The National Botanic Garden of Belgium: a portrait A garden with a long history…
Older than Belgium, the earliest roots of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium 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 for example the largest rose 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 till 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 recognized 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 plants, 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 recognize 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 realize the importance of sharing their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with the public. The National Botanic Garden of Belgium 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.
Foreword … 5 Research … 7 Living plant collections … 19 Herbarium & Library collections … 25 International collaboration … 29 Communication & Education … 33
Organisation … 39 Facts & Figures … 43
25·01 - 13·03 Perspectives on the Congo River Expedition Photographer Kris
Pannecoucke joined our scientists on the Congo River Expedition and selected his most striking pictures.
largest ‘flower’ ever in Belgium.
Flowering of Titan Arum,
Celebrations for the retirement of Elmar Robbrecht, respected researcher and head of one of the research departments.
02·04 - 02·10 “Détours végétaux” For a year Sandrine de Borman was Artist in Residence at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. It inspired her to reflect on how people and plants are connected, the result was a fascinating exhibition.
08·04 - 06·11 Creepy crawlies in the woods
Nature photographer Barbara Cook was our guide into the unseen world that surrounds us. Her stunning photos revealed some of the rich diversity of insects inhabiting the trees of our local woodlands.
21·05 The Monsoon and Savannah house This fully renovated glasshouse holds plants from the seasonally dry tropics. Come and explore this habitat and meet the baobab and the kapok.
02·06 - 05·06 Ikebana exhibition The Japanese art of flower arrangement has fascinated people for centuries. In June we had a fine display in the Garden.
13·08 - 15·08 Spectacular Begonias at the Castle The most wonderful Belgian Begonia selections were on show during the summer in the Castle courtyard, along with various horticultural tools used in their cultivation. Over three days in August a splendid 100m² Begonia flower carpet was on display.
24·09 - 2·10 Bonsai exposition Unique exposition of miniature trees: where art and nature meet.
Celebrations for the retirement of Jan Rammeloo, director of the Garden for 20 years.
Marked by achievements and some important challenges, 2011 was a remarkable year. It saw the retirement of two long-serving employees: Jan Rammeloo, director of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium for 20 years, and Elmar Robbrecht, head of one of our research departments. Through their leadership, they have left an institute full of potential. As always, our staff, our ever-growing group of volunteers and our guides performed their roles with enthusiasm and passion to ameliorate our Garden. In 2011, further steps were taken to make our Garden an enjoyable touristic attraction where people of all ages can discover the fascinating world of plants and acknowledge their importance to the survival of the human race. The opening of the Monsoon and Savannah Glasshouse in the renovated Plant Palace was a definite highlight for the public as was the blooming of the Titan Arum, the largest ‘flower’ ever seen in Belgium. A number of activities highlighted international celebrations such as the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. Not surprisingly, these activities increased visitor numbers and helped in profiling the Garden. Our researchers were, yet again, highly productive. They produced the highest number of publications recorded in recent years. The living and preserved natural history collections, that form the basis of our research, were further expanded with the acquisitions of a unique collection of living coffee species and an important herbarium of lichens. The accessibility of the Garden’s collections to the worldwide research community was increased through the on-going program of digitally scanning specimens.
International collaboration with our sister institutes in Central Africa was further intensified in 2011. Projects were initiated in over ten different research institutes and botanic gardens in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. In many of those, dormant research collections were rediscovered. They have been included in projects to make them accessible to the international research community via the Internet. This has been possible by empowering local technicians and scientists by supporting them to acquire new skills so that they can play their critical role in the protection of native plant diversity. Throughout this Annual Report you will discover the regional, national and international importance of our Garden, its workforce and its contributions to education, research and conservation. I hope it will contribute to secure our political future and to increase the reader’s fascination for the plant world. May I take this opportunity to welcome you to visit the National Botanic Garden of Belgium and explore its treasures. Steven Dessein Acting Director
Research Our research is focused on the study of flowering plants, fungi, lichens and diatoms. Geographically, we specialize on species from Belgium, Europe, Africa and the Polar regions. Our scientific results contribute to improve the documentation and understanding of Earthâ€™s biodiversity, while also aiding policy makers to insure the environment and its plants have the protection they deserve.
Fungi International collaboration results in the first field guide to the edible and useful fungi of Central Africa Capacity building between developed and less-developed nations is an extremely important undertaking for the modern botanic garden. The study of Central African fungi suffers from incomplete and severely scattered taxonomic information. Consequently, a comprehensive guide was felt necessary. In 2011, collaborative work between two mycologists from the Garden (scientists studying fungi) and their Gabonese colleague resulted in the first comprehensive field guide on the useful and edible fungi of Central Africa. Written as an accessible and highly educational book it provides detailed information about identifying, collecting, describing, photographing, preparing, storing and studying macrofungi. The field guide has two main sections; the first provides an extensive bibliography and glossary to help facilitate the study of African fungi in the field. The second section is taxonomic and is based on original macroscopic and microscopic research for 62 edible species including the genera Cantharellus, Amanita, Lactarius, Russula and Termitomyces. In addition, information on the ecology and distribution of each species is given. The book is richly illustrated with line drawings, water-coloured plates and photographs. Thanks to funding from the Belgian Development Cooperation this work is available free of charge in developing countries, an aspect of capacity building that is often overlooked.
H. Eyi Ndong, J. Degreef & A. De Kesel (2011) Champignons comestibles des forĂŞts denses dâ€™Afrique Centrale: Taxonomie et identification
Forest fungi are an important food source in Central Africa
Cutting-edge research discovers new fungal diversity Boletes are a group of fungi with a global distribution. Despite this, most studied species come from temperate regions. Boletes from tropical Africa have, until recently, been largely ignored by scientists. To redress this, work on these tropical relatives is being spearheaded by our scientists who aim to develop an improved natural classification of the group and produce a comprehensive contribution to the flora of tropical African fungi. To facilitate their quest, a new technique has been adopted, DNA analyses, popularly known as an important element to forensic science. Our scientists are able to isolate and study an individual gene (ATP6) within part of the cell (the mitochondria). This advanced method of working not only provides researchers with information to group boletes but has enabled new species to be discovered. The use of this new technique has been so successful that all new bolete specimens entering the herbarium (a reference collection of preserved specimens) are subject to it, as well as unique, older collections already preserved. So far, 177 African bolete species have been detected, more than the 155 currently described from sub-Saharan Africa. To illustrate this, the species-rich genus Tylopilus initially had 14 species associated to it, but with DNA analysis this figure has more than doubled to 32. This work provides a glimpse of the cutting-edge research at our Garden.
