The Man Behind the Plant

There is a saying, "Behind every great man is a woman".  

Well, behind every plant is the man or woman who discovered it or after whom it was named, sometimes both.

At the recently concluded Flora Filipina 2012, I had the privilege and honor of meeting the man behind the Vietnamese species Cycas lindstromii.  No other than Swedish cycad expert Anders Linsdtrom himself.

Anders Lindstrom accepting a Plaque of Appreciation from Evangeline Go, Chairperson of the Flora Filipina 2012 Expo and Fernando Aurigue, Chairperson of the Flora Filipina Conference.

I came across the first article published by Si-Lin Yang, Ken D. Hill and Nguyen Tien Hiep about this species' discovery.  Towards the end of the article Yang et al mention that the epithet honors Lindstrom who "assisted in the initial discovery of this species, and who has devoted valuable time and energy toward conservation of Asian cycads".  Mr. Lindstrom was involved in the field study and the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Thailand of which Mr. Lindstrom is curator partly funded the field research.

Anders autographing the Cycas lindstromii page of my copy of the book Cycads of the World by David L. Jones.

Myself with Anders Lindstrom, Gregori Hambali (Indonesia's Prince of Ornamental Plants) and Dr. Setapong Lekawatan (Head, Flower and Ornamental Plant Production Group, Department of Agriculture Extension, Thailand).

The Cycas lindstromii was first discovered in 1994 in Binh Thuan in Southern Vietnam. 

It is a dwarf cycad, distinguished by its subterranean trunk, frequently branched at the apex, and its its short, moderately keeled leaves.

 Anders planting a C. lindstromii at Tsjechie,First European Cycad Meeting Praag at Fata Morgana. Photo by Art Vogel. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Cycas lindstromii. Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Thailand. Photo by Art Vogel. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Cycas lindstromii at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, Thailand. Photo by Art Vogel. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The species is listed as Endangered under criterion B of the IUCN Red List, due to its small extent of occurrence (2,000-4,280 km²), presence at 3-5 localities, and continuing decline.  This species is also listed on Appendix II of the CITES Appendices.

This species is on my plant chase list but because of its status, quite a difficult one to chase down.  I find it simultaneously wonderful and frustrating that I was able to chase the man before the plant.