaxonomy.eu) without financial, legal, or technical barriers. EJT is the only taxonomic journal that collectively covers zoology, mycology and plant-related sciences, including fossils.
The journal was launched in September 2011 and has since published around 3,500 pages in which over 400 new species, genera and
higher taxa have been described. The journal is unique in its field as it
follows the Diamond Model of open access publishing in that all content is free to read and free to publish. The financial costs of the online journal are met by the natural history institutions that make up
the EJT consortium. This consortium is composed of the museums of
Paris (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Brussels and Tervuren (Belgium), London (UK) and Botanic Garden Meise (Belgium).

Cover of the 100th issue published by European Journal of Taxonomy. Cover


photograph by David Koon-Bong Cheung: Sanje Falls, Mwanihana Forest
Reserve, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania.
Above: Cover of the first new volume jointly published by Naturalis
Biodiversity Center and the Botanic Garden Meise which was completed
in 2014 and will appear early 2015.
Below: Flore du Gabon Editor-in-Chief Marc Sosef (right) and one of the
Gabonese editors, Henry-Paul Bourobou Bourobou (left).

All content is free to read and free to publish

Extinct grass found growing wild


in botanic garden domain at Meise

Re-newed production
Flore dAfrique centrale
In 2013, the Botanic Garden recruited a new editor to intensify
the production of the Flora of Central Africa series. This multi-volume work will eventually include over 10,000 species occurring in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi and
thus provide a crucial tool for plant identification, research and conservation in that region.
During 2014, the new Editor set up a strong international network of collaborators. Over 40 specialists joined and expressed
their willingness to contribute their knowledge to this endeavour.
Amongst them are seven botanists from the region. These include
those who already have great experience as well as promising, young
plant scientists. An important goal of our Botanic Garden is to increase education and training activities in Central Africa to assist
young botanists and increase the regional capacity in plant science.
The Flore dAfrique centrale series had a highly successful year in
2014 increasing its coverage by five family treatments (Caricaceae,
Colchicaceae, Ericaceae, Flagellariaceae and Restionaceae) with
several other manuscripts processed. This represents a flavour of
our concerted efforts to complete the monumental work of Flore
dAfrique centrale within 15 years.

During the assessment of the spontaneous flora in our Garden


we found an unknown grass of the Festuca ovina (Sheep fescue) complex. It was sent to specialists abroad, who identified it as Festuca valesiaca, much to our surprise. The occurrence of F. valesiaca in the Garden is restricted to warm, dry microclimates provided by the rather
steep, south-facing slope at the foot of a large beech tree.
F. valesiaca is a fine-leaved grass that grows from Central-Europe
eastwards to NW China. Its European populations are considered
rare or endangered. Officially Belgium lies outside its range, despite
recordings of this species in calamine (metalliferous) areas in the
southeast part of the country. However, the identity of these recordings have been repeatedly questioned by scientists because species
from the F. ovina complex are notoriously difficult to discern. However, by using plants from the herbarium at Meise we could confirm
the identity of the calamine Festuca as F. valesiaca. Specimens were
collected in Southeast Belgium a few times prior to 1860 and after
that it appears to have become extinct.
So how did this species end up growing in a naturalised area in
our Garden? We formed two possible hypotheses. This grass forms
a small colony of about a dozen plants growing in one area under
an old beech tree. It occurs there with another rare, fine-leaved fescue Festuca brevipila, which is believed to have been introduced accidentally from wild-gathered seeds destined for the wood lawns as
part of the formation of our 19th century English landscaped garden.
Seeds were probably collected in Southern Germany, where a restricted population of F. valesiaca also naturally occurs. Therefore,
the first hypothesis is that both species of fescue were introduced at
the same time and are thus termed wood lawn neophytes. If true,
this would mean that both grasses have survived in our Garden for
around 150 years. By looking at the natural distributions of all wood
lawn neophytes found in the Garden we are able to pinpoint the
probable locality where the grass seeds were originally collected.
The alternative hypothesis for the presence of F. valesiaca is that
it is an escape from the living collections, because this species has
also been cultivated for 25 years in the outdoor collections. Despite
this, there appears to be greater evidence to support our first hypothesis.

Location of Festuca valesiaca in our Garden.


13

Safeguarding
plant life
It is estimated that up to one third of plant species are currently threatened or face extinction in
the wild, mainly due to habitat fragmentation and
destruction, combined with climate change. Every
plant has a crucial role in a healthy functioning
ecosystem. Some may hold unknown treasures
such as molecules with helpful medicinal properties. Therefore, the safeguarding of plant species
is essential.
Our research contributes to the development of tools for in situ conservation in valuable
natural sites both nationally and internationally.
Off-site or ex situ conservation is equally important. We collect plant material from the wild for
preservation and propagation in our living collections, and in the collections of partner botanic
gardens. Our seed bank holds the seeds of many
rare and endangered species, thus safeguarding
critical genetic variation. In combining our expertise and collections we are able to assist with the
reintroduction of species in natural habitats both
now and into the future.

Plant reproductive traits may influence


species susceptibility to decline
Habitat destruction, eutrophication and fragmentation are generally considered the main factors behind population decline and extinction. Plant extinction is a complex phenomenon, for which we do
not always recognise the early warning signs. It is therefore essential to look at possible plant-related factors that might bias a species
vulnerability. If certain plant-related traits could be correlated with
species imperilment then a critical new assessment would be available to conservationists to help them predict species susceptibility
to local or global extinction.
Plant-related factors may include a range of characteristics,
such as reproductive-related traits. These may include species with
limited dispersal capacity, low seed production or those lacking
residual seed banks. Scientists at Botanic Garden Meise explored
whether reproductive-related traits determined population decline.
Ten reproductive traits were compared against species trend (an
index showing any decrease or increase in their frequency) in two
geographically distinct data sets, compiled from subsets of the Belgian flora (1,055 species) and the British flora (1,136 species). Of the
ten traits considered, the type of reproduction (seed or vegetative)
and the pollination mechanism (insect or wind) showed the strongest
association. We found a relationship between species trend (increase
or decrease) and the type of reproduction as well as the pollination
mechanism. These patterns were significant in both regions but the
magnitude and the direction of the relationship was different in Belgian and in British datasets. In Britain wind-pollinated species are
doing much better than insect-pollinated species, whereas the Belgian dataset showed that self-pollinators are doing much better than
insect-pollinated species.
Species imperilment was also associated with traits relating to
flower type, but again, results differed depending on the flora in
question. Analysis of the Belgian flora showed no direct link between flower shape and the tendency of a species to decline, whereas
plants from the British flora with tubular-shaped flowers were more
threatened than those that had a more open flower formation. This
pattern may be related to a decline of pollinating insects specialised
in deep corollas such as butterflies. Our analysis also highlighted that
species from the Belgian flora capable of self-pollination were less
inclined to be vulnerable to extinction than those requiring cross
pollination. This may also be due to a scarcity of pollinating insects.

Arnica (Arnica montana) is a self-incompatible species that totally relies on


pollinators for reproduction. It is endangered in Belgium.

We also demonstrated that species in the Belgian flora reproducing (mostly) vegetatively are at greater risk to population decline
than those reproducing from seed. This may be explained by the
fact that plants undergoing vegetative reproduction produce identical clones of themselves that may be less able to adapt to changing
conditions.
The study highlighted the importance of not only correlating different plant traits with population decline, but also the significance of comparing two distinct geographic regions. This latter
point demonstrated for the first time that the results are context-dependent. This indicates that reliably identifying species most prone
to extinction, solely based on reproductive traits, is problematic.

Bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) can reproduce from seeds, but seedling
establishment in the wild is rare.Vegetative reproduction is therefore
more important, which makes this species less able to adapt to changing
conditions. It is critically endangered in Belgium.
Photo Maarten Strack Van Schijndel.
15

Spruces fall under the spotlight,


as the Botanic Garden hosts
Belgian Dendrology Society
The annual study day of the Belgian Dendrology Society was
held at Botanic Garden Meise on 7th September, 2014 on the topic of
Picea or spruce.
In preparation for this day, all spruces in collection were located,
measured and mapped by geo-referencing. The identification of
each accession was verified. The collection totalled 66 accessions
comprised of 43 taxa. The living plant collections database LIVCOL
had 105 separate nomenclature records for Picea which were checked
and updated. All accepted taxa were given a common name in both
Dutch and French and all plant labels renewed. Data was shared with
the Belgian Champion Trees database (Beltrees), which revealed a
number of specimens as Champions. Our individual of Picea asperata
had the largest girth (148 cm) of any tree of that type in Belgium,
likewise P. meyeri (135 cm) and P. smithiana (36 cm) were also the largest recorded in Belgium.
As organisers of the Picea day we planned a preliminary day visit
to the Pinetum of C. Anthoine at Jamioulx. A renowned collection of
conifers with probably the best assortment in the country with over
1700 different species and cultivars. On that day delegates had the
opportunity to refresh their knowledge of Picea, a generally littleknown and unpopular genus, by trying to find, then identify different taxa.
On the following day, 46 members of the Society reconvened
at our Garden. During the morning delegates were rewarded with
interesting lectures by Prof. P. Goetghebeur (phylogeny & morphology), Ph. de Spoelberch (spruces from around in the world), J. De
Langhe (identification key) & M. Herman (wood technology). Dur-

Visit of the Belgian Dendrology Society: explaining our conifer


collection. Photo Koen Camelbeke.

ing the breaks delegates had the opportunity to look at a rich collection of spruce cones loaned by Arboretum Wespelaar and the wood
samples of W. Wessels.
The afternoon was dedicated to a visit to the Picea collection
with a field workshop on how to recognise the different species in
collection using vegetative characteristics from the key developed
by J. De Langhe. The identification process specifically focused
on the needles (discolourous or concolourous, directed forward
or sideward, rhombic-quadrangular of flattened, pungent or not),
shoots (pubescent or glabrous, yellow, ivory or brown) and buds
(resinous or not). We discussed other field characteristics and topics
of interest including the taxons natural distribution, their threats in
nature, hardiness, cultivation and horticultural attributes.
Most of our spruces are concentrated in the Coniferetum, planted over the past four decades. Others (i.e. Norway spruce) were
planted as part of the landscape at the beginning of the 20th century.
A third group dates to just after World War II. These formed the
green-belt around the buildings with another group planted on an
abandoned nursery in the early 1960s.
Besides the species mentioned we consider the following taxa
worthwhile of wider cultivation, P. abies Acrocona with its terminal reddish cones, P. orientalis with its tiny, dark-green needles and P.
torano with beautiful cones.
Picea abies Acrocona: young terminal cones,
hence the cultivar name (acro + cona).

Botanic Garden Meise contributes to


impact study for mining project and
inventory of a Ramsar site in Gabon
Gabon has the best-preserved forests in Africa. In a country
about half the size of France, c.80 % of its land surface is covered
in forest. Botanic Garden Meise is taking an increasing interest in
the study of its flora, and recently became co-editor of the Flore du
Gabon series. In 2013-2014, Olivier Lachenaud, researcher at the Garden, visited the country twice for a total of six weeks as part of the
collecting expeditions organised by the Missouri Botanical Garden,
USA. These expeditions were part of two major projects, both conducted in partnership with the National Herbarium of Gabon and
the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Dveloppement in Montpellier,
France).
The first projects aim was to conduct an environmental impact
study of a potential mining site in Mabouni where the company Eramet are prospecting. This area has deposits of rare earth elements,
in particular niobium, an essential metal used by the electronics industry. The site in question covers 20,000 hectares of forested, hilly
terrain that had not previously been studied. Our task was to document its flora and identify which species are in need of particular
conservation effort. Around 30 species of concern were identified,
of which five are new species and apparently endemic to the area.
Many of these species are found growing along forest streams, which
are vulnerable to mining activities due to changes in sedimentation.
Several areas were chosen to assess the changing impacts mining has
on this habitat. In addition, cuttings from the most critical species
were taken for propagation aided by a partnership with the expert
gardener Jean-Philippe Biteau (Director of Jardi-Gab, Libreville).

Rocky bank of a forest stream in Mabouni, Gabon.


This habitat is especially important for rare endemic species.

The second project, responding to a request by WWF-Gabon


and the Ministry of Water and Forests (Ministre des Eaux et Forts),
was a preliminary botanical inventory of the Bas-Ogoou Ramsar
site. This extensive watershed was classified in 2009 as a wetland of
international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The area
covers 862,000 hectares with an amazing diversity of habitats, including floating grasslands, savannas, terra firme forests and various
types of flooded forest. Yet its flora is poorly known. We visited five
sites in the area and found at least three new species that are apparently endemic to the region. Other exciting discoveries included
Macaranga letestui and Strombosia fleuryana, taxa that had not been
seen in the wild since 1908 and 1912 respectively, and found to be locally common.
The trips to Gabon have taught us much about the flora of this
country, and provide us with a mere glimpse of the wonders that remain hidden in these tropical forests.

Flower of Whitfieldia letestui, an endemic of southwest


Gabon and one of the species of concern identified
during the Mabouni project. This tall herb with attractive flowers grows along forest streams and can
be common where it occurs, but only four sites are
known. Photo Ehoarn Bidault.

Identifying which species are in need


of particular conservation effort

Forest-savanna mosaic near Lake Ezanga, Bas-Ogoou Ramsar site.


17

How do plants cope with climate change?


The rapidly changing climate is currently one of the biggest
threats to biodiversity on a global scale. Studies have shown that
climate change may cause 10 30 % of European plant species to
become extinct by the end of the 21st century. At Botanic Garden
Meise we examine how different plant species respond to climate
change. The results of this research will enable us to take appropriate conservation measures and identify the species potentially most
vulnerable and target their seed collection for conservation in our
seed bank. A study, financed with a Belspo Back-to-Belgium grant,
has enabled us to examine different aspects of climate change on a
number of indigenous plant species.
We selected Meum athamanticum as one of our study species.
This sub-montane species is restricted in Belgium to the highest elevations and potentially vulnerable to climate warming. This species
is unable to migrate upwards when the climate becomes warmer (as
predicted by most models) whereas a northward migration is hampered by habitat fragmentation.
To simulate climate warming and to study its effects on Meum
athamanticum, we placed open-top chambers around different individuals in the Hautes Fagnes region. The open-top chambers comprise small roofless greenhouses made of plexi-glass that increase
the average environmental temperature within the chamber by 1
C. By comparing the plants in the open-top chambers with control
plants we can quantify the consequences increased temperature on
flowering phenology, growth and germination of Meum athamanticum.
Plant species distributed across a large area are usually composed of populations adapted to local climate conditions. We sampled fruits and collected seeds of 35 Gentiana pneumonanthe populations across Europe to study how these populations are adapted to
local climate. We aim to grow 3,000 plants from these different
populations at Botanic Garden Meise, which will allow us to see how
plants adapted to climate and provide an opportunity to test whether the different populations are sufficiently genetically diverse to
evolve rapidly in a changing environment.
During the past two decades the average annual temperature in
Belgium has risen by 0.4 C per decade with precipitation remained
fairly constant. We are not only able to predict how plants will be affected by climate change, the seed bank of the Botanic Garden Meise
also provides an excellent opportunity to test whether plants have
already evolved to recent climate change.

Flowering Gentiana pneumonanthe in the Serra da Estrela, Portugal.

We are using seeds of five annual species that have been stored
in the seed bank of the Botanic Garden for 25 years to study whether
the observed temperature increase has already affected flowering
phenology, germination timing and leaf traits. This is done by growing plants from the stored seeds together with plants grown from
new seeds collected 25 years later at exactly the same location.

Ripe fruits of Gentiana pneumonanthe in the Kranzbachvenn, Germany.

Setting up open top chambers to artificially increase environmental


temperature for Meum athamanticum.