Chalciporus thoenii, a new bolete species from Cameroon
Staff of the Garden and of the Nature and Forest Division (dnf) monitoring a forest plot
Dead wood is good wood Many species of fungi are specific in their habitat requirements. In 2011, we discovered that rare bracket fungi (polypore) diversity in the Walloon Region was five times higher in forest reserves than in production forests. The main reason for this was the increased occurrence of dead wood in reserves, which bracket fungi colonise. Dead wood is an important element in a natural forest and can increase biological diversity substantially. This particularly applies to polypores. Among the notable species of bracket fungi recorded was Ceriporiopsis pannocincta (a polypore species) a fungus indicative of forests with high biological value. When comparing the epiphytic lichen diversity between forest reserves and production forests, little differences were observed. This is thought to be due to the young age of the reserve. As the reserve trees will become significantly older than those in production forests it is likely that they will become home to a greater range of lichens in the future.
Ganoderma lucidum, an abundant polypore species
pollution, SO2, once the major inhibitor of lichen diversity, is no longer a problem. However, atmospheric NO2 and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) are now limiting lichen distribution. This is evident in the city centre of Brussels and near the main roads where NO2 and particulate matter concentrations are highest and where consequently less lichen species are found.
Molecular studies discover new lichenforming fungi Usnea subfloridana
Lichens Curious about the air quality in your area?, ‘ask’ a lichen In recent times there has been considerable effort to reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere. Epiphytic lichens are excellent natural indicators to monitor the success of this effort due to their sensitivity to atmospheric SO2. In 2011, an investigation of almost 1,000 tree trunks, in the Brussels Capital Region, demonstrated that changes in macrolichen species richness and mean thalli (body of the lichen) diameter were related to decreasing levels of atmospheric SO2. The reason for this is that SO2 acidifies tree bark, making it unfavourable for colonisation and growth of lichen species that prefer less acid bark. Due to considerable efforts to reduce air-
Above : D. Van den Broeck monitoring lichen diversity in Brussels Capital Region Right : Lecanactis borbonica
Lichens are symbiotic organisms that comprise of a fungus and (usually) an algal partner. They are found in terrestrial habitats throughout the world. One such partner is the order Arthoniales, a large group of mainly lichen-forming fungi that has high diversity in sub-tropical, coastal habitats with a Mediterranean or desert-type climate (e.g. European Mediterranean, areas of South Africa & central Chilean coast). Until recently, this group of fungi were classified using morphological characteristics such as: growth form, fruiting body type, ascospore colour, and chemistry. However, these characters were found to be of limited use in delimiting families and genera. A first large phylogenetic (evolutionary relatedness) analysis of this fungal group was conducted in 2011 using the modern technique of molecular analysis. This study included 132 species and indicates that this group is ancient with taxa evolving in parallel over long periods of time. Results enabled us to distinguish one new fungal family and an additional six genera. Two species, Lecanactis borbonica and Paraingaderia placodioidea, have been described. Molecular data also suggested that Phoma cytospora, a fungus living as a parasite on different lichens, also belongs to the Arthoniales group and represents a, previously unknown, genus named Briancoppinsia. Finally, Blarneya, a lichen genus, known to produce only asexual spores, was shown to belong to the genus Tylophoron and to form similar ascomata.
Algae Discovery of a unique diatom flora in the Antarctic Region The Antarctic Region is one of the most remote and inaccessible places on Earth. For a long time, its biodiversity has been completely underestimated. Recent expeditions to several islands close to the Antarctic Peninsula have brought back a large number of samples collected from the numerous lakes, soils and moss carpets that can be found on these land masses. Analysis of these samples revealed the presence of a unique and unknown flora of unicellular, siliceous algae, called diatoms. Diatoms are one of the most abundant and diverse groups of organisms in the Antarctic Region and are of prime importance in these ecosystems. In collaboration with scientists from the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, the algologist of our Institute discovered more than 20 new species in 2011 using a range of microscopy techniques. These discoveries confirm the growing awareness that the diatom flora of the Antarctic Region is mostly composed of endemic, rather than cosmopolitan taxa and has a great impact on the current discussions on the biogeography of micro-organisms.
Diadesmis tabellariaeformis, a typical diatom from the Maritime Antarctic Region
B. Van de Vijver, diatom specialist from the Garden, collecting on Livingston Island
Belgian flora Rare and endangered plants in intensively grazed wetlands Low pressure grazing has been found to increase the presence of rare and endangered plants in the Belgian polders. These wetlands have a long history of intensive agricultural exploitation, in particular cattle farming, and are characterized by a dense network of ditches and other waterways. A detailed study of environmental conditions and botanical characteristics of 460 ditch locations, revealed that many rare species, such as, Mareâ€™s tail (Hippuris vulgaris), Marsh Arrowgrass (Triglochin palustris), Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), Hedge Parsley (Torilis nodosa) and Â Spotless Watermeal (Wolffia arrhiza), are more frequent in these areas than elsewhere in Belgium.
A sampling plot of a Greater Duckweed-vegetation (Spirodela polyrhiza) with reference number
The greatest occurrences of rare species were in and along ditches, which have a moisture transitional zone on their banks, and have been managed within the past 10 years. These areas benefit from low-pressure grazing owing to the presence of barbed wired or electric fencing that creates a buffer zone between the water and fence. The cattle can graze to a limited extent (by putting their necks through the fence) but trampling is excluded. Providing these areas with intermediate disturbance maximizes plant diversity and provides a habitat for the countryâ€™s rarer plants.
Homework reveals Garden to be a hotspot of diversity While the majority of studies at the Garden are focused on European and tropical vegetation, plants within its grounds are not ignored. In 2011, 23 articles on the wild plants and fungi of the park were published in ‘The Spontaneous Flora of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium’. Written by the Garden’s associates and staff, it presents the results of a decade-long study on the organisms that cohabit with our documented living collections. The results yielded over two thousand species. Many were indigenous, but others are garden escapes including historical plants dating from the 19th century. In addition to plants, other groups of organisms were placed under the spotlight including lichens, slime moulds and selected fungi. For all groups the domain was found to be a hotspot of diversity. Intriguingly, species new to science were discovered along with others that were not previously recorded in Belgium. These include minute fungi that parasitize insects (Laboulbeniales) and microscopic aquatic algae (diatoms). In entirety, this volume demonstrates that the grounds of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium contain a fascinating array of wild organisms, and form a place of great diversity where even a few rare species are found.