Understanding
ecosystems
In a world increasingly under environmental
pressure, plants, ecosystems and the services they
provide need to be maintained to keep the planet
healthy. Amongst other things they mitigate the
effects of greenhouse gasses, play an important
role in the global water cycle, and help combat
desertification.
The work of our researchers helps us understand how ecosystems function, and how they can
be described and monitored. They also investigate invasive species that influence native species.
Throughout the world, in Africa as in Belgium,
humankind is fully dependent on healthy ecosystems.

19

Reconstructing historical and recent


climate changes in East Africa
based on diatoms

As part of the project PAMEXEA (PAtterns and Mechanisms


of EXtreme weather in East Africa) funded by the Belgian Science
Policy, we are studying at high resolution changes in species composition of the diatom communities preserved in the sediment layers of Lake Challa, in order to retrieve more detailed information
on changes in seasonality and the occurrence of climate extremes
over the past 500 years. For this purpose nearly every varve was subsampled and permanent diatom slides made and analysed. To support the interpretation of the sediment analysis, the actual phytoplankton of Lake Challa was analysed based on a one-year monthly
sampling. Moreover, sediment trap samples were sampled monthly
and investigated since December 2006. Consequently, changes in
phytoplankton composition can be followed up over a longer monitoring period up to 10 years or even more. Linking the survey of the
recent phytoplankton and historical information on annual rainfall
variations and ENSO events to the observed changes in the fossil
diatom assemblages, will produce a more detailed perspective on

the impact of increased inter-annual rainfall variability and wind


conditions in East Africa due to anthropogenic climate change. The
goal of the PAMEXEA project is to provide developing countries and
their policy makers with basic guidance for sustainable agricultural
economy and appropriate water-resource management in a future
that will be characterized by climate change, growing demographic
pressure, and natural scarce water resources.

Sampling of the sediment core of Lake Challa on a yearly resolution.

Lake Challa, located on the foot of the Kilimanjaro,


on the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

Extreme climate events, such as catastrophic droughts and


heavy flooding, have recently affected several regions in East Africa
and have had a severe impact on the well-being of local populations
and their socio-economic systems. In the region of Lake Challa, a
crater lake located on the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the El Nio
Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has a strong influence on the regional
weather regime with heavier rains and flooding during El Nio years
and intense and prolonged droughts during La Nia years. Based on
thin-section analyses of an annual laminated sediment core of Lake
Challa, Wolff et al. (2011) reported a tight link between inter-annual
rainfall variability and the thickness of laminations (annual smallscale sedimentation of fine layers) also known as varves: thicker
varves correspond to drier and windier conditions, whereas thinner
varves correspond to wet years with less wind. The thickness of the
varves is mainly determined by variation in the abundance of diatoms, unicellular algae characterised by their silica skeleton. Windy
conditions mix the water column and stimulate algae growth and reproduction due to the upwelling of deeper nutrient-rich water.

Aliens in Antarctica
One of the most pristine environments on earth, the Antarctic
Region, is being threatened by foreign plants and animals that are
unwittingly being introduced to the White Continent in the luggage
and clothes of visitors. Every year, 33,000 tourists and 7,000 scientists visit Antarctica, many of them carrying plant seeds and spores
picked up from other countries they visited prior to their Antarctica
trip. Invasive alien species are among the primary causes of biodiversity change worldwide. Changing climates are making it easier
for these species to establish, become invasive, and ultimately disturb and destroy the naturally occurring Antarctic ecosystems.
The Botanic Garden Meise participated in the international
project Aliens in Antarctica. The idea behind this project was to
assess the environmental risks to Antarctica, by finding out which
seeds are being introduced, where they came from and where they
are most likely to establish. Researchers from more than 10 countries checked 850 tourists and scientific team members who visited
Antarctica during the first season of the International Polar Year
(2007) and asked questions about their previous travel. The sampling
process included the fine-combing and vacuuming of camera bags,
outer clothing, shoes and backpacks to pry out accidentally hidden
seeds.
The results were published in 2012 and 2014. On average, ten
seeds per person were found, with scientists tending to carry more
seeds than tourists. Using photographs in seed atlases and online
databases, it was possible to identify most of the 2,600 seeds. The
results indicated that half of the collected seeds and spores originated from other cold regions across the world and were known to
already have invaded cold-climate regions such as the Arctic and
sub-Antarctic.

Bart Van de Vijver and Marc Lebouvier (IPEV) vacuuming


clothes of a passenger on board of the research and supply
vessel Marion Dufresne. Photo Maurice Hull.

The study provided explicit evidence required for future management decisions necessary to conserve the vulnerable Antarctic
environments. Governments can use this risk assessment to determine which regions of Antarctica should be most carefully observed
and guarded. Visitors are asked to use simple, cheap strategies to
prevent introducing alien species such as cleaning their boots, bags
and clothing carefully before starting their Antarctica trip. Without
these measures, the face of the local Antarctic ecosystems will irreversibly be changed forever.

Fieldwork in the Atlantic Rainforest


of Brazil: the New World brings new
research opportunities
Our institute has a long tradition in studying African plant biodiversity, however, the New World flora is also well represented in
our collections with the renowned von Martius Herbarium as a notable example. Inspired by past expeditions of famous naturalists, we
embarked on a voyage to the New World ourselves and we travelled
to Bahia in Brazil. Our expedition party included two staff members
from Botanic Garden Meise, one of KU Leuven and another from the
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden.
Our focus was on the Atlantic Rainforest, a biodiversity hotspot covering a vast area along the coast of Brazil. Sadly little of the
original forest remains, despite this, it remains one of the richest biologically diverse ecosystems on earth with especially high numbers
of endemic species. These endemics provide a great opportunity to
study the origin and evolution of the Atlantic Rainforest. Based on
the research interests of the people participating, we primarily focussed on collecting Rubiaceae and Lauraceae species and on mycoheterotrophic plants (plants that receive all or part of their food from
parasitism upon fungi rather than from photosynthesis). By studying the endemics of these three different groups and by calculating
when they originated, it will be possible to calculate the age of the
Atlantic Rainforest.

The flowers of Rubiaceae can have spectacular colours.


21

(Re-)connecting
plants and people
Everywhere on the planet specific plant and
fungi species have provided local populations
with food, energy, materials for housing and
tools, fibres for clothing and medicines. In many
parts of the world plants remain the primary
elements in fighting hunger, disease and extreme
poverty. Plants also often figure in cultural expressions and religion. Nowadays, cultural plant
knowledge is being lost and with it the vital connections we have with plants and fungi.
Our researchers record how plants and fungi
are used so that this knowledge can be shared
and distributed. Our scientists ability to identify
plants, even from tiny or ancient remains, contributes to fields as diverse as forensic investigation and archaeology, thus constantly identifying
and establishing links between plants and people.

Capacity building and landscape


development in post-conflict
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Establishing close links with institutions involved in in situ conservation is a new venture for Botanic Garden Meise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Virunga National Park, run by the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour
la Conservation de la Nature), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in eastern DRC. It covers 7,800 square kilometres and is Africas oldest national park and one of the most biologically diverse
protected areas on the continent. In 2013, after years of insecurity,
the park launched a post-conflict program bringing electrical power
to rural and remote areas as a catalyst for job creation and poverty
reduction. The purpose of the program is to offer sustainable energy
alternatives in order to decrease pressure on the natural resources.
In 2015, the Virunga Foundation will complete the construction of a
14 megawatts hydroelectric plant in the region of Rutchuru, in North
Kivu. The Matebe plant will have an immediate positive impact in
terms of development of this region, but needs to be harmonised
with the natural landscape. The ICCN and the Virunga Foundation
asked the Botanic Garden to assist in providing botanical research,
landscaping and environmental education in the area.
The first objective of the project was to integrate the hydroelectric plant into the existing landscape. In order to make this happen
plant nurseries were set up to cultivate indigenous plants that will
eventually transform the site into an education and tourist centre
The project focuses on actions that involve local people, particularly youth, in the conservation and development of natural areas as
historical and cultural heritage. This is a very interesting and difficult challenge as the Virunga Foundation and Botanic Garden Meise
work in a post conflict zone where most people survive in refugee
camps.

Re-opening of
the Lisowski Arboretum at Kisangani
Since February 2012, Botanic Garden Meise has partnered with
the University of Kisangani and REFORCO (Congo Forestry Research) program to strengthen the curriculum of the Forest Masters
Programme in the field of ex situ conservation and to recover and improve the Faculty of Sciences green spaces. The latter included the
rehabilitation of the Lisowski Botanical Garden.
Professor Stanislaw Lisowski, professor of systematic botany
and plant sociology at the University of Kisangani, established the
garden in 1975 to provide students and teachers with botanical reference material for their studies. In its original structure the area of
the garden (7,800 m2) was divided into plots hosting representative
plants from the Kisangani region. Today the area has grown into an
arboretum at the heart of the campus.
In order to rehabilitate the arboretum and enhance its educational, environmental and recreational roles, major removal of rubbish and maintenance work needed to be done. The site was then
fenced to protect it from inappropriate use and the area enhanced
by positioning benches for visitors. The trees were labelled and, for
the most important species, descriptive panels placed to aid identification.
The CEO of Botanic Garden Meise, the faculty dean and the
most important representatives of Kisangani opened the rehabilitated arboretum on the 14th of June, 2014.
Lisowski Arboretum now offers a unique opportunity for students and visitors to appreciate the most representative species of
the tropical forest surrounding Kisangani. This is essential for research, conservation and the effective protection of the natural and
cultural heritage of the region.

The second objective of the project for our Garden was to promote environmental education in schools, civil society and the media in North Kivu, in particular to highlight the role of the Park in
preserving one of the richest regions for biodiversity in Africa.
It is anticipated that actions improving the livelihoods of these
rural communities around the borders of the protected area will reduce the pressures within the Park and this will amplify the efforts of
ICCN to safeguard the conservation of biodiversity.

Workers at the hydroelectric power plant of Matebe.

Students at the Lisowski Arboretum.


23

Inspiring
and informing
The Garden is home to 18,000 different kinds
of plant, set within 92 hectares of historical domain. It is a beautiful, diverse, green space and
a source of enjoyment, wonder and inspiration
tempting about 100,000 visitors per year.
Using a broad spectrum of plant displays,
museum artefacts, webpages, science communication tools, events, informal learning, awareness
instruments and experience-based educational
activities, the Garden has the potential to change
peoples understanding of the importance of
plants for human well-being and to emphasise the
vital importance of plant conservation.
Building on this understanding, the Garden
can stimulate people of all ages, backgrounds and
abilities to act in a sustainable and responsible
way.

A tropical rainforest voyage


Over the past decade many displays in the public glasshouses of
the Plant Palace have undergone metamorphosis. Plants have progressed from being displayed in large pots along bare earthen paths
to luxurious planted gardens with hard landscaped walkways. The
displays now have a greater focus on educational themes that support the role of our Garden. In April 2014, two additional landscaped
glasshouses opened displaying aspects from the world of tropical
rainforests. This development signifies that eight of the thirteen interconnecting glasshouses of the Plant Palace have been renovated
to a high standard.
The rich tropical displays, totalling 600 species were opened
with a fanfare of Pygmy songs and the splendour of Amazon tribal
face paintings. The first of the two new tropical glasshouses is situated next to the cool, damp Evolution House. As you pass from the
Evolution House a much warmer, humid environment grabs the attention of visitors. A small, corrugated roofed shack welcomes you
into a tropical garden full of edible, medicinal and ethnobotanical
plants from the wet tropics. Those adventurous-minded visitors are
welcome to cross the wobbly suspension bridge across a body of water.
The next, (much lower) glasshouse displays dense secondary forest vegetation reminiscent along roads, water courses and
tropical forest clearings. Here, giant herbaceous plants like spiral
gingers and bananas display their large and beautiful flowers, while
fast growing trees with stilt roots and spines block your view to the
rest of the display. Many travel stories mention these impenetrable
and dangerous forests, but do not worry, at Meise we have excluded
the snakes. One corner of the house displays a range of fascinating
myrmecochorous plants, species that have co-evolved with ants in a
mutualistic way. This relationship gives protection for the ant colony
and a source of plant food via ant frass.
The journey is temporarily halted in time as we await the next
phase of tropical redevelopment in the Plant Palace. Eventually, by
the end of 2017, the tropical forest will completely fill all five houses
of the northern wing of the Plant Palace. After passing through the
ethnobotanical and secondary forest displays previously mentioned,
visitors will continue their voyage into primary rainforest, past palm
trees, through treetops clothed with cascading epiphytes and finally
visit the forests of Central Africa, an area of the world where the
Botanic Garden focuses much of its scientific research.

Those adventurous-minded visitors are welcome to cross the wobbly


suspension bridge across a body of water.
Photo Lies Engelen.

The displays now have a greater


focus on educational themes

Pygmy songs during the opening weekend.

25

Flori Mundi: The orchid show


On the 25th of October 2014, a lavish festival opened with over
10,000 orchids, bromeliads and other tropical delights on display.
After months of preparation by the Gardens staff and volunteers
the grass and red carpets were finally rolled out and spotlights
switched on. This was going to be the biggest event of the year.
Cutting the ribbon at a nocturnal gala signified the beginning of
the month-long tropical festival. Young and old savoured a luxurious
flowering spectacle through tropical and sub-tropical glasshouses of
the Plant Palace. A large pyramid of Cymbidium orchids in the Spring
House was the first eye-catching display followed by our graceful
female statue dressed in a magnificent gown of Cyclamen. The enchanting trail continued along living paintings, flower arrangements and beneath cascades of Vanda orchids, decorative arches and
a chandelier arranged with mesmerising bromeliads. Interspersed
among the displays, in glass cabinets, were flowering examples from
our own living collections that included orchids and bromeliads. In
addition to the living plants, large photographs of elegant flowers
from our living collection were displayed as masterpieces.
Beyond any doubt, the pice de rsistance of Flori Mundi was the
large sphere, above the Victoria House pond, decorated with mini
Phalaenopsis. This arrangement appeared to float just above the waters surface and was encircled by water lilies and drifting candles.
The tour around the Plant Palace concluded with an opportunity for
the public to embrace and have their picture taken beneath an arbor
festooned with white and yellow blooms. On departing the Plant Palace there was opportunity to board an electric train that carried passengers on a sightseeing tour along Bouchout Castle and the park,
which was bursting with the tints of autumn.

Flori Mundi: In the Victoria House, over 27,000 visitors


admired a magnificent globe covered with thousands of Phalaenopsis orchids.

The lady statue in the Springhouse was dressed


up for the occasion in a magnificent gown of
Cyclamen.

During the five-week period, the festival attracted over 27,000


visitors. As the flowers in the festival faded plans were already being
drawn up for the 2015 display to beguile the public once more.

The construction of the sphere in the Victoria Glasshouse

The creation of Flori Munid:


the orchid show with Meise volunteers
Flori Mundi was the name given to the magnificent display of
orchids that graced the Plant Palace in 2014. This successful festival
would not have been possible without the dedication of our faithful
team of volunteers, including a group of 15 young people helping in
partnership with the Brussels Platform for Citizen Service.
A huge effort goes on behind the scenes to create and maintain
a wonderful array of colour and interest for the public. Prior to the
orchids arrival, our volunteers set up a range of display areas used
to show the orchids to their best effect. On arrival, the orchids were
carefully unpacked and sorted into species, colour and floral combinations. One team began preparing 2,800 mini Phalaneopsis orchids
for display. This involved drilling holes in their pots, running a cable
tie through the holes and removing loose substrate from around the
plant. These were attached to a large sphere and crossbeam positioned above the pond in the Victoria House. This was one of the
most flamboyant displays of the festival. After more than a week of
painstaking work the globe was festooned with beautiful flowering
orchids.
Another team artistically arranged Vanda orchids, Guzmanias,
Bromeliads and Tillandsia into bows and other ornaments distributed
in the tropical glasshouses. Some of these flower compositions were
entirely created by our passionate volunteers. The total amount of
voluntary help received over this short period was the equivalent
to more than six months of fulltime work. We, and all those who
witnessed the event, extend our gratitude to our volunteers for this
joyful and professional collaboration amongst the wealth of magnificent flowers that made up Flori Mundi.

Preparations by volunteers of the Botanic garden and


young people doing civil service.

A new collaboration with


the Brussels Platform for Citizen Service

27

Record number of Rhododendrons


planted in 2014 to enhance
the Gardens visitor appeal
After the expansion of our magnolia collection in 2013, we continued enhancing the attractiveness of our outdoor collections in
2014 by focusing on Rhododendron. Rhododendrons capture the imagination of visitors and brighten up the garden with their exquisite
flowers in all colours of the rainbow from early March to June.
The initial collection was laid out between 1984-1987 in the
centre of the Botanic Garden, an area now named Rhododendron
Wood or Woodland Garden. The initial selection of 480 species
and cultivars was based on hardiness, light requirements, lime tolerance, flowering display, colour, leaf form and availability in commerce or by exchange with other botanic gardens.
By the end of 1987 the collection included 140 plants. Additional
plantings in 1988 made the genus the largest outdoor collection with
119 species and 191 cultivars and hybrids.
A decline in resources to manage the collection and the occurrence of diseases (honey fungus, Phytophthora root rot) and pests
(e.g. Rhododendron leaf hopper) resulted in a gradual decline of the
collection. Action was needed and with a renewed enthusiasm from
staff and collaborators and additional financing a recovery program
was deployed in 2014. The Rhododendron Wood was enhanced by
193 plants significantly bolstering this part of the collection to 500
plants comprised of 341 taxa and 386 accessions. Rhododendrons
planted in other areas swelled this generas representation to 485
taxa (comprised of 145 botanical and 340 horticultural taxa) and 670
accessions.
Expansion has focused on groups of evergreen, large-leaved
hybrids (93 specimens), Williamsianum (8) and Yakushimanum (11)
hybrids and the azalea hybrid groups of Ghent (51), Knap Hill (13),
Mollis (8).

Newly planted collection of Hardy Ghent Azaleas.

Rhododendrons in bloom can be a big draw for visitors, consequently accessibility has been increased in the Rhododendron
Wood by the reconstruction of footpaths, while information has
been enhanced with new labels and maps based on the geolocation
of our plants. Without the dedicated work, expertise and perseverance of staff, gardeners and volunteers this enhancement of the collection would have been unachievable.
Next spring visitors will be able to enjoy and discover a glorious rhododendron display of plants named in honour of nobility
(Chevalier Felix de Sauvage, Countess of Athlone, Comte de Papadopoli), famous hybridisers (Souvenir of Anthony Waterer,
Koichiro Wada, Van Houtte Flore Pleno) and exquisite flower
colours (Goldsworth Yellow, Lees Dark Purple, Loders White,
Mosers Maroon, Pink Pearl).
It is anticipated that, in time, Rhododendron Wood will become
one of the many botanical highlights of the Garden and the region.

Large leaved rhododendrons (R. Gladys rose)


with bright flowers: an exquisite visitor attraction!

Rhododendron insigne.

Bronze model increases


the Gardens accessibility for
the parially sighted and blind

Therefore, to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the tactile writing system Braille in 2009, it was decided to seek funds to develop
a bronze architectural model of the Castle. It took over four years
to find the finances, commission the bronze and for the castle to be
made. With much gratitude, The Rotary Club Meise Bouchout
funded the commission, which was installed in the Castle by the
technical service of the community of Meise.
On the 27th of September 2014, the bronze architectural model
was officially inaugurated. The tactile nature of the model means the
castle can now be appreciated by all. It has become a popular feature
on special tours developed for the visually impaired and blind. This
tour already allows people to experience a three-dimensional model
of the Plant Palace, touch Braille maps representing the vegetation
types of the world and experience a planted zone that captivates the
sense of touch and smell. These developments mean our Garden is
becoming increasingly accessible to more members of the community.

Weaving with palm leaves.

Primary school children


explore the rainforest
In 2014 we developed a workshop for children aged between 6
and 12 to help them discover how animals and humans depend on
the rich botanical diversity of the rainforest for food and shelter, and
how people utilise tropical plant products in their daily lives. The
newly opened rainforest glasshouse was the ideal setting for primary school children to explore these issues in an exciting and creative
way in the context of formal education.
In addition to the topics included above, the workshop introduced children to subjects on the sustainable use of rainforest resources, with the startling question: Does the hamburger plant exist? This interesting question led the children to discover soya beans,
oil palms and to explore vegetarianism and the idea that we all have
choices in our lives to insure our impact on rainforests is achieved in
a more sustainable way.
The workshop was attended by several Dutch-, English- and
German-speaking schools who actively and enthusiastically engaged in discussions on sustainability. Both children and teachers
appreciated the workshops active and creative approach as part of
their themed week on these topics that fuelled future discussions at
school. This workshop has now become so successful that it has become a permanent offer to schools from the Botanic Garden.

Observing and drawing rainforest plant diversity.

The most iconic building of the Botanic Garden is the Bouchout


Castle. The oldest parts of this building date back to the 12th century.
In the last century, the Castle was home to the Empress Carlota of
Mexico (widow of Archduke Maximilian of Austria), until she died
in 1927. While the castle is a beauty to behold for the sighted visitor
it was not possible to easily convey this to those who are blind or
partially sighted.

29

Bringing our
heritage to life
During its long history the Garden has constantly been collecting and creating a wide range
of botanical collections, living plants, books, artefacts, instruments but also buildings, glasshouses
and landscapes. Many of these elements still play
an active role in our current work; books and
archives are consulted by researchers, historic
glasshouses protect plant collections and buildings and landscapes are visited and enjoyed by
our visitors.
This extensive patrimony requires constant
specialised care and upkeep and is an irreplaceable source to develop innovative approaches to
better fulfill the mission of the Garden in a changing world.

DNA barcoding for identifying


rainforest taxa in the DRC
Before the rise of the molecular era two decades ago, tropical
rainforest trees could only be identified using morphological traits
such as size and shape of leaves, flowers and fruits. Even though
morphological keys sometimes provide a helpful tool, often the help
of a specialist is needed to identify trees when no fruits or flowers
were available. Nowadays, the molecular technique of DNA barcoding provides a complementary tool for the identification of species. DNA barcoding uses a short genetic sequence in an organisms
DNA to identify it as a particular species. As a result, even the tiniest
leaf fragment can be used to delimit different species. For plants, the
most effective barcode regions are the matK and rbcL genes. Using
the barcoding technique, we were able to provide species names to
a large number of tropical rainforest trees in the region of Yangambi (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Many of these trees could
not be determined with traditional identification methods because
no fruits or flowers were present at the time of collection. The use
of modern molecular methods provided valuable insights into the
enormous biodiversity of African rainforests. For this study, a total
of 7835 African trees could be correctly identified demonstrating
that DNA barcoding is an extremely useful accompaniment to the
botanical knowledge of taxonomists.

Herbarium specimen of Trichilia gilletii De Wild.


sampled in Yangambi (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

The use of modern molecular methods


provided valuable insights
into the enormous biodiversity

Silica dried leaf samples used for DNA barcoding.

31

Herbarium specimens reveal


historic exchange networks of British
and Irish botanists
Scientific use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter
is now common place, but such networks are not a new invention. In
the mid-19th century, as a result of the expansion of the rail network,
the cost of postage dramatically reduced. Botanists took advantage
of these developments to establish societies to exchange herbarium
specimens. Two such societies were, the Botanical Exchange Club
of the British Isles and the Watson Botanical Exchange Club. These
societies were the scientific social networks of their time. Botanists,
both professional and amateur, took advantage of these networks to
study botany internationally.
Collecting herbarium specimens was a popular hobby in the 19th
and early 20th century. It was seen as a wholesome scientific pursuit that women and the clergy could engage in. Their legacy is the
hundreds of thousands of herbarium specimens in hundreds of herbaria across the world. The exchange of these specimens has helped
spread botanical knowledge widely, but it is difficult to reconstruct
the network and recognise the contribution of the individuals within
the network.
Working in collaboration with the Herbarium@home project in
the United Kingdom and Ireland we have managed to partially reconstruct the network of 19th and early 20th century botanists. Herbarium@home is a website where anyone can contribute to documenting herbarium specimens and has already documented almost
150,000 specimens from 19 different herbaria. One of the important
results, in addition to liberating botanical data, was the evaluation of
the role women had in this historic network. It appears that women
had a vital role in collecting herbarium specimens in contrast to their
contribution to botanical literature at the time.

The Bouchout Declaration:


Promoting open access
to biodiversity information
In 2014, the Garden hosted the final event of the pro-iBiosphere
project. This project aimed at making progress towards the global
acquisition, dissemination and integration of biodiversity knowledge. The project foresees a future where this knowledge is not
restricted to the few people with access to a specialist library, but
is freely available to all digitally. To promote this ideal the project
launched the Bouchout Declaration, named after Bouchout Castle
at the heart of the Botanic Garden (www.bouchoutdeclaration.org).
The declaration promotes free and open access to biodiversity information, but also encourages adequate attribution of the creators
of this knowledge. So far 90 institutions, including some of the biggest museums and herbaria in the world, have signed the declaration. Although the pro-iBiosphere project has now finished we hope
that the Bouchout Declaration will continue its legacy by promoting
open access to biodiversity data to all.

Over the period studied womens membership of the Botanical Exchange Club of the British Isles and the Watson Botanical Exchange Club increased from 10 % to 20 % in the early 20th century.
These percentages are much higher than other scientific societies of
the time, some of which prevented women from joining.
Various versions of the Bouchout Declaration logo can be downloaded
here http://www.bouchoutdeclaration.org/downloads/

The attendees at the pro-iBiosphere final event held in Bouchout Castle


in June 2014 where the Bouchout Declaration was launched to promote
open access to biodiversity information.
An example of a botanical exchange network from herbarium specimens
collected between 1878 and 1888. Each circle represents a person and
its size represents the number of specimens they exchanged. The lines
represent the connections between people determined from their names
on herbarium specimens.

Flasks with collection specimens from the 1870s.

Research on historical lacquer:


sampling resins from the
Cabinet of Botanical Curiosities
Botanic Garden Meise holds a vast array of diverse collections
that can be utilised for a wide range of purposes. In 2014, we were
contacted by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage who requested our assistance to identify the ingredients of old lacquer recipes.
Resins were extensively used as constituents to lacquer because
when dissolved in non-aqueous solvents they dry and form a protective, sometimes pigmented coating. From the 16th century, furniture
and other objects were coated with European lacquers since the
export of Asian lacquer-tree resin (especially Toxicodendron vernicifluum) was strictly prohibited.
Our Botanic Garden was happy to help with the Royal Institutes request, which gave an opportunity for focused research on
the Cabinet of Botanical Curiosities. This collection contains a surprising diversity of mostly vegetable objects (about 15,000) in flasks
and boxes which are complementary to the herbarium. The oldest
specimens belong to the Product and Seed Collection of the famous Herbarium Martii, purchased by the Garden when it became
the State Botanic Garden in 1870.
The investigation into the ingredients of lacquer began with an
initial selection of 150 specimens. From these 50 samples (mostly resins) were shortlisted as ingredients of old lacquer recipes, although
not all exudates were of straight plant origin. Many copal resins were
sampled. These included: East African or Zanzibar copal, esteemed
among the principal commercial copals to be the toughest, West
African, Sierra Leonean or Congolese copals once the universal
resin of varnish makers, American copal, and the valuable Australian kauri copal. Other plant resins of the selection have imaginative
names like mastic, gamboge, sandarac, fossil amber, and dragons
blood. Shellac was an odd-one-out because this product is derived
from lac insects, which feed on a variety of trees and use the resinous

Tragacanth, a gum seeping from Astragalus sp.


in twisted ribbons or flakes.

secretion of the host plant to protect their larvae. One more secret
of natures factory revealed.
Conducting this research emphasised the importance of the
original labels information, as this provided evidence to match the
original ingredients with the corresponding plant taxon.
Identifying lacquer ingredients using the Cabinet of Botanical Curiosities, old manuscripts from von Martius and information
from the library demonstrated the importance of having a range of
varied collections at Botanic Garden Meise. Hence, for the first time,
manuscripts and library data contributed to the value of the Cabinet
of Botanical Curiosities even before the specimens were databased.
33

Rediscovery of
a forgotten treasure
Photographs speak louder than words, a statement that was
certainly true when we rediscovered a collection of c.2,000 glass
plate negatives at our Botanic Garden. These images had remained
untouched for decades. The glass negatives date to a period between
1880 and 1930 and are considered a real treasure. Many of the images
comprise of views buildings, gardens, greenhouses, living plants and
herbarium specimens from the collections located at our Gardens
former site in Brussels of this large haul only 20 plates are attributed,
those taken by Belgian photographers Leon Gois and Felix Lambert.

Knowing that these images had great value we began a conservation project. Glass plate negatives were cleaned and placed into
non-acid paper envelopes and scanned. All images were then databased with a full description added, this included annotations from
their old boxes, information contained on the slides themselves and
any other associated information, e.g. handwritten notes.

The Italian Garden in central Brussels.

We appreciated that these images deserved publication because


they represented an entire segment of history spanning the turn of
the last two centuries. This is not only valuable for our institute but
also for those interested the history of Brussels, architecture, botanic gardens, Africa under settlement, the evolution of landscape
in Belgium and the history of photography in our country. As a consequence, some of the images have been used to illustrate a very interesting book about the history of our botanic garden. All images
will be published on Botanic Garden Meises online library catalogue
bringing these important images to a wide audience.

Gardener in the fern glasshouse at


the botanic gardens former home in central Brussels.

In addition to this first batch of glass plate negatives, we also discovered two additional batches of negatives. One of these included
c.200 of vegetation in Belgium taken by Jean Massart (1865-1925),
probably as a consequence of the large photographic campaign between 1904 and 1911. Some of these images have previously appeared
in publications including the notable Aspects de la vgtation en Belgique. The final batch of glass plate negatives represented 160 plates
depicting nature and daily life from the colonial time in Congo, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These date from the expeditions that the
pharmacist and collector Albert-Louis Sapin (1869-1914) undertook
between 1902 and 1914.

History in the Botanic Garden,


a joyful and reliable tool
The Botanic Garden is a gold mine of historical sources of information, such as archives, old periodicals, pictures etc. It is therefore
no surprise that, in the past, collaborators of the institute contributed information about the history of botany.
This tradition continues today, with the Botanic Garden playing
an evident role in national and international aspects on the history of
science. In 2014, an innovative publication on the history of Darwinism in Belgium and another, on the history of tensions between professional and self-made botanists within the Royal Botanical Society,
were published.
Presentations about the history of our Botanic Garden, and the
history of the Royal Botanical Society (at the Arboretum Gaston Allard in France and International Conference of the European Society
for the History of Science in Lisbon) were given, as well as a lecture
on early ecological concerns in Belgium (during the 19th century)
presented at the Universit libre de Bruxelles (ULB). All these events
helped assert the Botanic Gardens reputation for historical skill.
The Garden has a representative Historian-Archivist on the
committee that represents Belgium in the International Union of
the History and Philosophy of Science. He also collaborates with
the academic research unit Mondes moderns et contemporains at the
ULB, where he is also a scientific collaborator. He has also evaluated a Masters Thesis on the history of mycology at the Universit
catholique de Louvain.
A source of fascination for the layperson and the scientist, pure
research on the history of science and epistemology creates an understanding about human activity (including science). In order to
achieve this, more than 15 presentations have been given on the history of the institution, on 19thcentury plant hunters and the history
of ecological concerns among other topics.
The Botanic Garden has been involved in a number of high-profile events during 2014, these have included: Viva Brasil! Belgians in
Brazil (BELvue Museum, Brussels, 12/6-31/8), the Year of Flora (Brussels, March 2014-March 2015), and Brussels, capital of Flora (Halles
Saint Gry, Brussels, December 2014-February 2015).
Our Historian-Archivist has been asked to collaborate with the
exhibition: Orchides, cacao et colibris, Explorateurs et chasseurs de plantes luxembourgeois en Amrique latine, to be held in the Natural History
Museum in Luxembourg. Our historical expertise on plant collectors, botany and horticulture was also highlighted in a long article
on horticulture in Brussels during the 19th century in Hommes et
Plantes, the periodical of the Conservatoire des Collections Vgtales
Spcialises (France). While an account of the history of the Botanic
Gardens collection of succulent plants was promoted in the magazine of les Amis du Jardin exotique de Monaco.