Cornus australis, a recently naturalized look-alike of native C. sanguinea
Aliens reduce native diversity Plant invasions are among the main causes of biodiversity decline on earth. Their control and eradication are timeconsuming and expensive. In the European Union alone, estimated costs are considered to be around €13 billion per year. A successful way to combat the spread of aliens is to employ early detection and control before problems arise. To facilitate this we have developed an illustrated website that enables the identification of alien plant species in Belgium (alienplantsbelgium.be). Particular attention is paid to so-called ‘look-alikes’. These are alien species that resemble natives and hence are able to establish and spread surreptitiously, without initially being noticed. A good example is Cornus australis, a dogwood from south-eastern Europe. This species has been planted over the past few decades, probably in the mistaken belief that it was the native dogwood, Cornus sanguinea. Once planted it was soon able to escape cultivation, as its fruit are eaten and dispersed by birds. It is now widely found in Belgium, often in valuable, natural habitats such as coastal dunes, woodlands and river banks. At present many populations, assumed to be Cornus sanguinea are in fact its invasive relative.
Cover of a new book published by the Garden dealing with the diversity found within its domain
Flowering plants Bringing the Flore d’Afrique Centrale into the 21st Century. Historically, the majority of studies on the flora of Africa occur in Europe and North America. This has made access to information very difficult for local botanists. However, with the advance of the internet it is now possible to make this information available on every online computer worldwide. The National Botanic Garden of Belgium recently digitized all volumes of the Flore d’Afrique Centrale, an authoritative botanical work dating from 1948. It remains the only comprehensive publication on the plants of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This information is available on the Garden’s website and can be searched by family (www.br.fgov.be/RESEARCH/DATABASES/FOCA/index. php). Impatiens nzabiana, a new species from Gabon
World’s flora gets even bigger following new discoveries An estimated 15% of flowering plant species are unknown to science. Placing this value into context, this estimate equates to twice the number of naturally occurring flowering plants in Europe.
Q. Groom, scientist from the Garden, consulting the on-line version of the Flora of Central Africa
Discovering and identifying new plant species is an important undertaking for the National Botanic Garden of Belgium, which it conducts in a number of different ways. Sometimes new discoveries have been collected many years previous and deposited somewhere amongst the four million specimens in Meise’s preserved research collection (herbarium). In 2011, two new species, Colletoecema gabonensis and Geophila erythrocarpa, were discovered that way. The latter has not been collected recently and could be endangered as it only grows in dry, evergreen forests in South Congo and North Zambia, where this type of forest is disappearing at an alarming rate. Identifying this species is the first step to trying to save it in the wild. Many unknown species are discovered in difficult to access tropical regions. Our researchers explore the most remote areas of Africa, far from family and modern comforts. Sometimes new discoveries require an Indiana Jones-like adventure. A recent trip to Gabon has so far resulted in two new species, namely Maesobotrya oligantha and Impatiens nzabiana. The latter was found in a single locality along a precipitous slope close to an idyllic waterfall.
Leaf blade of Psychotria leptophylla showing dark spots in which large colonies of bacteria are housed
Evolving together: united they stand, divided they fall Many plants have a close and often vital dependency on other organisms for survival. It has been recently discovered that this is the case for a mysterious close interaction found between bacteria and some species of the coffee family. This is manifested by the leaves of some coffee relatives having dark spots (termed nodules) on their leaf blades or leaf veins. Investigations within these leaf nodules discovered large colonies of bacteria. In a relationship akin to the bacteria and the plant, an association between the Catholic University of Leuven, University of Antwerp and Botanic Garden set to unravel the mystery. Studies demonstrated that the bacteria involved belong to the genus Burkholderia, a genus best known for causing disease in its host. In this instance, however, Burkholderia play a vital role regulating the normal development of the plant. In the absence of the bacteria, plant growth is disturbed to the extent that the plant dies. Interestingly, it has been shown that each plant species with leaf nodules has its own Burkholderia species giving us a host of unanswered questions to investigate.
Line drawing of Impatiens nzabiana
Seed Research New life for Slender Hare’s-ear, despite a rollercoaster journey Researchers from the National Botanic Garden’s seed bank miraculously revived a plant considered extinct in Belgium for 80 years. Seeds of the Slender Hare’s-ear (Bupleurum tenuissimum) were carefully removed from a preserved specimen (from the herbarium) collected in the dunes of Knokke a staggering 125 years ago. Despite great care, the seedlings later died, probably due to the way the seeds were preserved for over a century. This was a great disappointment, since this plant is also threatened throughout Europe due to the widespread degradation of dry grasslands by the discontinuation of extensive grazing and scraping along with tree planting. However the story does not end here. A few months later colleagues from ANB (Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos) reported the reappearance of a few individuals in the Zwin Nature Reserve. Unfortunately, this new population, the first to be recorded for 80 years was threatened due to work of the ZTAR (Zwin Tidal Area Restoration) project that aims to restore the biodiversity of mudflats and salt marshes. Consequently, several hundred seeds were collected from this new population and safely stored at -20°C and 15% relative humidity in our seed bank. A few seeds were set aside and later germinated at Meise. This time they successfully grew into plants thanks to the skills of our gardeners and should produce new seeds for potential reintroduction in the near future.
125 yr old herbarium specimen of Bupleurum tenuissimum containing viable seeds
Young plant of Slender Hare’s-ear, a plant considered extinct in Belgium
Belgian flora in the freezer: the future of the present Today, we face an urgent challenge, to ensure effective conservation of biodiversity. The best place to preserve plant diversity is in the wild (in situ), where natural selection goes unhindered. However, since almost half of all plant species are threatened (both globally and across Belgium), in situ conservation sometimes requires intervention or management. Climate change increases the number of threatened species and decreases the viability of habitats. It is therefore evident that the existing networks of protected areas should be supported to ensure long-term survival of all species. Complementary approaches must be used, including off-site â€˜ex situâ€™ conservation. The Garden manages the only Belgian seed bank dedicated to
Gentiana pneumonanthe is endangered in Wallonia and vulnerable in Flanders; 1800 seeds of Belgian origin are stored at the gardenâ€™s seed bank
Seeds of Pulsatilla vulgaris
the ex situ conservation of wild species. This seed bank can help Belgium fulfil its commitments to two international agreements, the Convention on Biological Diversity (Article 9) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (Goal 8). Unlike other ex situ techniques, the seed bank is the only tool that ensures long-term storage of high genetic diversity in a limited space. Given the increased threats to the flora, seed collections of endangered species were intensified in 2011. This effort has resulted in seeds of 30% of our endangered flora being stored in our seed bank. Furthermore, a study aiming at identifying climate change-vulnerable species has enabled us to start with an innovative conservation program based not only on those species that are immediately threatened but also on the ones that will become endangered in the future. This proactive approach is quite rare in the world of ex situ conservation.