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Extensive appeal was made to the collections and the expertise of Botanic
Garden Meise for the project Year of Flora. Its success is reflected in the
wide media attention for this project both on TV, radio as in magazines.

All these activities led to an increase in the number of requests


for historical data from the Library of Botanic Garden Meise. These
came from a range of sources from academics, researchers, and
students, but also from non-professionals inspired by our historical
outreach. This information has benefitted the subjects of humanities and botany. This was illustrated at the end of the year through
extensive archive beachcombing that was meant to document the
samples of the former Forestry Museum.

Denis Diagre, historian and archivist of the Botanic Garden,


guiding a group of visitors around the exhibition Brussels, Capital of Flora,
which was the summit of the project Year of Flora.
35

Its getting cold in the collection


The Garden holds around four million preserved specimens,
mainly dried plant material, from around the world. One of the principal missions of our Garden is to curate this rich collection so they
are available for research. If looked after properly, herbarium specimens can be conserved for centuries and consulted by scientists at
any time.
Conserving these specimens is no straightforward task. One of
the biggest problems is insects. Herbaria worldwide have a constant
battle to reduce insects from destroying their collections and need
to take urgent action when outbreaks occur, such as the Drugstore
beetle (Stegobium paniceum), which is extremely hard to eradicate.
The most efficient way to maintain a herbarium is to provide an
atmosphere with constant low humidity and temperature. Unfortunately, this is not an option for our Garden in our present building.
It is therefore important to practice good husbandry to reduce pests
in the collection.
After reviewing several techniques freezing was selected as the
best method to kill insects. In autumn 2013, a large freezing room (ca.
60 m3) was installed in the herbarium building. This is used to freeze
specimens for a period of a week, which was sufficient to kill insects.
Each week, herbarium material from 12 cupboards were frozen.
This method is very labour-intensive (in excess of one full-time
member of staff). It involves the removal of specimens from cupboards, placing them into the freezer and then after two weeks reversing this process. While empty the cupboards are treated with a
long-lasting insecticide with low human toxicity. The procedure for
freezing the entire collection will take two years. Once complete,
the process will begin once more. This work has a major impact on
herbarium management and, sometimes, the availability of herbarium material for research. The weekly freezing cycles also uses considerable energy, but considered a small price in order to safeguard
our historical, cultural and scientific treasures. By the end of 2014,
c.60% of our vascular plant specimens had received the freezing
treatment. The results to date demonstrate that this process is very
effective because after eight months the treated specimens remain
pest free.

With 86 endemic species (and 19 sub-specific taxa), the genus


Crotalaria (Fabaceae) has more endemic taxa than any other in
Central Africa. Here shown, from left to right, are C. germainii,
C. andromedifolia, and C. minutissima.

The endemics
of Central Africa
Endemic taxa are those that naturally occur in a given area and
nowhere else. Though a subjective concept, all known living creatures are endemic to Earth, this term is most commonly used to refer
to organisms occurring only in a specific continent, region, country,
or locality. Endemic plants are of particular interest to botanists and
are often prioritised in conservation programs because their narrow
distribution can make them particularly vulnerable to habitat loss
and environmental change.
The Botanic Garden has been developing a list of endemic vascular plant species (and sub-specific taxa) of Central Africa since
the end of 2011, covering all endemic flowering plants, cycads, ferns
and allies occurring only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Rwanda, Burundi, and eventually neighbouring countries (the Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola including Cabinda). This information will
help to establish a Red List for Central Africa, highlighting taxa of
most concern.

On a weekly basis around 25,000 herbarium specimens are taken from the
shelves to be frozen in, a great teamwork!

Compiling the list is not a straightforward matter, but a dynamic


process. Taxonomists redefine taxa as new information comes to
light, while additional fieldwork can modify a taxons distribution
pattern. During the middle of 2014, a significant milestone was
reached with all specimens of taxa endemic to the selected area
having been databased: more than 30,000 specimens, among which
22,000 firstly recorded for this project. In total these specimens
represented more than 2,800 taxa. This data is already providing us
with the identity of biological groups and the location of geographical regions particularly rich in endemics (namely for the last, the Rift
Valley in the East and Katanga in the South).
Publication of the list of endemic plants of Central Africa (as defined above) is expected in 2015.

Organisation
Our Garden is an ever-changing organisation
with about 180 members of staff, 70 volunteers
and 20 guides. The domain, which covers 92
hectares, houses about 50 buildings where people
work, meet and preserve plant collections. One of
the challenges will be to prepare our Garden for
transition. Indeed, it is absolutely essential that
the Garden becomes less dependent on fossil fuels
and reduces its environmental impact. Numerous
responses will have to be developed on all levels
of the Garden.

In Memoriam Gert Ausloos


We mourn the tragic departure of our friend and colleague Dr
Gert Ausloos, Head of Education (SEED) and member of the Management and Scientific Boards at Botanic Garden Meise who died
suddenly on Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at the age of 47.
Gert Rene Jos Ausloos was born in Tienen on February 24th in
1967. He grew up in the rural village of Oplinter where he became
fascinated by nature. In his final year at the O.L.V. College of Tienen,
he was selected for the converted Jacques Kets Award presented to
young individuals demonstrating a love for nature.
Inspired, Gert continued his studies in the natural sciences and
in 1985 started his degree in biology at the University of Leuven,
which he achieved with Great Distinction. His thesis wound-induced signal transfer in Lycopersicon encouraged him in the direction
of plant physiology. He went on to conduct research in the lab of
Prof. J.C Vendrig focusing on the function of proteinase inhibitors
in the defence system and floral biology of Solanaceae, which gained
him the degree of Doctor of Biology (Botany) with the Highest Distinction in 1996.
During his doctoral research he passed on his enthusiasm and
love of botany to countless biology students while assisting exercises in microscopy and during excursions to the National Botanic
Garden of Belgium. These wonderfully elaborated excursions and
the Gerts work on the permanent scientific and educational plant
museum in the Ghent Hortus Michel Thiery caught the attention of
the management of the Garden, because when our Botanic Garden
decided to invest more into education Gert was selected as best candidate.
He entered our Gardens service on January 20, 1997. Gert established the educational service from point zero and expanded it
to a team of dedicated staff that, besides the pure education, also
delivered communication, tourist reception, special events, graphic
design and the volunteer service. Over 17 years Gert gave his heart to
the Garden and achieved wonderful public exhibits about the lesserknown history of the rose, on botanic illustrator Albert Cleuter, orchids, ikebana, bonsai, aquarium plants and many others too numerous to mention. He was the enthusiastic leader of the renovation of
the Plant Palace and always a welcome guest at international meetings of botanic gardens and the force behind guide training under
the umbrella of the Belgian Network of Botanic Gardens (VBTA),
which he organised on four occasions.
Gert loved to convince people that plants are dynamic organisms that play an essential role in our daily lives. The shock that reverberated through the Botanic Garden at his sudden passing will
long remain, but his legacy to the world of botany and on all those he
encountered will never diminish.

Awards for researchers


of the Botanic Garden Meise
Fabienne Van Rossum, researcher at the Botanic Garden Meise
has been recognised for her outstanding work on the Belgian flora
and vegetation by being awarded the Royal Belgian Botanical Societys coveted Franois Crpin Award. Named after the renowned
Belgian botanist and former director of our institution this award is
presented for exceptional achievements. Dr Van Rossum received
her award for studies on pollination patterns within fragmented
plant populations and demonstrated that restoration of pollen dispersal is a key factor for ensuring the long-term persistence of fragmented taxa. The establishment of biological corridors also reduces
spatial isolation between plant populations by providing nesting opportunities for pollinating insects.
Emiel Van Rompaey was a famous amateur botanist and founder
of the I.F.B.L. (Institute for the floristics of Belgium and Luxemburg),
an association of benevolent individuals interested in floristics. In
his honour (every second year) botanical studies on the Belgian and
Luxemburg floras are selected for the coveted Emiel Van Rompaey
Award. In 2014, this award was presented to three researchers at
Botanic Garden Meise. Arthur Vanderweyen and Andr Fraiture received the award for creating a checklist of Belgian smut fungi (Ustilaginales) comprising 88 species, 18 of which were previously unrecorded in Belgium. Smut fungi are important pathogens responsible
for plant diseases and economic loss in yields, namely on grains.
Meanwhile, Dries Van den Broeck received his award for a survey of
epiphytic lichens and their lichenicolous fungi in the Brussels Capital
Region. The results of the survey showed that the greatest influence
on species richness and distribution was tree girth and air pollution.
Lichens are reliable bio-indicators and useful for monitoring urban
air pollution. Dr Van den Broeck also found 146 species, about 65 %
of the recorded epiphytic lichen flora in Flanders. Botanic Garden
Meise is proud to see so many distinguished researchers receiving
recognition in 2014.

Micheline Wegh and Dries Van den Broeck, winner of the Emiel van
Rompaey Award, studying lichens in the Brussels-Capital Region.
Photo Danil De Wit.

The laureates of the 2014 botanical awards 2014 (from left to right:
Andr Fraiture, Kenny Helsen, Fabienne Van Rossum, Dries Van den Broeck,
Arthur Vanderweyen).

A wild bee (Lasioglossum sp.) collecting pollen.


Photo Daniel Parmentier.
39

The first gathering of


volunteers and guides from
the VBTA network
Botanic Garden Meise was host to the first ever gathering of
volunteers and guides of the Association of Botanical Gardens and
Arboreta in Belgium (VBTA) in 2014.
The meeting was represented by enthusiastic participants
from the arboretums of Kalmthout, Hof ter Saksen, Robert Lenoir,
Wespelaar and the botanic gardens of Antwerp, Gent, Leuven and
Meise.
The day began with a presentation about the types of voluntary
work conducted at our Garden. This was followed by the group undertaking an ice-breaking exercise sharing some of their earliest
memories about plants. Participants were then taken on a guided
tour around the Garden and paid a visit to the impressive Flori Mundi
flower show. Throughout the tour the Botanic Gardens volunteers
and guides proudly explained and demonstrated the important work
that they have been involved in. This included: mounting herbarium
specimens, planting ground cover plants in the Fruticetum collection, geo-locating and collecting data of over 2,600 trees, and helping on a Plants in our daily life workshop for school children.
The final reception produced enthusiastic discussions and networking between the different gardens. A fascinating meeting of
active plant lovers that should boost the skills and experiences of the
volunteers and guides of the network.

The new mastic is a beautiful sight.

The Balat glasshouse,


a national treasure, restored
In 1854, the royal architect of King Leopold II, Alphonse Balat,
constructed a small house to grow the giant water lily, Victoria amazonica that was recently discovered in tropical America. The house
was initially constructed in Brussels Zoo in Leopold Park only to be
moved twice, to the Gardens former home in the centre of Brussels
and then, in 1941, to Botanic Garden Meise. It is arguably one of the
most important glasshouses in Belgium.
Due to a lack of funding the house had not received specialist
care for thirty years. This meant that the Balat glasshouse was in
a very bad state. The framework of the glasshouse needed urgent
restoration. The main damage was metalwork to oxidation resulting
from flaking and fissured paint. Silicone paste and mastic, used to
fix the glass, was weathered and crumbling at various locations. This
was about to change in 2014.

Guided tour in the Fruticetum. The plants are grouped according to their
relationships, following the evolutionary system of Dahlgren.

A volunteer demonstrating the skilled work of mounting


a herbarium specimen.

A specialised firm, with high respect for ancient techniques,


performed the restoration under the supervision of the Technical
Service and the Gardens Landscape Architect (who wrote tendering specifications, issued a public tender and monitored the project).
The restoration procedure involved the removal of glass and
sandblasting the metal framework. Once done, the framework was
painted with three different layers of paint and sash bars covered
with a new layer of special white mastic. The mastic was comprised
of a specific mix of linseed oil and chalk that helped preserve the
flexibility of the material. The result turned the glasshouse from a
sorry state to a beautiful piece of art situated within the Gardens
Herbetum, worthy of being called one of the most important glasshouses in Belgium.

Varied work gives visitors


new experiences and safeguards
collections
The technical service of our garden normally operates behind
the scenes to make sure the Garden is a pleasant, safe and suitable
environment for visitors, staff and plants. As in previous years, 2014
was a busy year with a wide range of projects undertaken and completed.
Our Garden is fortunate to have a historic castle on its grounds.
The roof of the castle offers a wonderful panorama. Previously, this
vantage point was not accessible to visitors because it was unsafe.
The technical service set about changing this by removing slippery
duckboards, replacing them with concrete floor tiles, and installing
a safety gate. Visitors now have a magnificent vantage point to view
our historic landscape.
The castle requires special care to maintain it. In 2014, its external woodwork was painted, and 96 windows and 16 doors repaired.
The Bouchout Castle is now a dazzling sight in the middle of the
Garden grasping the attention of both visitors and staff.
Ensuring the public are able to comfortably reach the site is also
important. Pathways around the tree and shrub collection, known
as the Fruticetum, have been poorly drained for many years with
surface water appearing after rainfall. This often inhibited visitors
exploring the wonders of this collection. We installed a new drainage system to remove surface water benefiting both visitors and the
plants that grow there.

A new vantage point on the castle roof is opened.

The Plant Palace is one of our most frequented destinations


for visitors. Our service developed the necessary infrastructure to
achieve the future expansion of the Rainforest biome to other glasshouses. This work included installing drainage canals, pathways and
plant beds.
Another important feature of the Garden is the orangery. The
orangery forms part of the north-facing wall of the walled garden,
yet until 2014, it was not possible to view the walled garden from the
interior of the orangery. This all changed when a new large doorway
was installed allowing people to view the wonderful perspective of
the inner garden from the comfort of the restaurant.
The herbarium building is a very important depository for millions of preserved plant specimens used in research. It is therefore
vital to insure these specimens are protected. The flat roof needed
urgent renovation to prevent leaks entering the interior of the building. In collaboration with a building contractor, chimneys removed,
the roof was sealed and then covered with a layer of isolation to the
depth of 10cm. This work is expected to reduce the energy cost of
heating this building by about 10% per year.

The Fruticetum allows visitors feet to remain dry once more.

The Balat glasshouse restored


to its former glory

The herbarium roof under renovation


to stop leaks and increase its energy saving capacity.

Facts
and figures

Finances

Progress of self generated income

Financial Result (K)


The available budget for 2014 was 12,064 K of which 11,535 K
was used for the financial year in question.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

1,170

1,449

1,002

1,181

1,288

Self generated income

2014
1,600

Acquisitions

12,064

Expenses

11,535

Budgetary year balance

529

1,400
1,200
1,000
800
600
400

Breakdown of financial income

200
0
2010

Financial income consisted of 10,776 K from the Flemish Government and 1,288 K in total from self generated income. This
internal income came mostly from external projects, consultancy
work and ticket sales. In comparison with the two previous years,
self generated income has risen further. This is mainly due to an increase in income arising from ticket sales. Income from projects fell
due the ending of the digitalisation project for the Mellon Foundation for which the Botanic Garden received approximately 200 K
per year.
Self generated income

Lease
Entrance fee
Garden shop

129,044

Staff canteen

45,901
601,854

Orangery concession

11,800

Insurance

13,770

Total

2012

2013

2014

Expenditure
Salary costs accounted for a little over 70% of the total budget in
2014. In 2014, several important maintenance activities were realised
thanks to extra funding for investment and renovation. Energy costs
accounted for 5% of the budget. For our plant collections, research
activities and public outreach there was, respectively, 449 K, 310
K and 239 K available.

73,455
412,532

Projects & consultancy

2011

1,288,356

Expenditure

Salary

8,264

Collections

449

Research

310

Public outreach

239

Overheads

808

Improvements & repairs

700

Energy costs

556

ICT

209

Total

11,535

Lease
Entrance fee
Salary

Garden shop

Collections

Staff canteen

Research

Projects &
consultancy

Public outreach

Orangery concession

Overheads

Insurance

Improvements
& repairs
Energy costs
ICT

43

Breakdown of staff
according to the source of income
(situation as of 1 January 2014)

Personnel

The salaries of Botanic Garden staff were funded by income


arising from the Flemish Community (129 staff members accounting
for 69% of the total), from own resources (27 staff members making up 14% of the total), and from income coming from the French
Community (31 staff members, accounting for 17% of the staff total).

Overview of personnel
(situation as of 1 January for
each calendar year)
The number of personnel (including temporary staff) rose
slightly and was back to the level recorded for 2012. There was a considerable increase in the number of statutory staff members.

2014

Flemish Community

129

French Community

31

Own income

27

Total
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Statutory scientists

17

16

14

13

21

Statutory non-scientists
Contractual scientists
Contractual non-scientists

71

66

85

81

92

15

18

16

18

13

Total

2010

2011

85

79

70

69

61

188

179

185

181

187

2012

2013

187

27
(14%)
Flemish Community

31
(17%)

French Community
129
(69%)

2014

Own income

100
90
80
70
60
50

Breakdown of staff according to


Community funding and function
(situation as of 1 January 2014)

40
30
20
10
0
Statutory
scientists

Statutory
non-scientists

Contractual
scientists

Contractual
non-scientists

34 staff members (18% of total) are scientists, of which a third is


financed by the French Community.
The French Community also pays for 19 staff members (10% of
total) that are engaged in other activities in the Botanic Garden.
2014

Scientists French Community

12

Scientists Flemish Community

22

Non scientists French Community

19

Non scientists Flemish Community

134

12
(6%)

22
(12%)
19
(10%)

134
(72 %)

Scientists
French Community
Scientists
Flemish Community
Non scientists
French Community
Non scientists
Flemish Community

French Community

Breakdown of staff by age


Almost two thirds of staff is younger than 50 and 10% is older
than 60. The staff of the French Community is in general younger
that the staff of the Flemish Community with one third between 35
and 44. Approximately 40% of staff is female, but the distribution
between the various services is very variable, for example most of
our gardeners are men.

Female

Male

Total

60-+

55-59

50-54

45-49

40-44

35-39

30-34

25-29

20-24

Total

23

31

Male
8

All 2014

Female

60-+

Female

Male

Total

55-59
50-54

60-+

13

20

45-49

55-59

13

20

40-44

50-54

14

18

32

35-39

45-49

15

24

30-34

40-44

14

23

25-29

35-39

18

24

30-34

10

14

24

25-29

10

15

20-24

Total

72

115

187

20-24

Flemish Community
Female
Male

Male

Total

Female

60-+

10

16

60-+

55-59

11

17

55-59

50-54

14

13

27

45-49

12

20

40-44

11

18

35-39

11

17

30-34

30-34

13

21

25-29

25-29

10

15

20-24

20-24

Total

64

92

156

20

50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39

15

10

10

15

Male
15

10

Female

60-+
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24

45

10

15

Trainees and work place experience


The Botanic Garden offers many places for trainees and persons
seeking work place experience. Our goal is to make them better prepared to take up their place in the labour market.
Number of interns and placements

Visitors
Total number of visits

Total

Paid

Unpaid

32

31

The number of visits increased by almost 40% in 2014. In comparison with 2000, the year when visitor numbers were, for the first
time systematically registered, the number of visits has more than
doubled. The good weather was an important factor but not the only
one. The public opening of two new rainforest greenhouses in April
and the fabulous orchid show Flori Mundi in November attracted
many extra visitors.

Interns and placements


with disability
Total

Paid

Unpaid

Number
of visits

Interns and placements


with migration background
Total

Paid

Unpaid

140,000

11

11

120,000

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

94,218

110,909

88,612

91,171

126,486

100,000
80,000

Volunteers

60,000

The list of volunteers was updated by removing those persons


that were inactive over a long period of time. As a result, the number
of volunteers has grown less strongly in 2014. During the preparations for Flori Mundi, we were able to benefit from the extra help of
25 young people from Brussels from the Platform for the service of
citizens (Plateforme pour le Service citoyen). The latter are not included in the statistics. The conversion of the number of volunteers
to fulltime equivalents is based on the norm of the Flemish Government (1,520 hours/year).
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Number

66

80

70

98

108

FTE

5,1

6,5

5,7

6,7

8,6

10

120

9
100

8
7

80

6
5

60

4
40

3
2

20

1
0

0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Number
FTE

40,000
20,000
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Participation in organised
educative visits
Breakdown of the number of visits
(free / discount / normal tariff)

The number of school visits fell slightly. This was mainly due to
a reduced number of free school visits.
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Free visit

2,034

3,060

2,771

3,523

2,467

Guided visit

1,276

1,368

1,091

989

1,156

187

201

551

713

671

The increase in the number of visits was the strongest for paying
visitors (full or reduced tariff).
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Free

25,988

36,602

30,913

31,368

39,312

Reduced

48,973

46,820

38,215

38,992

57,676

Full

19,257

27,487

19,484

20.811

29,498

Free

Reduced

BAMA-module
School workshop
Total

913

584

1,763

1,127

1,917

4,410

5,213

6,176

6,361

6,211

2010

Full

2011

2012

2013

2014

4,000

70,000

3,500

60,000

3,000

50,000

2,500

40,000

2,000
1,500

30,000

1,000

20,000

500

10,000

0
Free visit

0
2010

2011

2012

2013

Guided visit

BAMA-module

School workshop

2014

Visitors to the garden shop


Year card subscriptions
There was a noteworthy increase in the number of persons subscribing to a yearly access card (+22%). This increase was spread
across the different types of subscriptions on offer.

Individual

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

1,253

1,382

1,113

1,443

1,756

Gold

106

99

100

94

112

Gold 1+3

329

353

384

411

514

1,688

1,834

1,597

1,948

2,385

Total

Individual year card

Gold

In total, almost 6,250 visitors made a purchase in the garden


shop. The average amount spent per customer was circa 20 EUR.
Typical Botanic Garden products, such as Botanic Garden honey and
Botanic Garden coffee remained, also this year, very popular.

Visitors

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

5,958

6,655

4,729

5,189

6,244

7,000
6,000
5,000

Gold 1+3

3,000

4,000

2,500

3,000

2,000

2,000

1,500

1,000

1,000

0
2010

2011

2012

500
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

47

2013

2014

The Botanic garden in the news


and social networks
The Botanic Garden issued 24 press announcements in 2014 (12
in Dutch and 12 in French). At this moment 3,270 persons have a subscription with the digital newsletter Musa which is published every
season in Dutch and French. On the facebook page of the Botanic
Garden, 78 messages in French and Dutch were posted.

Musa
subscriptions

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2,108

2,515

2,640

2,715

3,270

Collections
Living collections
The living collections are made up of all specimens which are
available either as living plans and/or seeds. It is made up of 33,056
specimens from 18,638 different taxa. 95% belongs to the Federal
government scientific patrimony, 5% is the property of the Flemish
community.
Federal

Flemish

Global

Taxa

17,765

1,387

18,638

3,500

Species

13,335

1,024

13,798

3,000

Accessions

31,418

1,638

33,056

176

1,522

1,698

Accessions 2014

2,500
2,000
1,500

Living plant collections

1,000
500
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

In 2014, the website of the Botanic garden was consulted by


766,838 visitors from 306,834 different computers from 134 countries. The most visitors came from Belgium, Germany, France and
the Netherlands. In total 9,817,900 pages of our site viewed and
22,982,176 opened.

Currently, the living plant collections are made up of 26,259 accessions. They represent 343 families, 3,034 genera, 17,524 taxa and
12,961 species. They are spread over the greenhouses (57%) and open
park land (43%). The best represented plant families the glasshouses
are the Cactaceae (2,506 accessions), Orchidaceae (1,696), Euphorbiaceae (1,284), Liliaceae (949), Rubiaceae (575), Crassulaceae (513),
Araceae (464) and Agavaceae (393).
In the open park collections, the best represented plant families
are Ericaceae (807 accessions), Rosaceae (752), Liliaceae (481), Asteraceae (468) and Malaceae (431).
Outdoors

Number of visits

2012

2013

2014

746,963

640,046

766,838

Indoors Outdoors

Indoors

2012

2013

2013

2014

2014

Taxa

7,551

9,091

7,526

9,307

7,887

9,637

Species

4,967

7,475

4,887

7,675

5,024

7,937

11,030

13,929

10,894

14,291

11,390

14,869

Accessions

Number of visits

Indoors Outdoors

2012

900,000
800,000
700,000
600,000

Outdoors 2012

Indoors 2012

Outdoors 2013

Indoors 2013

Outdoors 2014

Indoors 2014

16,000

500,000

14,000

400,000

12,000

300,000

10,000

200,000

8,000

100,000

6,000

0
2012

2013

2014

4,000
2,000

The number of subscribers to Dumortiera, a digital periodical for


floristry, further increased to 1,050.

0
Taxa

Species

Accessions

Trends in the acquisition


of living plant material

Confiscation of CITES listed plants

In comparison with 2013, a very strong increase was recorded in


2014 (52%). This increase was mostly due to the acquisition of a large
number of Rhododendron cultivars for the open park collections and
the many new succulents, principally Euphorbia species in the greenhouses.
Cultivated

Wild origin

Total

2010

614

881

1,495

2011

1,021

863

1,884

2012

1,631

528

2,159

2013

710

404

1,114

2014

1,233

465

1,698

In 2014, the Belgian customs authorities carried out ten confiscations under the international legislation of CITES. The seized
plant specimens were housed in the Botanic Garden. The number of
confiscations reflect a falling trend since 2010. The ten confiscations
were made up of 43 introductions and 102 specimens.

CITES accessions

Cultivated

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

278

69

86

122

43

CITES accessions
300
250
200
150

Wild origin

100

2,500

50

2,000

0
2010

1,500

2011

2012

2013

2014

1,000

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2,205

105

240

1,152

102

500

Number of
individuals

0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Number of individuals
2,500

2,000

Trends in the number of searches


in LIVCOL

1,500

LIVCOL is an in-house databank that is used for the daily management of the living plant collections and supporting scientific documentation. This database is partially accessible to the general public
via the internet site of the Botanic garden. In 2014, a relatively strong
increase in the number of searches was recorded (5,838).

1,000

500

0
2010

Queries
LIVCOL

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2,664

3,633

3,734

3,962

5,838

2011

Number of
confiscations

Queries Livcol
7,000

2012

2013

2014

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

30

18

12

10

10

Number of confiscations
35

6,000

30

5,000

25

4,000

20

3,000

15

2,000

10

1,000

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2010

2011

2012

49

2013

2014

Sharing of living plant material


The number of plant specimens sent out varies strongly from
year to year. In 2014, a total of 1,830 specimens were sent out; 75% of
this total were seeds.

Distribution
material

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

1,370

1,889

1,664

1,770

1,830

Distribution material
2,000
1,800
1,600
1,400
1,200

Long term storage of seeds


The seed bank is a very important ex situ conservation tool to
support in situ conservation projects. It facilitates, over a long period of time (more than 100 years), the conservation of a very broad
range of genetic diversity in a very limited area. At this moment, the
seed bank of the Botanic garden conserve some 906 introductions of
Belgian species collected from wild seeds and seed from 803 copper
plants from Katanga. The seed collection of wild beans and beanlike plants remains the most important world-class collection with
2,152 introductions.

1,000
800
600

Belgian flora

Copper flora

Wild beans

400
200

2012

841

536

2,144

2013

890

626

2,152

2014

906

803

2,152

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Mounting of herbarium specimens

23%
Belgian flora

The mounting of herbarium specimens is an important and meticulous time consuming activity that facilitates the long term storage of plant material. The number of mounted specimens increased
in 2014 to more than 35,000. This was principally thanks to an extra
full time member of staff (via redeployment of an existing member
of staff) and an increased number of volunteers.

2010

Copper flora
56%

Wild beans
21%

2011

2012

2013

2014

Mounted specimens 7,900


BT

17,000

6,500

6,811

12,440

2,500

Mounted specimens 13,828


SP

20,191

11,596

17,500

23,074

2,000

Total

37,191

18,096

24,311

35,514

1,500

2012

21,728

2013

2014

1,000

Mounted specimens BT 7350

Mounted specimens SP 9519

500

40,000
0

35,000

Belgian flora

30,000
25,000
20,000
15,000
10,000
5,000
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Copper flora

Wild beans

Entry of collections
into a databank
Data about herbarium specimens contain valuable information
over the distribution, ecology and utilisation of plants. Thanks to the
encoding of this information in a databank, this information is made
available to an extended population of interested users.
In comparison with 2013, there was a reduction in the encoding of specimens, but in comparison with previous years, the total
number of encoded specimens has increased. This is explained by
the fact that in 2013, within the context of the inventory of the federal scientific patrimony, rapid databasing was used, for which less
details were provided. In 2014 a large number of specimens were
encoded in the framework of the activity Flora of Central Africa.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

BT

21,935

18,159

17,487

49,341

18,289

SP

23,447

21,880

30,324

26,105

32,748

45,382

40,039

47,811

75,446

51,037

Total

BT

70,000
60,000
50,000
40,000
30,000
20,000
10,000
0
2011

The exchange of herbarium specimens between herbaria is essential to make botanical research possible.
Specimens can be offered to another herbarium on the basis of a
temporary agreement, as a loan, on a permanent basis as a gift, or as
part of an exchange programme. What is clear is that the number of
exchanges, both incoming and outgoing, have sharply fallen in 2014.
This is explained by a sharp decline in exchanges from Wageningen
following a previous effort to receive all relevant material prior to
the transfer of the Wageningens herbarium to Leiden in 2014. The
transfer of the Botanic Garden to the Flemish Community has also
meant the legalistic transfer of some of its herbarium collections.
These include: the collections of Van Heurck (AWH, circa 250,000
specimens), Imler (5,154 specimens), Brulants (1,686 specimens) and
Antonissen (793 specimens). Approximately 6.5% of the herbarium
collection belongs to the Flemish Community.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Incoming
exchange

3,249

11,261

7,892

15,536

853

Incoming
gift

9,668

2,463

8,591

3,918

7,141

Incoming
loan

595

539

2,391

678

1,394

Outgoing
exchange

1,426

2,897

1,655

1,991

459

Outgoing
gift

177

221

175

128

116

Outgoing
loan

2,012

3,114

1,701

2,366

2,430

SP

80,000

2010

Loans and exchange programs

2012

2013

2014

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

18,000
16,000
14,000
12,000
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0
Incoming
exchange

Incoming
gift

Incoming
loan

51

Outgoing
exchange

Outgoing
gift

Outgoing
loan

Databank of the library


The number of records in the database grew steadily. The complete catalogue, available online, contains more than 125,000 records.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

48,516

48,834

49,030

49,150

49,404

Series

4,475

4,596

4,695

4,789

4,828

Correspondance

7,300

7,443

7,444

7,444

7,444

Articles

Monographs

47,500

48,796

49,969

50,743

51,268

Valuables

3,383

3,385

3,386

3,421

3,461

Serials

8,352

8,742

8,979

9,117

9,168

500

560

1,554

2,185

Iconographic
material

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

60,000

Acquisition to the library


The number of acquisitions to the library remained stable in
2014. Approximately one third of the acquisitions belonged to the
Flemish Community. Approximately two thirds were added from
Federal Patrimony, these were books ordered at the end of 2013
with funding from the Federal budget, but were only delivered in
2014 and books from the research library which were not centrally
recorded. A small number of books are the property of the Royal
Belgian Botanical Society, whose library is accommodated in the
Botanic Garden.