Living plant collections Belgium has a rich tradition in both botany and horticulture. This richness is also reflected in our plant collections. Within our holdings are plants with unique stories: some predate the existence of Belgium; others are on the verge of extinction in the wild; a few are new to science; but collectively they highlight the diversity of plants on earth. Our gardeners and researchers have the responsibility to safeguard these plants for future generations and to further develop collections to mitigate the environmental challenges of tomorrow.
Highlights Another blooming record for Belgium The aptly named Titan Arum, or Amorphophallus titanum, is one of the most spectacular sights of the Plant Kingdom. With meticulous cultivation it stunningly produces the largest unbranched flowering stem in the world. Since its introduction to the Garden’s Plant Palace in 2008, it has flowered on three occasions. The most spectacular occurred during March 2011 when a record breaking bloom rose to an impressive 2.32m. Over a three day flowering period it was admired by over 8,000 people. Visitors not only viewed this giant but also smelt its rancid odour. This nauseating, penetrating smell is reminiscent of a decaying animal and gives this plant its alternative name, Giant Corpse Flower. This smell is not coincidental, as in its natural equatorial rainforest habitat of western Sumatra it attracts pollinating flies. A third fascinating fact is that the Titan Arum produces the largest corm known. After a dormant period, the corm starts to grow producing either a single leaf (the size of a small tree!), or its giant flowering spike. Impressively, the corm of the Marchflowering record breaker quadrupled in size in three years to a massive 47 kg prior to blooming.
They’ve got an awful lot of Coffee in Meise Coffee is reputed to be one of the most popular drinks worldwide with an estimated two billion cups consumed daily. For research purposes, our Garden curates one of the most extensive living collections of coffee wild relatives in the world, helping to safeguard this global beverage. In 2011, our living collections were enriched with over 75 wild accessions of Coffee (Coffea). Among them were newly discovered and described species, such as Coffea charrieriana, a naturally caffeine-free species discovered in Cameroon, and over fifty samples of Arabica coffee, mostly from Ethiopia. Coffee’s natural habitat faces rapid destruction resulting in a severe loss in genetic diversity. This natural diversity acts as a safety measure against changes in the plant’s environment including resistance to pests and diseases. Selected traits such as these can be utilized in breeding programs to increase the resistance of new cultivars, while other traits enable the development of coffee cultivars with low caffeine contents and increased yields. The newly acquired plants were generously donated by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier and bolster the Garden’s already comprehensive collection of the coffee family.
Above : Mature berries of Coffea arabica in our greenhouses Left : A young visitor trying to sample the odour of the Titan Arum
in 2, 5 and 7 botanic gardens respectively. Furthermore, the last two taxa are IUCN Red Listed as Vulnerable. Given the limited allocation of space at Meise we need to carefully consider what species should be added to the collections. Genetically diverse, rare and endangered species should receive preference over the more common species that can be found in other gardens in Belgium.
The Nation’s largest Orangery plant collection at Meise Botanic gardens have multiple purposes; one important aspect is to display Orangery plants from sub-tropical regions that, with winter protection, can grace Belgian gardens. During 2011, the collection increased to almost 250 taxa making it the largest collection of its type in Belgium. Orangery plants have wide appeal to the public; they are mostly evergreen with attractive foliage, often have showy flowers and in many cases produce edible fruit. The Meise collection ranges from the well-known Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis), Orange (Citrus) and Australian Bottle Brush (Callistemon) to lesser-known plants like the appealing Pompom Tree (Dais cotinifolia). In addition to the more typical Orangery plants, the collection is bolstered with a broad selection of potgrown, summer-flowering bulbs making it an excellent reference collection for Belgian enthusiasts. Pinus maximartinezii, an endangered species from Mexico
Evaluating the Garden’s living assets: Pines It is good practice for any research institute to periodically review its collections. In 2011, the Pine (Pinus) collection was put under the spotlight and assessed for its national and global importance. Using the most up-to-date publications, online databases and reviewing inventory lists of several other collections we successfully evaluated the Garden’s plants. At national level, our pines proved an extremely valuable collection. Over half of the 34 taxa were from known wild origin, making them an important asset for research and conservation. Three species were restricted to the Garden including the rare Big-Cone Pinyon (Pinus maximartinezii), that is IUCN Red Listed as Endangered in Mexico. We also discovered that our specimen of the Chinese Red Pine (Pinus tabuliformis), was the Garden’s first Champion Tree, a term given for the largest tree of a particular species in Belgium.
All Orangery plants are grown in pots to ease their transfer, during the autumn, to frost-free glasshouses. Cultivating a diverse range of plants in containers requires a number of specialist skills from the curators and gardeners. These include the selection of potting compost to monitoring watering and feeding regimes. Visitors can admire our collection at various locations in the Garden, in particular at the Main Entrance, Castle Court, “Pachthof ”, terraces of the Orangery, entrance to the Walled Garden, south-side of the Plant Palace and around the Balat glasshouse.
On a worldwide scale, three pines proved very rare: Pinus kesiya; P. nigra subsp. dalmatica; and P. longaeva; only occurring
Renovation of the Plant Palace Constructed in the 1950s the Plant Palace is a unique building with many different functions. It is at once a highly technical building, home to the majority of our tender plant collections, a tourist attraction and an educational tool. Since 2001 the building is undergoing extensive technical renovations, simultaneously the interpretation and presentation of the collections is being redeveloped. The aim is to present the diversity of the Plant Kingdom and climatic conditions from various biomes of the warm areas of the world and to make a visit to the Plant Palace an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. The renovation is an ideal opportunity for different sections of the Garden to collaborate. Horticulture, Education and the Technical department all contribute to the project.