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Monographs

3,124

1,244

1,035

926

965

Periodical
fascicles

3,000

3,025

2,733

2,500

2,500

50,000

Monographs

40,000

Periodical fascicles

3,500
30,000

3,000

20,000

2,500

10,000

2,000

ial

ls

er

ria

at

Se

1,000

hi

Va

lu

ab

les

s
og
on

Ico

no

gr

ap

rr

es

po

nd

ra

an

ph

ce

s
rie
Se

Co

Ar

tic

les

1,500

500
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Royal Botanical

Monographs

Flemish

Federal

Society of Belgium

315

615

35

35
(3%)
315
(33%)

Flemish
Federal

615
(64%)

Royal Botanical
Society of Belgium

Research
Number of publications

External library access


The library is accessible to the public. However the number of
visits has fallen sharply. This trend is expected to continue considering that many botanical publications are available online. The Botanic Garden actively participates in various digitalisation projects.
The number of inter-library loans recorded a strong increase.

External visitors

The number of scientific publications by research staff increased


strongly, especially the number of publications with impact factor.
The relationship between publications with impact factor and without impact factor reached their highest level and is now 64%. It is the
intention to let this rise further, without losing sight of more local,
but often very important research.

Manuscipts

Abstracts

Other publications

and

of posters or

(reports, book

book chapters

presentations

reviews,...)

Total

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

494

504

457

440

342

2010

64

61

130

58

49

61

58

95

2011

114

26

18

158

2012

83

72

14

169

2013

116

50

26

192

2014

131

100

14

245

Loans between libraries

External visitors

Loans between libraries

600
2010

500

2011

2012

2013

2014

300

400
250

300
200

200

150

100

100

0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014
50

0
Manuscripts and
book chapters

Abstracts of
posters or
presentations

Other publications
(reports, book reviews,...)

53

Total

International

International or

Books

papers

national papers

or book chapters

with IF

without IF

2010

34

25

2011

47

36

31

2012

30

45

2013

49

40

27

2014

75

42

14

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

80

Average impact factor


The average impact factor of the manuscripts by staff members
of the Botanic Garden declined further to 2,04. The reason for this
decline is due to more publications which appeared in periodicals
with an impact factor. Due to the purpose of the research, these periodicals often have a relatively low impact factor. It remains a goal
to combine fundamental with more applied research.

70
60

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

1.27

2.21

2.81

2.33

2.04

50

Average IF

40
30

Average IF

20
3

10
0

2.5

International
papers with IF

International or
national papers
without IF

Books or
book chapters

2
1.5
1

Papers with IF

Papers without IF

% with IF

2010

34

25

58 %

2011

47

36

57 %

2012

30

45

40 %

2013

49

40

55 %

2014

75

42

64 %

% with IF
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

0.5
0
2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Publications
Peer-reviewed publications with impact
factor authored or co-authored by staff
of the Garden
Atazadeh I., Edlund M.B., Van de Vijver B., Mills K.,

Spaulding S.A., Gell P.A., Crawford S., Lee S.S., Smith


K.E.L., Newall P. & Potapova M. (2014) Morphology, ecology
and biogeography of Stauroneis pachycephala P.T.Cleve
(Bacillariophyta) and its transfer to the genus Envekadea.
Diatom Research 29: 455-464. (IF 2013 = 1)
Bauters K., Larridon I., Reynders M., Asselman P.,
Vrijdaghs A., Muasya A.M. & Goetghebeur P. (2014)
A new classification for Lipocarpha and Volkiella as
infrageneric taxa of Cyperus s.l. (Cypereae, Cyperoideae,
Cyperaceae): insights from species tree reconstruction
supplemented with morphological and floral developmental
data. Phytotaxa 166: 1-32. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Bogaerts A., de Haan M., Van de Vijver B. &
Cocquyt C. (2014) A complete catalogue of algal taxa
described by Pierre Compre. Plant Ecology and Evolution
147: 311-324. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Chattov B., Lebouvier M. & Van de Vijver B. (2014)
Freshwater diatom communities from Ile Amsterdam
(TAAF, southern Indian Ocean). Fottea 14: 101-119. (IF 2013 =
1.627)
Cocquyt C. & Jahn R. (2014) A re-investigation of Otto
Mllers Cymatopleura taxa (Bacillariophyta) from East
Africa. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 412-425. (IF 2013 =
0.96)
Cocquyt C., Taylor J.C. & Wetzel C.E. (2014)
Stenopterobia cataractarum sp. nov. (Bacillariophyta), a
new benthic diatom from a waterfall in Zambia, Africa.
Phytotaxa 158: 76-84. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Cceres M.E. da Silva, Aptroot A. & Ertz D. (2014) New
species and interesting records of Arthoniales from the
Amazon, Rondnia, Brazil. The Lichenologist 46: 573-588.
(IF 2013 = 1.613)
De Block P. (2014) Eight new species of Ixora (Ixoreae Rubiaceae) from Madagascar. Plant Ecology and Evolution
147: 237-255. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
de Haan M., Cocquyt C., Tice A., Zahn G. & Spiegel
F.W. (2014) First records of Protosteloid Amoebae
(Eumycetozoa) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 85-92. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
De Kesel A. & Haelewaters D. (2014) Laboulbenia
slackensis and L. littoralis sp. nov. (Ascomycota,
Laboulbeniales), two sibling species as a result of ecological
speciation. Mycologia 106: 407-414. (IF 2013 = 2.218)
Deforce K., Allemeersch L., Stieperaere H. & Haneca K.
(2014) Tracking ancient ship routes through the analysis of
caulking material from shipwrecks? The case study of two
14th century sogs from Doel (northern Belgium). Journal of
Archaeological Science 43: 299-314. (IF 2013 = 2.139)
Deforce K., Storme A., Bastiaens J., Debruyne S., Denys
L., Ervynck A., Meylemans E., Stieperaere H., Van
Neer W. & Cromb P. (2014) Middle-Holocene alluvial
forests and associated fluvial environments: A multi-proxy

reconstruction from the lower Scheldt, N Belgium. The


Holocene 24: 1550-1564. (IF 2013 = 3.794)
Diederich P., Lawrey J.D., Capdet M., Pereira S., Romero
A.I., Etayo J., Flakus A., Sikaroodi M. & Ertz D. (2014) New
lichen-associated bulbil-forming species of Cantharellales
(Basidiomycetes). The Lichenologist 46: 333-347. (IF 2013 =
1.613)
Ertz D., Aptroot A., Van de Vijver B., Sliwa L., Moermans
C. & Ovstedal D.O. (2014) Lichens from the Utsteinen
Nunatak (Sr Rondane Mountains, Antarctica), with the
description of one new species and the establishment of
permanent plots. Phytotaxa 191: 99-114. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Ertz D., Lawrey J.D., Common R.S. & Diederich P. (2014)
Molecular data resolve a new order of Arthoniomycetes
sister to the primarily lichenized Arthoniales and composed
of black yeasts, lichenicolous and rock-inhabiting species.
Fungal Diversity 66: 113-137. (IF 2013 = 6.938)
Ertz D., Tehler A., Fischer E., Killmann D., Razafindrahaja
T. & Srusiaux E. (2014) Isalonactis, a new genus of
Roccellaceae (Arthoniales), from southern Madagascar. The
Lichenologist 46: 159-167. (IF 2013 = 1.613)
Esters V., Karangwa C., Tits M., Francotte P., Pirotte B.,
Servais A.C., Fillet M., Crommen J., Robbrecht E., Minet
A., Grisar T., Angenot L., Frederich M. (2014) Unusual
Amino Acids and Monofluoroacetate from Dichapetalum
michelsonii (Umutambasha), a Toxic Plant from Rwanda.
Planta Medica 79: 334-337. (IF 2013 = 2.339)
Fabri R. (2014) Lon Delvosalle (1915-2014): Une vie au
service de la cartographie floristique. Plant Ecology and
Evolution 147: 299-303. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Fofana C.A.K., Sow El H., Taylor J.C., Ector L. & Van de
Vijver B. (2014) Placoneis cocquytiae, a new raphid diatom
(Bacillariophyceae) from the Senegal River (Senegal West
Africa). Phytotaxa 161: 139-147. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Frisch A., Thor G., Ertz D. & Grube M. (2014) The
Arthonialean challenge: Restructuring Arthoniaceae. Taxon
63: 727-744. (IF 2013 = 3.051)
Godefroid S., Janssens S.B. & Vanderborght
T. (2014) Do plant reproductive traits influence species
susceptibility to decline?. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147:
154-164. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Haelewaters D., Vorst O. & De Kesel A. (2014) New and
interesting Laboulbeniales (Fungi, Ascomycota) from the
Netherlands. Nova Hedwigia 98: 113-125. (IF 2013 = 0.989)
55

Hamann T.D., Mller A., Roos M.C., Sosef M.S.M. &

Smets E.F. (2014) Detailed mark-up of semi-monographic


legacy taxonomic works using FlorML. Taxon 63: 377-393. (IF
2013 = 3.051)
Hamilton P. B., de Haan M., Kopalova K., Zidarova
R., Van de Vijver B. (2014) An evaluation of selected
Neidium species from the Antarctic region. Diatom
Research 29: 27-40. (IF 2013 = 1)
Heger T., Pahl A.T., Botta-Dukt Z., Gherardi F., Hoppe C.,
Hoste I., Jax K., Lindstrm L., Boets P., Haider S., Kollmann
J., Wittmann M.J. & Jeschke J.M. (2014) Conceptual
frameworks and methods for advancing invasion ecology.
Ambio 42: 527-540. (IF 2013 = 2.973)
Huiskes A.H.L., Gremmen N. J.M., Bergstrom D.M.,
Frenot Y., Hughes K.A., Imura S., Kiefer K., Lebouvier
M., Lee J.E., Tsujimoto M., Ware C., Van de Vijver B.
& Chown S. L. (0702014) Aliens in Antarctica: Assessing
transfer of plant propagules by human visitors to reduce
invasion risk. Biological Conservation 171: 278-284. (IF 2013
= 4.036)
Jongkind C.C.H. (2014) Notes on African Combretum
Loefl. species (Combretaceae). Adansonia. 3e Sr. 36: 315-327.
(IF 2013 = 0.48)
Kopalova K., Ochyra R., Nedbalov L. & Van de Vijver
B. (2014) Moss-inhabiting diatoms from two contrasting
Maritime Antarctic islands. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147:
67-84. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Kraichak E., Parnmen S., Lcking R., Rivas Plata E., Aptroot
A., Cceres M.E. da Silva, Ertz D., Mangold A., MercadoDaz J.A., Papong K., Van den Broeck D., Weerakoon
G. & Lumbsch H.T. (2014) Revisiting the phylogeny of
Ocellulariae, the second largest tribe within Graphidaceae
(lichenized Ascomycota: Ostropales). Phytotaxa 189: 52-81.
(IF 2013 = 1.376)
Larridon I., Bauters K., Huygh W., Reynders M. &
Goetghebeur P. (2014) Taxonomic changes in C4 Cyperus
(Cypereae, Cyperoideae, Cyperaceae): combining the sedge
genera Ascolepis, Kyllinga and Pycreus into Cyperus s.l.
Phytotaxa 166: 33-48. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Lee S.S., Gaiser E.E., Van de Vijver B., Edlund M.B.
& Spaulding S.A. (2014) Morphology and typification of
Mastogloia smithii and M. lacustris, with descriptions of two
new species from the Florida Everglades and the Caribbean
region. Diatom Research 29: 325-350. (IF 2013 = 1)
Tedersoo L., Bahram M., Plme S., Kljalg U., Yorou N.S.,
Wijesundera R., Villarreal Ruiz L., Vasco-Palacios A.M.,
Quang Thu P., Suija A., Smith M.E., Sharp C., Saluveer
E., Saitta A., Rosas M., Riit T., Ratkowsky D., Pritsch K.,
Pldmaa K., Piepenbring M., Phosri C., Peterson M., Parts K.,
Prtel K., Otsing E., Nouhra E., Njouonkou A.L.,
Nilsson R.H., Morgado L.N., Mayor J., May T.W.,
Majuakim L., Lodge D.J., Lee S.S., Larsson K.-H., Kohout
P., Hosaka K., Hiiesalu I., Henkel T.W., Harend H., Guo L.,
Greslebin A., Grelet G., Geml J., Gates G., Dunstan W.,
Dunk C., Drenkhan R., Dearnaley J., De Kesel A., Dang
T., Chen X., Buegger F., Brearley F.Q., Bonito G., Anslan
S., Abell S., Abarenkov K. (2014). Global diversity and
geography of soil fungi. Science: 346 (6213), 1256688 (IF 2013
= 34.4).
Lowe Rex L., Kociolek J.P., Johansen J.R., Van de
Vijver B., Lange-Bertalot H. & Kopalova K. (2014)
Humidophila gen.nov., a new genus for a group of diatoms

(Bacillariophyta) formerly within the genus Diadesmis:


species from Hawaii, including one new species. Diatom
Research 29: 351-360. (IF 2013 = 1)
Lumbsch H.T., Kraichak E., Parnmen S., Rivas Plata E.,
Aptroot A., Cceres M.E. da Silva, Ertz D., Feuerstein
S.C., Mercado-Daz J.A., Staiger B., Van den Broeck D.
& Lcking R. (2014) New higher taxa in the lichen family
Graphidaceae (lichenized Ascomycota: Ostropales) based on
a three-gene skeleton phylogeny. Phytotaxa 189: 39-51. (IF
2013 = 1.376)
Lcking R., Johnston M.K., Aptroot A., Kraichak E.,
Lendemer J.C., Boonpragob K., Cceres M.E. da Silva, Ertz
D., Ferraro Lidia I., Jia Z.F., Kalb K., Mangold A., Manoch
L., Mercado-Daz J.A., Moncada B., Mongkolsuk P., Papong
K., Parnmen S., Pelez R.N., Poengsungnoen V., Rivas Plata
E., Saipunkaew W., Sipman H.J.M., Sutjaritturakan J., Van
den Broeck D., von Konrat M., Weerakoon G. & Lumbsch
H.T. (2014) One hundred and seventy-five new species
of Graphidaceae: closing the gap or a drop in the bucket?
Phytotaxa 189: 7-38. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Mayer C., Jacquemart A.L. & Rasp O. (2014) Development
and multiplexing of microsatellite markers using
pyrosequencing in a tetraploid plant, Vaccinium uliginosum
(Ericaceae). Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 285-289. (IF
2013 = 0.96)
Morales E.A., Wetzel C.E., Rivera Sinziana F., Van
de Vijver B. & Ector L. (2014) Current taxonomic
studies on the diatom flora (Bacillariophyta) of the
Bolivian Altiplano, South America, with possible
consequences for palaeoecological assessments. Journal of
Micropalaeontology 33: 121-129. (IF 2013 = 1)
NGuessan K.R., Wetzel C.E., Ector L., Coste M., Cocquyt
C., Van de Vijver B., Yao S., Ouattara A., Essetchi
K.P. & Rosebery J. (2014) Planothidium comperei sp.nov.
(Bacillariophyta), a new diatom species from Ivory Coast.
Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 455-462. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Parsons R.F., Vandelook F. & Janssens S.B. (2014) Very
fast germination: additional records and relationship to
embryo size and phylogeny. Seed Science Research 24: 159163. (IF 2013 = 1.845)
Pinseel E., Kopalova K. & Van de Vijver B. (2014)
Gomphonema svalbardense sp. nov., a freshwater diatom
species (Bacillariophyta) from the Arctic Region. Phytotaxa
170: 250-258. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Quinet M., Kelecom S., Rasp O. & Jacquemart A.L. (2014)
S-genotype characterization of 13 North Western European
pear (Pyrus communis) cultivars. Scientia Horticulturae 165:
1-4. (IF 2013 = 1.504)
Quiroz D., Towns A., Legba S.I., Swier J., Brire S., Sosef
M.S.M. & van Andel Tinde (2014) Quantifying the domestic
market in herbal medicine in Benin, West Africa. Journal of
Ethnopharmacology 151: 1100-1108. (IF = 2.939)
Robbrecht E. (2014) Hans ter Steege and Arndt Hampe
join the editorial team of Plant Ecology and Evolution. Plant
Ecology and Evolution 147: 153. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Ronse A. & Arndt S. (2014) Past and present occurrence of
Festuca valesiaca Schleich. ex Gaudin (Poaceae-Pooideae) in
Belgium. Phyton 54: 205-213. (IF 2013 = 0.388)
Sann D. (2014) Serpocaulon obscurinervium
(Polypodiaceae), a new fern species from Colombia and
Ecuador. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 127133. (IF 2013 =
0.96)