Photograph of Rotheca myricoides (above), taken by C. Horions, and Tillandsia caput-medusae (below) taken by D. Sasson, both volunteers of our garden
Volunteer paparazzi record Meise’s living collections We currently deploy an enthusiastic team of five volunteer photographers who visit the Garden’s collections digitally recording flowers, fruits, leaves, stems and other features that may prove useful by experts to confirm or reject the plant’s current identification. Our Garden is proud to have one of the largest plant collections in Europe. However, as a scientific institute, it needs to ensure plants are accurately labelled with the correct names, a monumental task that would not be possible without voluntary help. Some key identification features may only occur for a short period, such as flowers. Under normal circumstances many of these features will be missed, therefore work by our dedicated volunteers is proving an invaluable asset for the Garden. In 2011, the figure of 4,000 photographed species was surpassed making the Garden’s collections one of the most photographed in the world. Comprehensive picture collections exist for cacti, begonias, Peperomia and succulents such as Aloes, Livingstone Daisies and Euphorbias. Images from the collections can be viewed online at www.botanicgarden.be.
Presently, all of the thirteen public glasshouses have received a new roof and six of them have been completely redeveloped. In two more houses, the first part of the Rainforest Wing, the paths and visitor infrastructure were finished in 2011. Plans are being finalized for the remaining five public glasshouses. However, the future of the twenty-two collection houses at the centre of the Plant Palace, representing over one third of its useful surface, remains unsure.
Plant Palace gardeners posing with the recently planted Euphorbia cooperi
Monsoon and Savannah House opens in Belgium May 2011, we opened a brand new glasshouse display in the Plant Palace, the Monsoon and Savannah House. It presents plants from tropical regions that have an alternation between dry and rainy seasons. Developing and landscaping this display was an interesting and challenging undertaking and one that is rarely pursued by other botanic gardens. One of the major challenges was horticultural. Specifically, how to grow these plants under glass and subject them to dry and then wet watering regimes. The selection of soil had to meet a range of criteria: appropriate nutrition; suitable for an array of species; good response to dry and wet conditions; stability.
Inspired by the sand-rich and humus-poor soils of African Savannahs and Miombo woodlands, we composed a substrate based on garden soil, Rhine sand and lava rock. The next element was species selection. It was important to show characteristic plants with adaptations to survive in fluctuating conditions. In total we planted around 300 plant species, including the African Baobab tree with a trunk ‘full’ of water, a South American Bullhorn Acacia that lives in symbiosis with ants and a series of Mother-in-Law’s Tongues with succulent leaves that survive months without water. Considering the Belgian climate, we decided to converge the dry season with our winter period with the wet season beginning in late spring. Notwithstanding the limited space of the greenhouse, we are attempting to respect the natural growth forms of all species by regular and targeted pruning. The integration of 10 tons of rock and a termite mound completed this unique botanical experience, which with some imagination, allows the visitor to be submerged in an African open forest with grassy undergrowth.
Left : A glimpse of the future : the hardware for the first two areas of the Rain Forest House was terminated in 2011
Herbarium & Library collections Our natural history holdings are memories of the recent, and not so recent, flora on our planet. Our estimated four million individual documented items include: herbarium specimens, wood, fruit, slides of microscopic algae, fungi, and slime molds (myxomycetes). The digitization of these collections is an important tool to further validate their information. Complementary to these collections, the library of the Garden is entirely focused on plants and associated topics.
Herbarium The herbarium of André Aptroot In 2011, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium bought the famous lichen herbarium of André Aptroot (ABL acronym on Index Herbariorum), an important Dutch lichenologist. His collection, started in 1972, consists of 60,000 specimens from around the world. Of particular note are collections from Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Yunnan and the Netherlands. Most of the herbarium has a high level of identification and comprises 200 type specimens (a particular specimen of an organism to which its scientific name is formally attached). In contrast to many other collections, the quantity of micro-lichens occurring in this herbarium is significant. The value of this collection to the National Botanic Garden of Belgium is considerable as it increases the reference material of tropical groups studied in our institution.
Developing a digital atlas for Belgian flora utilising over 2.6 million observations In 1939, field botanists began a systematic long-term survey of the distribution of Belgian flora. To enable this, they developed a grid system that covered the country in 1 km2 squares. Over the decades thousands of inventory lists have been compiled, making a detailed record of the plants of Belgium and how their distributions have changed over time.
Some specimens of André Aptroot
The majority of these lists are conserved in the archives of the Institute for the Floristics of Belgium and Luxembourg maintained at the Garden. Work in 2011 set about unlocking this information for a wider audience. During that year the older records were digitalized thanks to the financial support of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. This means that, for the first time, this wealth of data can be studied as a whole. A website will be launched in 2012, which will enable consultation of the national distribution of particular species over time, thus providing a picture of Belgium’s changing flora.
The National Botanic Garden of Belgium holds an enormous reference collection of preserved plant material in its herbarium that forms the basis to future taxonomic work. When a new species is named, one preserved specimen is designated the ‘type specimen’. This specimen is the most important reference for that species defining its characteristics.
An example of a traditional field list with records
Unlocking the herbarium
Meise has been working with other international partners to digitally scan type specimens, drawings, botanical artwork, photographs and reference material using high resolution scanners to help create a self-sustaining resource for international scholars via the internet. In effect, this project unlocks information for the benefit of future research. In 2011, the Garden reached the milestone of 50,000 digitized type specimens. This highlights the wealth of its collections and the amount of effort devoted to this initiative that would not have been possible without the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Meise initially became a project partner in 2003, working on the African Plants Initiative (API). Due to its success, the Latin American Plants Initiative (LAPI) was born in 2008 when the project evolved into the Global Plants Initiative (GPI). The GPI is an international partnership of herbaria working together to create a coordinated database of information and images of plants worldwide. Information is available online at the JSTOR plant science website (http://plants.jstor.org).
Library Online accessible conservation library During 2011, the library increased its collections considerably and reinforced, at the same time, its conservation status. It accepted volumes from institutions no longer able of ensuring their specialist maintenance. The Royal Museum for Central Africa entrusted its library on botany and agricultural economy (1,200 monographs; 950 periodical titles; c. 10,000 volumes) to the National Botanic Garden of Belgium rather than the Royal Library as that institute currently focuses on human sciences. The library collections of SERDAT (Service de documentation en agronomie tropicale et développement rural) and INEAC (Institut national pour l’Étude agronomique du Congo) were transferred from the Federal Public Service Economy to the Garden (700 monographs; c. 1,000 periodical titles; c. 15,000 volumes). In addition, the collections of Henri Van Heurck (Antwerp) and the Jardin Massart (L’Université libre de Bruxelles) have been added. Encoding these collections in the online catalogue was a large job, made possible thanks to a BELSPO budget within the framework of the digitalization project of the federal scientific institutions. The library also reinforced its presence on the web by exporting its catalogue in the common catalogue of federal libraries (http://www.bib.belgium.be) and the union catalogue of periodicals in Belgian academic and special libraries (http:// anet.ua.ac.be/opac/opacantilope).
Terra Brasilis (20/10/2011-12/02/2012) In 2011, Europalia International Arts Festival, held in Brussels (20/10/2011-12/02/2012), was dedicated to Brazil. At this occasion, ING Bank set up a big exhibition in the centre of the City, right next to several other museums and other cultural hotspots in the Capital. The Garden’s library team was asked by the bank to collaborate with this important project, called Terra Brasilis. The event provided excellent exposure to the Botanic Garden’s library collections and range of expertise. Around 50 valuable books (including Phillip Von Martius’ famous Flora Brasiliensis) were lent to the exhibition, while many illustrations originating from our range of 19th Century horticultural magazines were used as a permanent slide show. Furthermore, a chapter in a very attractive catalogue about the exhibition was written by one of the Library’s team. This chapter was dedicated to Belgian plant hunters in Brazil during the 19th Century. Finally, a short film was continuously shown highlighting one of the jewels of the Garden, the Balat Greenhouse, in its historical context. Terra Brasilis was a major success for the Garden allowing the Library Team to show both the richness of their collections and some of the skills and expertise needed to curate a world class library.
International collaboration Staff at our Garden do not work in isolation, we have very strong links at national, European and international levels. We are an active member of several organizations who share our goals, such as Botanic Gardens Conservation International. We also share our knowledge and competences with gardens and research institutes from the South in order to develop solid partnerships and jointly find solutions for current and future challenges.
Restoring botanic gardens in DR Congo (2004 to present) During the past seven years, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium has played an important role in fundraising and implementing the restoration of three major gardens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo): Kisantu (Bas Congo); Kinshasa and Mbandaka (Equateur). Botanic gardens in DR Congo are symbols of both hope and resilience; and are the likely base for the reconstruction of biodiversity management for the nation. During the past thirty years Congolese botanists and technicians have worked under harsh conditions: infrastructure was all-but destroyed by its lack of maintenance or by war; living collections were left untended and needed urgent care; while government failed to allocate financial resources. Despite this, a core group of devoted researchers and technicians managed, against the odds, to preserve the gardens’ potential. It is down to these few individuals that the loss of local knowledge of Central Africa‘s rich flora has been limited and the heritage of these institutions has kept alive. At the Botanic Garden of Kisantu progress has been swift and dramatic. During the past seven years, infrastructure, paths, plantations, glasshouses, living collections development, herbaria, library, and the Internet has been improved or established. In 2011, the Garden planted 6.5 ha of local species and Acacia to reinforce the role of trees in local agricultural systems and the sustainable use of wood for fuel. The orchid collection has been developed and now comprises over 40 species that are unique to the DR Congo. The aquatic plants collection has been reinforced and an ‘ancient vegetables’ collection initiated. This collection was started after the observation that few studies had been conducted on vegetables and medicinal plants from the region. Also in 2011, Kisantu became host to several workshops: a meeting aimed at compiling a Red List for the endemic plants of Central Africa; a week-long workshop to rehabilitate and manage the DR Congo herbaria; and environmental education awareness aimed at training staff to act as guides for visitors. Kisantu is one of the most advanced botanic gardens in Central Africa and plays an important role in nature conservation. The success of the restoration project can be seen in many ways especially the dramatic increase in visitor numbers. In 2005, 9,000 people came to the Kisantu garden compared with 35,000 in 2011. Kisantu has proved itself as an attractive destination for tourists and a place to host meetings thus improving the financial autonomy and visibility of the garden. Following the excellent results achieved in Kisantu, the Ministry of the Environment asked our Garden to establish a new partnership to support the Botanic Garden of Eala (Mbandaka) and Kinshasa. In March 2010, we started the restoration work on the 7 ha garden in Kinshasa. Restoration of the garden was implemented by our staff and an environmental NGO with the help of young people living in the slums and the streets adjacent to the garden. This work has shown a glimmer of hope that activities in botanic gardens can contribute to poverty reduction by creating jobs. This botanic garden, placed right in the centre of Kinshasa, plays an important
Areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the Garden is currently active
educational role especially for students. To interest and attract people to the garden, especially the youth, leaflets were printed. A booklet intended for schools and teachers is a priority for next year. The activities in the garden could have a considerable impact on the perception on management of nature by future generations. The Kinshasa garden was reopened by President Kabila in June 2010, as part of the celebrations to mark 50 years independence. Efforts in all DR Congo gardens aim to reinforce education and awareness in a country hosting the second largest tropical forest in the world. The challenge for the coming years will be to support the gardens in a technical, scientific and financial way to fulfil their mandates. Thanks to the donors (EU, France, Belgium, NGOs), through technical partnerships (Cifor, Eraift, Cirad, Unesco…) and the commitment of local partners, we have been able to establish the beginning of an ex situ conservation strategy for the DR Congo.
Empowering research in Central Africa Biological reference collections form a major tool for basic investigations on, and assessments of, biodiversity. As such, herbaria (collections of preserved plant material) are gold mines of information. Preserved specimens are permanent, reliable and verifiable records of the presence of a species at a given time and place. Although most herbarium specimens from tropical regions are (due to historical reasons) stored in Europe and North America, many notable collections reside in Africa. To make these specimens more widely available international collaboration was necessary. In 2011, we expanded our activities to digitize type specimens (and other valuable specimens) from ten herbaria in Central Africa and Burundi with full involvement of local research communities. Twenty African researchers were trained in operational methods and best practice in handling and digitizing herbarium collections. For the local partners, the project provides a unique opportunity to acquire new skills and improve research infrastructure. It is hoped that by 2013 more than 10,000 historical specimens stored in African herbaria will have been digitized and safeguarded for future generations. This global effort would not have been possible without funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Solar energy links Yangambi to the world Situated in the middle of the rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yangambi forms the largest agricultural research station in the country. Its herbarium contains 150,000 specimens and is one of the biggest and most comprehensive of its kind in Africa. A total of 6,500 different types of plants are conserved, representing 65% of the known flora of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unfortunately, due to turbulent recent history, this research pearl was almost forgotten. Notwithstanding, the buildings and collections of the herbarium are in reasonable condition. In 2008, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium started to collaborate with its Congolese counterparts to reconnect the herbarium to the outer world. In the framework of the â€˜Congo 2010 Expeditionâ€™, a technician of the Garden installed, in 2011, Internet and electricity in the building connected to the first solar panel installation of the region. After years of complete isolation, Yangambi is now able to connect with the rest of the world. â€¨Thanks to this and various other restoration activities, the herbarium of Yangambi can once again play a role in the international scientific arena. The mix of competent and enthusiastic Congolese collaborators, a professional infrastructure, and the herbarium and living plants themselves, are making Yangambi a unique and precious scientific instrument to study Congolese plant diversity, and importantly, to protect it and learn how to make use of it in a sustainable way.