Simo M., Sonk B., Droissart V., Geerinck D.J.L.,

Micheneau C., Lowry P.P., Plunkett G.M., Hardy O. J. &


Stvart T. (2014) Taxonomic revision of the continental
African species of Angraecum section Pectinaria
(Orchidaceae). Systematic Botany 39: 725-739. (IF 2013 =
1.106)
Somme L., Mayer C., Rasp O. & Jacquemart A.L. (2014)
Influence of spatial distribution and size of clones on the
ralized outcrossing rate of the marsh cinquefoil (Comarum
palustre). Annals of Botany 113: 477-487. (IF 2013 = 3.295)
Sosef M.S.M. (2014) Novitates Gabonenses 86, The
Begonia clypeifolia complex (Begoniaceae) unravelled. Plant
Ecology and Evolution 147: 224-236. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Sterrenburg F.A.S., de Haan M., Herwig W.E. & Hargraves
P.E. (2014) Typification and taxonomy of Gyrosigma
tenuissimum (W. Sm.) J.W. Griffith & Henfr., comparison
with Gyrosigma coelophilum N. Okamoto & Nagumo
and description of two new taxa: Gyrosigma tenuissimum
var. Gundulae var. nov. and Gyrosigma baculum sp. nov.
(Pleurosigmataceae, Bacillariophyta). Phytotaxa 172: 71-80.
(IF 2013 = 1.376)
Taylor J.C., Cocquyt C., Karthick B. & Van de Vijver
B. (2014) Analysis of the type of Achnanthes exigua Grunow
(Bacillariophyta) with the description of a new Antarctic
diatom species. Fottea 14: 43-51. (IF 2013 = 1.627)
Taylor J.C., Karthick B., Cocquyt C. & Lang P. (2014)
Diploneis fenestrata sp.nov. (Bacillariophyta), a new
aerophilic diatom species from Zambia, Africa. Phytotaxa
167: 79-88. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Taylor J.C., Karthick B., Kociolek J.P., Wetzel C.E. &
Cocquyt C. (2014) Actinellopsis murphyi gen. et spec.
nov.: A new small celled freshwater diatom (Bacillariphyta,
Eunotiales) from Zambia. Phytotaxa 178: 128-137. (IF 2013 =
1.376)
Van Bree L.G.J., Rijpstra W.I.C., Cocquyt C., Al-Dhabi
N.A., Verschuren Dirk, Sinninghe Damst J.S. & de Leeuw
J.W. (2014) Origin and palaeoenvironmental significance of
C25 and C27 n-alk-1-enes in a 25.000-year lake sedimentary
record from equatorial East Africa. Geochimica et
Cosmochimica Acta 145: 89-102. (IF 2013 = 4.250)
Van de Vijver B. & Crawford R.M. (2014) Orthoseira
limnopolarensis sp.nov. (Bacillariophyta), a new diatom
species from Liningston Island (South Shetland Islands,
Antarctica). Cryptogamie, Algologie 35: 245.257. (IF = 0.667)
Van de Vijver B., de Haan M. & Lange-Bertalot H.
(2014) Revision of the genus Eunotia (Bacillariophyta) in the
Antarctic Region. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 256-284.
(IF 2013 = 0.96)
Van de Vijver B., de Haan M. & Lange-Bertalot H.
(2014) Eunotia australofrigida, a new name for Eunotia
frigida (Bacillariophyta). Plant Ecology and Evolution 147:
467. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Van de Vijver B., Kopalova K., Zidarova R. & Levkov
Z. (2014) Revision of the genus Halamphora (Bacillariophyta)
in the Antarctic Region. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147:
374-391. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Van de Vijver B., Morales E.A. & Kopalova K. (2014)
Three new araphid diatoms (Bacillariophyta) from the
Maritime Antarctic Region. Phytotaxa 167: 256-266. (IF 2013
= 1.376)
Van de Vijver B., Morales E.A. & Kopalova K. (2014)
Three new araphid diatoms (Bacillariophyta) from the

Maritime Antarctic Region. Phytotaxa 167: 256-266. (IF 2013


= 1.376)
Van de Vijver B., Zidarova R. & Kopalova K. (2014)
New species in the genus Muelleria (Bacillariophyta) from
the Maritime Antarctic Region. Fottea 14: 77-90. (IF 2013 =
1.627)
Van de Vijver B. (2014) Pierre Compre: a personal
tribute. Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 305-306. (IF 2013 =
0.96)
Van de Vijver B. (2014) Analysis of the type material
of Navicula brachysira Brbisson with the description of
Brachysira sandrae, a new raphid diatom (Bacillariophyceae)
from Iles Kerguelen (TAAF, sub-Antarctica, southern Indian
Ocean). Phytotaxa 184: 139-147. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
van den Boom P. P.G. & Ertz D. (2014) A new species of
Micarea (Pilocarpaceae) from Madeira growing on Usnea.
The Lichenologist 46: 295-301. (IF 2013 = 1.613)
Van den Broeck D., Lcking R. & Ertz D. (2014) The
foliicolous lichen biota of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, with the description of six new species. The
Lichenologist 46: 151-158. (IF 2013 = 1.613)
Van den Broeck D., Lcking R. & Ertz D. (2014)
Three new species of Graphidaceae from tropical Africa.
Phytotaxa 189: 325-330. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Van Geert A., Triest L. & Van Rossum F. (2014) Does the
surrounding matrix influence corridor effectiveness for
pollen dispersal in farmland? Perspectives in Plant Ecology,
Evolution and Systematics 16: 180-189. (IF 2013 = 3.324)
Veldkamp, J.F. & Verloove, F. (2014) Bulbostylis thouarsii
(comb. nov.) is the correct name for Scirpus puberulus Poir.,
non Michx. (Cyperaceae). Blumea 59: 10. (IF 2013 = 0.375)
Verloove F., Govaerts R. & Buttler K.P. (2014) A new
combination in Cenchrus (Poaceae: Paniceae), with
lectotypification of Panicum divisum. Phytotaxa 181: 59-60.
(IF 2013 = 1.376)
Verloove F. (2014) Scirpus hattorianus (Cyperaceae),
newly reported for Europe, naturalized in France.
Willdenowia 44: 51-55. (IF 2013 = 0.507)
Verstraete B., Peeters C., van Wyk B., Smets E.,
Dessein S., Vandamme P. (2014) Intraspecific variation
in Burkholderia caledonica: Europe vs. Africa and soil vs.
endophytic isolates. Systematic and Applied Microbiology
37: 194199. (IF 3.310)
Volkmar U., Smets E., Hennig L. & Janssens S.B. (2014)
Intron evolution in a phylogenetic perspective: Divergent
trends in the two copies of the duplicated def gene in
Impatiens L. (Balsaminaceae). Journal of Systematics and
Evolution 52: 134-148. (IF 1.648)
Wetzel C.E., Van de Vijver B., Kopalova K., Hoffmann
L., Pfister L &, Ector L. (2014) Type analysis of the South
American diatom Achnanthes haynaldii (Bacillariophyta)
and description of Planothidium amphibium sp. nov., from
aerial and aquatic environments in Oregon (USA). Plant
Ecology and Evolution 147: 439-454. (IF 2013 = 0.96)
Zemagho Lise A., Lachenaud O., Dessein S., Liede
S. &, Sonk B. (2014) Two new Sabicea (Rubiaceae) species
from West Central Africa: Sabicea bullata and Sabicea
urniformis. Phytotaxa 173: 285-292. (IF 2013 = 1.376)
Zidarova R., Kopalova K. & Van de Vijver B. (2014)
The genus Stauroneis (Bacillariophyta) from the South
Shetland islands and James Ross Island (Antarctica). Fottea
14: 201-207. (IF 2013 = 1.627)
57

Zidarova R., Levkov Z. & Van de Vijver B. (2014)

Four new Luticola taxa (Bacillariophyta) from Maritime


Antarctica. Phytotaxa 170: 155-168. (IF 2013 = 1.376)

Peer-reviewed publications without


impact factor authored or co-authored
by staff of the Garden

Dao L.M., Guelly A.K., Yorou N.S., De Kesel A.,

Verbeken A.K. & Agerer R. (2014) The Genus Lactarius


s. str. (Basidiomycota, Russulales) in Togo (West Africa):
phylogeny and a new species described. IMA Fungus 5: 3949.
De Beer Dirk, Reyniers J. & Stieperaere H. (2014) Nieuwe
en interessante mossen in Vlaanderen. 3. Muscillanea 34:
56-62.
de Haan A.L., Volders Jos, Gelderblom J., Verstraeten P. &
Van de Kerckhove O. (2014) Bijdrage tot de kennis van
het subgenus Telamonia (Cortinarius) in Belgi. Sterbeeckia
33: 16-23.
de Moraes P.L.R., De Smedt S., Cardoso D.B.O.S. &
Guglielmone L. (2014) On some Brazilian plants distributed
by Martius in 1827 and published by Colla in Herbarium
Pedemontanum-IV. Harvard Papers in Botany 19: 133-141.
de Moraes P.L.R., De Smedt S. & Guglielmone L. (2014)
On some Brazilian plants distributed by Martius in 1827
and published by Colla in Herbarium Pedemontanum. V.
Harvard Papers in Botany 19: 143-155.
de Moraes P.L.R., De Smedt S. & Hjertson M. (2014)
Notes on the Brazilian plants collected by Georg Wilhelm
Freyreiss and published by Carl Peter Thunberg in Plantarum
Brasiliensium. Harvard Papers in Botany 19: 123-132.
De Moraes P.L.R., De Smedt S., Esser H.-J., Gallagher C. &
Guglielmone L. (2013) On some Brazilian Plants distributed
by Martius in 1827 and published by Colla in Herbarium
Pedemontanum-II, Harvard Papers in Botany 18: 197-210.
De Moraes P.L.R., De Smedt S., Esser H.-J., Gallagher C. &
Guglielmone L. (2013) On some Brazilian Plants distributed
by Martius in 1827 and published by Colla in Herbarium
Pedemontanum-II, Harvard Papers in Botany 18,2: 211-223.
De Kesel A. & Haelewaters D. (2014) Belgian records
of Laboulbeniales from aquatic insects (3) - Species from
Dryops luridus. Sterbeeckia 33: 9-15.
De Wit D. & Van den Broeck D. (2014) Melanelixia
subargentifera, nieuw voor Vlaanderen. Dumortiera 105:
29-32.
Diagre-Vanderpelen D. (2014) Darwin sinvite Mons:
une querelle entre Auguste Houzeau de Lehaie (1832-1922) et
Le Hainaut, en 1867. Mmoires et Publications de la Socit
des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres du Hainaut 107: 13-54.
Diagre-Vanderpelen D. & Jedwab G. (2014) Quand
Bruxelles tait une capitale de lhorticulture. Hommes &
Plantes 91: 36-45.
Diagre-Vanderpelen D. (2014) Les collections de plantes
succulentes du Jardin botanique de Meise (Belgique). Cactus
& Succulentes 6: 24-29.
Diagre-Vanderpelen D. (2014) La Socit royale de
Botanique de Belgique (1862-1875): tourments identitaires

et ditoriaux d?une jeune socit savante. in: Diffuser la


science en marge: autorit, savoir et publication, XVIe-XIXe
sicle. Mmoires du Livre 6: s.p.
Diederich P., Ertz D., Eichler M., Cezanne M., van den
Boom P. P.G., Van den Broeck D. & Srusiaux E. (2014)
New or interesting lichens and lichenicolous fungi from
Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France. XV. Bulletin de
la Socit des Naturalistes Luxembourgeois 115: 157-165.
Fraiture A. & De Beuckeleer H. (2014) Amanita simulans, a
species little known in Belgium. Sterbeeckia 33: 3-8.
Fraiture A. (2014) In mmoriam: Marcel Bon (1925-2014).
Bulletin de lAssociation des Mycologues Francophones de
Belgique 7: 2-3.
Geerinck D.J.L. (2014) Quelques souvenirs personnels
du professeur Jean Lonard confondateur de lAETFAT.
Taxonomania 35: 1-4.
Geerinck D.J.L. (2014) Cl dichotomique des espces de la
Rgion des Lacs Centrafricains (400-1800 m) et de la Rgion
Afro-montagnarde (au-dessus de 1800 m). Taxonomania 35:
31-38.
Groom Q.J., OReilly C. & Humphrey T. (2014) Herbarium
specimens reveal the exchange network of British and Irish
botanists, 1856?1932. New Journal of Botany 4: 95-103.
Groom Q.J. (2014) The distribution of the vascular plants
on the North Frisian Island, Amrum. Biodiversity Data
Journal 2: e1108.
Hoste I., Duistermaat H., Od B. & Van Rossum F.
(2014) Nederlandse plantenamen in de Nouvelle Flore
de la Belgique verschillen tussen de 5de en de 6de editie.
Dumortiera 104: 83-88.
Mangambu Mokoso J.D., Robbrecht E., Ntahobavuka
Habimana H. & van Diggelen R. (2014) Analyse
phytogographique des ptridophytes dAfrique centrale:
cas des tages des montagnes du Parc National de KahuziBiega (Rpublique Dmocratique du Congo). European
scientific journal-issn 1857-7881-10: 84-106
Mertens C. & Fraiture A. (2014) Contribution linventaire
du Brabant wallon: Pseudoomphalina pachyphylla (Fr.:
Fr.) Knudsen. Bulletin de lAssociation des Mycologues
Francophones de Belgique 7: 36-40.
Sann D., J.A. Sierra-Giraldo, J.M. Posada-Herrera &
J. Ramrez-Guapacha (2014) Inventario floristco de los
bosques de la Esmeralda, margen del Ro Cauca (Chichin,
Caldas, Colombia). Boletn Cientfico Centro de Museos,
Museo de Historia Natural Universidad de Caldas 18: 17-48.
Stieperaere H. & De Beer D. (2014) De mossenrijkdom
van een natuurontwikkelingsgebied: het natuurreservaat
Heideveld-Bornebeek opnieuw bekeken (Provinciedomein
Lippensgoed-Bulskampveld, Beernem, West-Vlaanderen).
Muscillanea 34: 46-55.
Stieperaere H. (2014) De mosflora van het natuurgebied
Doeveren, Loppem-Waardamme (Zedelgem, Oostkamp),
West-Vlaanderen. Muscillanea 34: 4-7.
Stieperaere H. (2014) De mossen van twee bossen in
Wolvertem opnieuw bekeken (Meise, Vlaams-Brabant).
Muscillanea 34: 13-15.
Van den Broeck D. (2014) Atlasproject lichenen
provincie Antwerpen. Verslag van vier excursies in 2014.
Muscillanea 34: 32-40.
Van Rossum F. & Verloove F. (2014) Addenda et
corrigenda lindex alphabtique des noms latins de la 6e
dition de la Nouvelle Flore. Dumortiera 104: 89-93.