Congolese children discover the beauty of plants in the Botanic Garden of Kisantu
Communication & Education Education has an intrinsic role to play in botanic gardens. Communication needs to be conducted at a variety of levels: to satisfy and encourage public curiosity; inform policy and decision makers; and disseminate findings to the research community. Meise rises to these challenges in a variety of ways. It keeps the public informed via its website; through social media such as Facebook; guided tours on site; targeted press releases; and scientific journals. We also pride ourselves in developing a number of projects that help bring people and plants closer together, this is especially true for the nationâ€™s children who will soon have the future of biodiversity in their hands.
Highlights Africa in focus The National Botanic Garden of Belgium has a long tradition in collaborating with Central Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2011, this collaboration was brought to the attention of the public. In January, representatives from the University of Kisangani (DR Congo), Royal Museum for Central Africa, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and National Botanic Garden of Belgium, officially presented the first scientific results from the previous year’s expedition in DR Congo. The Congo Basin is home to the second largest stand of rainforest on earth and thus acts as a global carbon sink and climate regulator. Understanding and conserving this region is essential for the well-being of humankind. In order to disseminate current, and spearhead future, biodiversity research in that region the aforementioned partners developed the website www.congobiodiv.org. Concurrently with the January presentations, Belgian photographer Kris Pannecoucke displayed stunning photographs, taken during the 2010 expedition, which served as a fantastic ‘shop window’ to engage the general public on this subject. Continuing the African theme, 2011 also saw the opening of the new Monsoon and Savannah House in the Plant Palace and served to highlight some unique African plants from our living collections. This included the original specimen of the typical ‘Afro-Belgian’ Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurenti), collected by Emile Laurent in the Congo at the beginning of the twentieth century. This plant has since been propagated by the horticultural trade and can be found in millions of homes worldwide.
Outdoor photo exhibition ‘Creepy Crawlies from the Wood’
Celebrating forests The United Nations proclaimed 2011 as the International Year of Forests (IYF). In response, the Garden enthusiastically participated in a number of public events. As other Belgian activities focused on native, indigenous forest we decided to focus on other forest habitats. The Garden is in a unique position to do this as it holds archetypal forest plants from around the globe in its living collections. We developed the ‘World Forest Trail’. A leaflet and set of interpretation labels demonstrating to the public where in the world (and where in this Garden) they could find representatives from North American forests, bamboo forests, mangroves, rain forests and taiga, among others. Some of the individual trees highlighted were the African Baobab, European Cork Oak, North American Honey Locust and Canoe Birch.
Above : Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurentii Left : Emile Laurent
In addition, we developed an exhibition of photographs, ‘Creepy Crawlies from the Wood’, highlighting the countless insect and invertebrate species that inhabit these places. Enormously magnified pictures of insects, taken by the Dutch nature photographer Barbara Cook, were displayed beside the trees where these insects occur in the part of the Garden known as ‘Wild Meise’. Additional photographs were exhibited in the Castle. Other events along the same theme included a lecture by Barbara Cook and guided tours along the aforementioned World Forest Trail. A superb exhibition on bonsai trees, organized in collaboration with the Flemish Bonsai Association, concluded our series of events.
Visit the Plant Palace from the comfort of home The Plant Palace consists of a series of 13, climaticallycontrolled, interconnecting glasshouses. It is one of the main attractions of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Under its glass roof thousands of tender plants find shelter from the Belgian weather. This ‘palace of glass’ provides the perfect facility to demonstrate, to the public, the stunning diversity of the Plant Kingdom and show specific adaptations that have enabled plants to colonize the world. C. Cocquyt showing beautiful arranged diatoms from the Van Heurck collection
A night in the museum On 23rd September, the Garden participated in European Researchers’ Night, organized by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). The aims of this event were to highlight, to the public, scientific research and introduce some of the people who work in this field. The Garden was joined by several other Belgian institutes who opened their doors on that night. This year’s theme was the link between Science and Art. Consequently, Meise organized three different activities at the Royal Museums of Fine Art. Together with several scientists, one of our botanical illustrators gave live demonstrations on how a scientific illustration is made, showing the interaction between researcher and artist. The finished illustration is not only an accurate and scientific representation of nature but also, when executed by a professional illustrator, a work of beauty.
Prior to 2011, you would have needed to visit the Garden to admire these botanical wonders. However, with the aid of cutting-edge technology, this can be enjoyed by anybody with an internet connection, from the comfort of their own home. We have, for the first time, made it possible to undertake a 360° panoramic ‘tour’ of the Plant Palace facilitated by high resolution photographs from each of the renovated glasshouses. The tour is interactive: enabling the view to be moved through 360° degrees; focus on particular areas of interest; move between glasshouses; and highlight selected plants. This facility, available through our Garden’s website, allows more people to help plan their visit to the Garden and appreciate the beauty of our Plant Palace wherever they live.
Some of the highlights were the observation of nature’s ‘little works of art’ using microscopes. Under high magnification unicellular algae (diatoms), pollen grains and other botanical structures revealed their hidden, intricate beauty. Meise’s Artistin-Residence, Sandrine de Borman, was another highlight. She presented several creations and enthusiastically explained to an audience how the Garden, its plants and people are a constant source of artistic inspiration.
Part of the art exhibition, in the castle, inspired by the beauty of the garden
New insights bring Garden new audience For over a year, Sandrine de Borman was Artist-in-Residence at the Botanic Garden. During that time she became well accustomed with the staff, plants and areas of the Garden. The culmination of her interpretations came in a fascinating exhibition “Groene omzwervingen – Détours végétaux” held in the Castle between April and October 2011. Following the seasons, she interviewed members of staff, explored the living collections, herbarium, library and even the compost area. Combining her artistic talents with objects that she collected in the domain, she created a wonderful portrait of the Garden showing it in all its diversity and dynamism. She explored in a new way the ancient links between humanity and plants, in particular how plants clothe, feed and shelter us. During her period of residence, Sandrine created a catalogue and artistic guidebook, developed workshops and guided visits that gave new insights to the role of botanic gardens. She highlighted that it is as an interface between the Plant Kingdom and humankind and as a powerhouse of botanical collections. All these activities brought new audiences and promoted the Garden not only as a scientific institute but also as a source of artistic wonder and creativity.