Vanderweyen A. & Fraiture A. (2014) Catalogue des


Ustilaginales s.l. de Belgique. Lejeunia Nouv. Srie 193: 60 p.


Van de Vijver B. & Kopalova K. (2014) Four
Achnanthidium species (Bacillariophyta) formerly identified
as Achnanthidium minutissimum from the Antarctic region.
European Journal of Taxonomy 19 p.
Vos Rutger A., Biserkov J.V., Balech B., Beard N., Blisset M.,
Brenninkmeijer C.n, van Dooren T., Eades D., Gosline G.,
Groom Q.J. et al. (2014) Enriched biodiversity data as a
resource and service. Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e1125.
Verloove F., Banfi E. & Galasso G. (2014) Notulae alla
flora esotica dItalia 10. Notulae 213-215. Eragrostis frankii /
E. mexicana subsp. virescens. Informatore Botanico Italiano
46: 83.
Lambinon J., Verloove F. & Hoste I. (2014) La sixime
dition de la Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique et des Rgions
voisines: la fin dun long chapitre. Dumortiera 104: 3-6.
Verloove F. & Lambinon J. (2014) The sixth edition of the
Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique: nomenclatural and taxonomic
remarks. Dumortiera 104: 7-40.

Verloove F. & LambinonJ. (2014) La sixime dition de la

Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique: commentaires chorologiques.


Dumortiera 104: 41-73.
Verloove F., Hoste I. & Lambinon J. (2014) Casuals
omitted from the sixth edition of Nouvelle Flore de la
Belgique. Dumortiera 104: 74-82.
Van Rossum F. & Verloove F. (2014) Addenda et
corrigenda lindex alphabtique des noms latins de la 6ime
dition de la Nouvelle Flore. Dumortiera 104: 89-93.
Koopman J., Jacobs I. & Verloove F. (2014) Carex
melanostachya (Cyperaceae), standhoudend in AntwerpenLinkeroever. Dumortiera 105: 3-8.
Verloove F. (2014) Carduus acanthoides (Asteraceae), a
locally invasive alien species in Belgium. Dumortiera 105:
23-28.
Verstraeten P., de Haan A., Volders Jos, Gelderblom J. &
Van de Kerckhove O. (2014) Het subgenus Phlegmacium
(Cortinarius) in Vlaanderen. Sterbeeckia 33: 24-40.

59

The Gardens team


Staff Flemish Community
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Asselman Sabrina
Ausloos Gert
Baert Wim
Ballings Petra
Bebwa Baguma
Bellanger Sven
Bellefroid Elke
Bockstael Patrick
Bogaerts Ann
Borremans Paul
Brouwers Erwin
Cammaerts Thomas
Cassaer Ronny
Clarysse Katrien
Claus Liliane
Cnop Rony
Cocquyt Christine
Cremers Stijn
Dardenne Christel
De Backer Rita
De Block Petra
De Bondt Hendrik
De Bondt Leen
De Buyser William
De Coster An
De Groote Anne
de Haan Myriam
De Jonge Gerrit
De Kesel Andr
De Medts Steve
De Meeter Ivo
De Meeter Niko
De Meyer Frank
De Meyere Dirk
De Pauw Kevin
De Smedt Sofie
Decock Marleen
Dehertogh Davy
Delcoigne Daphne
Deraet Nancy
Derammelaere Stijn
Derycke Marleen
Dessein Steven
DHondt Frank
Engledow Henry
Es Koen
Esselens Hans
Faict Samuel
Franck Pieter
Gheys Rudy
Ghijs Dimitri
Groom Quentin
Hanssens Francis
Heyvaert Karin
Heyvaert Louisa
Hoste Ivan

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Houdmont Karel
Huyberechts Sonja
Janssens Steven
Janssens Marina
Kassoumi Abdennadi
Kleber Jutta
Kosolosky Chris
Laenen Luc
Lanata Francesca
Lanckmans Peter
Lanin Lieve
Lanin Peter
Lanin Myriam
Lachenaud Olivier
Le Pajolec Sarah
Leyman Viviane
Lips Jimmy
Looverie Marleen
Maerten Christophe
Mato Kelenda Bibiche
Mertens Micheline
Mombaerts Marijke
Ntore Salvator
Peeters Kathy
Peeters Marc
Postma Susan
Puttenaers Myriam
Reusens Dirk
Reynders Marc
Robberechts Jean
Ronse Anne
Ryken Els
Saeys Wim
Schaille David
Scheers Elke
Schoemaker Erika
Schoevaerts Johan
Schuerman Riet
Sosef Marc
Speliers Wim
Steppe Eric
Stoffelen Piet
Swaerts Danny
Tavernier Wim
Taylor Jonathan
Thielemans Tom
Tilley Maarten
Tytens Liliane
Van Belle Nand
Van Caekenberghe
Frank
.. Van Campenhout
Geert
.. Van Damme Vivek
Seppe
.. Van De Kerckhove Omer

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Van de Perre Frederic


Van de Vijver Bart
Van De Vyver Anne
Van Den Borre Jeroen
Van Den Broeck Mia
Van den Broeck Andreas
Van Den Moortel Jean
Van Den Troost Gery
Van Der Beeten Iris
Van Der Jeugd Michael
Van Der Plassche Thierry
Van Eeckhoudt Jozef
Van Eeckhoudt Lucienne
Van Gijseghem
Jeaninne
Van Grimbergen
Dieter
Van Hamme Lucienne
Van Herp Marc
Van Hoye Manon
Van Humbeeck Linda
Van Humbeeck Jozef
Van Opstal Jan
Van Ossel Anja
Van Paeschen
Bndicte
Van Renterghem
Koen

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Van wal Rita


Van Wambeke Paul
Vandelook Philip
Vanderstraeten Dirk
Vanwinghe Petra
Vekens Odette
Verdickt Nathalie
Verdickt Jozef
Verdonck Carina
Verissimo Nuno
Verlinden Kevin
Verlinden Willy
Verloove Filip
Vermeerbergen
Jochen
Vermeersch Bart
Versaen Franois
Versaen Ilse
Verschueren Alice
Vleminckx Sabine
Vleminckx Kevin
Vloeberghen Jospeh
Willems Stefaan
Wrsten Barend
Zerard Carine

Staff French Community


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Beau Natacha
Charavel Valrie
Degreef Jrme
Denis Alain
Diagre Denis
Dubroca Yael
Ertz Damien
Etienne Christophe
Fabri Rgine
Fernandez Antonio
Fraiture Andr
Galluccio Michele
Gerstmans Cyrille
Godefroid Sandrine
Hanquart Nicole
Hidvgi Franck

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Jospin Xavier
Lahaye Chantal
Lekeux Hubert
Magotteaux Denis
Mamdy Guillaume
Orban Philippe
Rasp Olivier
Reubrecht Guy
Rombout Patrick
Salmon Graud
Stuer Benoit
Telka Dominique
Van Onacker Jean
Van Rossum Fabienne
Vanderborght
Thierry

Volunteers
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Adams An
Aerts Lutgarde
Bailly Francine
Bastin Dominique
Baumers Maarten
Belmans Lucie
Berckx Anna-Maria
Bockstael Annie
Boyker Victor
Buelens Luc
Cammaerts Lisette
Cappelleman Ingrid
Chashanovski Zvi
Claes Philippe
Claessens Alfons
Coen Marie-Laure
Connrot Claire
Corluy Karl
Cuvry Bruno
De Beer Dirk
de Borman Sandrine
de Coninck Hans
De Cuyper Jozef
De Hondt Eugeen
De Meuter Pascale
De Praetere
Claude Anne
De Rongh
Rose-Marie
De Smet Franoise
De Wit Danil
Dehaes Maria
Delire Sandra
Devolder Christiane
Doutrelepont Hugues
Dubois Martine
Dumont Anne-Marie
Durant Danil
Edmunds Clive
Erpelding Nathalie
Exsteen Walter
Fabr Lisette
Fourmanois Frdric
Gheysens Godelieve
Gonalves Bianca
Goossens Flor
Horions Christiane
Houben Guido
Huriaux Thierry
Jacobs Ludo
Jessen Georgette
Kozloski Elisabeth
Lecomte Josiane
Lepage Pierre
Lokadi Valre
Lucas Mireille
Mager Gertrude
Maton Bernard
Meerburg Andreas

Guides
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Mertens Jan
Mignolet Vinciane
Minost Claire
Moesen Piet
Morel Maxence
Peeters Henrica
Putman Didier
Puttemans Barbara
Ramia Maliki
Ray Anne
Rombauts Luc
Salazar Renaldo
Sanin Robayo David
Sasson Diana
Scheers Patricia
Scheiba Maria
Schotte Marleen
Semeria Claudia
Shutt Richard
Speeckaert Claudine
Sterckx Marie-Louise
Strack Van Schijndel
Maarten
Swyncop Muril
Tavernier Paul
Thielemans Lea
Trabi Malika
Valckx Jan
Valles Maria
Van Asch Solange
Van Bueren Gerda
Van Camp Karel
Van Capellen Gisle
Van Conkelberge Luc
Van De Casteele
Geertrui
Van den Broeck
Martine
Van der Straeten
Elza
Van Kerckhoven Leo
Van Lier Ren
Van Rossum Maria
Vandeloo Rita
Vanden Bavire Ccile
Verdickt Hilde
Verellen Lucie
Verelst Tim
Verlinden Hugo
Verswyvel Myriam
Vivignis Patrick
Wagemans Emiel
Wagemans Philip
Wens Monique
Wrsten Barend

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Bailly Francine
Benit Danielle
De Cock Marianne
De Cuyper Jef
Delire Sandra
Geernaert Inge
Kozloski Elisabeth
Mortelmans Bieke
Proost Alida
Silverans Michel
Steensels Steven
Talloen Paul
Tavernier Patrick

.. Van Acoleyen Roger


.. Van de Vijver Martine
.. Van den Broeck
Martine
.. van Lidth Benedicte
.. Vandeloo Rita
.. Vanderherten Frank
.. Verbist Brigitte
.. Verschueren Frans
.. Wayembergh Lisiane
.. Wymeersch Miet

Honorary research associates


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Billiet Frieda
Champluvier Dominique
Compre Pierre
Geerinck Daniel
Jongkind Carel
Malaisse Franois
Pauwels Luc
Rammeloo Jan
Robbrecht Elmar
Sann David

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Sharp Cathy
Sonke Bonaventure
Sotiaux Andr
Stieperaere Herman
Vanderweyen Arthur
Vanhecke Leo
Verstraete Brecht
Vrijdaghs Alexander

Trainees
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Moortgat Niels
Van Hove Siemen
Loeckx Yentl
Bauman David
Conte Mariama
Pinseel Eveline
Embrechts Sander
Gyssens Paola
Cauwelier Daan
Rego Roures Daniel
Vandenberghe Kevin
Borms Jorden
Van Hamersveld
Muril
Tilley Amber
Hamiti Noura
Bzayar Ayoub
Vimsova Petra
Colsoulle Claire

.. Bataillard Nina
.. Zemagho Mbouzang
Lise
.. Lisiko Anaclet
.. Van Herp Michiel
.. Moyson Michiel
.. Vadthanarat Santhiti
.. Havyarimana
Georges
.. Milenge Kamalebo Hritier
.. Ingelbos Benjamin
.. Lolai Dorian
.. Temple Sophie
.. Van Caenegem Ellen
.. Yian Claver
.. Tiebackx Matthew

61

Our mission
Building a sustainable future through discovery,
research and conservation of plants.

Botanic Garden Meise


A portrait

Our values

A Garden with a long history


Older than Belgium, the earliest roots of Botanic Garden Meise can
be traced to 1796, meaning that we have been working with plants
for over two centuries. The Garden comprises 92 ha and includes
many historical buildings, including a castle that dates back to the
12th century.

With unique collections


The Garden has a large herbarium housing about 4 million specimens and containing the largest Rosa herbarium of the world and important historical collections from Brazil and Central Africa. It also
has a botanical library holding over 200,000 volumes, comprising
publications from the 15th century to modern day.

With the mission to conserve plants


The Garden holds a collection of about 18,000 different kinds of living plants, among which several are threatened, such as the Laurent
cycad (Encephalartos laurentianus). The Garden also houses an internationally recognised seed bank including inter alia the seeds of
numerous wild bean species.

To study plants and fungi...


Activities of our scientists to inventory and study plant, fungal and
algal diversity span the globe; from Antarctica to the rainforests
of Congo. The scientific work focuses on the correct and scientific
identification of plant species. What are the characteristics of a species? How many species are there? How do we distinguish one species from another? Without answers to these questions no economic
activity based on plants or plant derived product could function.
Knowing the correct scientific name of a species is the key that unlocks all information on this species. Correctly identifying a species
helps us to recognise poisonous species from related medicinal ones.
It helps us to establish if a plant species is threatened by extinction
and in need of protection.

To teach about plant diversity...


On a yearly basis approximately 100,000 people visit the Garden.
Most of our visitors come to explore the glasshouses and the gardens, but, of course, there is more. Our scientists fully realise the importance of sharing their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with
the public. Botanic Garden Meise has developed a range of tools to
spread knowledge about plants and to raise public awareness about
plant conservation. Our website www.botanicgarden.be offers an
overview of current activities in the Garden.

The six guiding values of the Garden, necessary to keep us


growing and flourishing.

One team, one mission


The staff of the Botanic Garden are team players. We
combine our talents to realise our goals; through a process of consultation we are all responsible for its success.

Respect for diversity


We should be respectful and considerate to everyone
with whom we come into contact. We appreciate their
individuality and diversity. Our colleagues deserve respectful cooperation and professionalism.

Delivering a professional service


In performing our tasks and developing new ideas we
always have the needs and expectations of our internal
and external customers in mind.

An eye for sustainability


As professionals in environmental sciences, we have
a responsibility for being role models in creating a
healthy environment for people and plants.

Open communication
We should communicate openly and honestly in our
daily work and decision making. Sharing useful information serves the common good. Problems should be
shared and solutions sought together with discretion
where necessary.

Strive for excellence


Our objectives are achieved to a high standard in an
efficient and honest manner. We are always open to
constructive criticism and we should critically evaluate
our work and dare to make adjustments where necessary.

Organisation chart

DIRECTION

SECTION
Algae and Mosses

DEPT.
Bryophytes &
Thallophytes

SECTION
Dicots

Administration
Accounting

SECTION
Fungi and Lichens

SECTION
Ferns,
Gymnosperms
and Monocots

Supporting
services

Human
Resources
Informatics
DEPT.
Spermatophytes
& Pteridophytes

Health
& Safety
Technical
Support
Reception
Security

SECTION
Living Plant
Collections and
Park

Maintenance

SECTION
Library and
Archives
SECTION
Museology and
Education

63

Text : Botanic Garden Meise &


BotanicalValues
This report is also available in Dutch and
French and can be downloaded from our
website www.botanicgarden.be
The Botanic Garden is supported by the
Flemish Community and French Community
Printed on recycled FSC labeled paper with plant-based
inks, without ip alcohol or solvents.

Botanic Garden Meise, 2014