Sandrine de Borman
Publishing Plant Ecology and Evolution The new journal Plant Ecology and Evolution was launched in 2010 by the National Botanic Garden of Belgium and the Royal Botanical Society of Belgium, merging two former journals, the Belgian Journal of Botany and Systematics and Geography of Plants. In 2011, 384 pages were published. About 43% of the papers were on taxonomy and morphology of plants, including several taxonomic revisions. Another 25% of articles were on the ecology and distribution of plants. The journal attracts many Belgian researchers, but also many contributions from international authors. For example, new species have been described from Burundi, Brazil, Cameroon, Gabon, Bolivia, and Turkey. Studies have also been published on a wide range of plants, from algae to orchids and mistletoes to grasses. Based on author feedback, the main motivations for submitting to our journal are primarily the good reputation of the two former titles and secondly the high technical and editorial quality of the new title. We expect to receive our provisional Impact Factor in 2012, which we anticipate will attract more authors. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the journal on the internet in publication databases and abstract indexes.
European Journal of Taxonomy The European Journal of Taxonomy (EJT) is published and funded by a consortium of six leading European Natural History Institutions, united to promote the dissemination of knowledge on taxonomy. The scope of the journal is global, with an emphasis on research involving collections at European institutions. The main advantages of the journal are that it is: - open to all taxonomic contributions in zoology, entomology, botany and palaeontology - an online journal, though a few printed copies will be deposited in the libraries of consortium members - Open Access, that is to say, it is free-of-charge - high in editorial and technical standards - oriented towards digital archiving (biodiversity databasesâ€Ś) based on an interactive web-based facility - stored on a secure web platform that can be maintained at low and sustainable costs A first call for papers was made in June 2011, followed by the launch of the publishing platform in September. Twentyfive manuscripts were submitted in 2011 (for publication the following year). Four papers were published (50 pages) in 2011. The scope and publishing policy of EJT is new and innovative. The editorial team aims to increase visibility of the journal by encouraging scientists to submit manuscripts. Consortium members collectively contribute with financial and technical support to help make this new Journal a success.
Organisation Our garden is an ever-changing organisation with about 180 members of staff, 80 volunteers and 20 guides. Moreover, the domain houses about 50 buildings where people work, make contacts and preserve plant collections.
Meeting the challenge and demands of technology
Technical achievements Building the heating system for tomorrow Safeguarding tropical plants for future generations in our Belgian climate requires glasshouses and powerful heating systems. This has a considerable ecological impact, which we aim to reduce as much as possible. The technicians of the Garden, in collaboration with their colleagues of the Belgian Building Agency, are searching continuously to lower fuel consumption without placing our valuable plant collections in jeopardy. In 2011, several new heating elements were installed in the glasshouses. In addition, the Garden started to replace heat controllers (so called PLCâ€™s) in order to more effectively finetune the temperature in each glasshouse thus saving energy.
Every year the Garden increases its demand on its technical infrastructure and expectations are that it should be faster and be capable of storing more data. In response to this demand an additional 65 Terabytes of computer storage was installed along with an upgrade of its network with a 1 Gbit/s highspeed backbone. It is estimated that the additional storage space and bandwidth improvements will be sufficient for our current projects for the next two years. This insures the high demands are met for the continuation of research and its dissemination. Many of our projects generate terabytes of information mostly in the form of experimental results, databases and images. Our specimen scanning projects, for example, generate about 1,000 high quality images each month and these must be stored safely and be available for viewing over the internet.
Renovating the orangery The Orangery building dates back to 1818 and is associated with Meise Castle, which was destroyed during the Second World War. In the Orangeryâ€™s original carnation it housed tender plants during the winter months to protect them from the Belgian winter. In recent times, however, it has been used as the gardenâ€™s refreshment area; however, over the years it has lacked the care and attention that this elegant building deserves. In 2011, this changed when restoration work began. The large hall was refurbished. In addition, a nearby kiosk was restored to serve people small snacks and drinks. The kiosk has an open fire on Sunday afternoons in winter to help warm visitors. Part of the server room of the garden
Leading figures hand on a dynamic institute Retirement of Jan Rammeloo, Director of the garden The 31st of December 2011 was the last official working day for our director Jan Rammeloo. His leadership over two decades and throughout his career transformed the garden into a dynamic research institute with increased international visibility. His achievements are plenty, but to name a few: he initiated the education service; reinstated the garden’s activities in Central Africa; and initiated the renovation of the Plant Palace. These glasshouses now present our living plants in an attractive and educational way and have dramatically increased the Garden’s visibility and visitor numbers. During his time at the Garden, Jan has not only served as an ambassador for Meise but has been a vital figure in helping develop the international role of botanic gardens. His retirement will allow him to go back to his research interests, namely mushrooms and slime molds. He will also remain active in the world of botanic gardens, inter alia as cochair of the International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN) working group.
Retirement of Elmar Robbrecht Elmar Robbrecht, head of the research department Spermatophytes and Pteridophytes, retired on the 1st of March after a long scientific career at the garden. He first joined Meise in 1974 and became fascinated by one of the largest groups of flowering plants: the coffee family (Rubiaceae). In 1988, he published ‘Tropical Woody Rubiaceae’, up to now the most comprehensive reference work for that family, for which he received the Silver Engler Medal. As an authority of the family he (co-)authored countless scientific papers and proposed a new classification based on molecular data. He also became the driving force behind several series and journals published by our garden. Recently he became Editor-in-Chief of the journal ‘Plant Ecology and Evolution’, jointly published by the garden and the Royal Botanical Society of Belgium, a function he will continue to fulfil beyond retirement.
Facts & Figures
Evolution net assets Legal Personality
The National Botanic Garden of Belgium is funded by a yearly basic allocation given by the federal government. Next to this the Garden has a legal personality that is used to manage its own revenues and projects. The two budgets are given separately.
The net assets of the Legal Personality, i.e. the equity of the Legal Personality minus its liabilities, has dropped dramatically over the last three years. This is mainly due to the recruitment of new staff not funded by external projects. Some of these should be transferred to the state budget as money becomes available as the result of retirements. Evolution "Net Assets" Legal Personality (K€)
Basic allocation and real expenses (in K€) The basic allocation remained almost unchanged over the last three years. The real expenses are 6 to 11 percent lower than the basic allocations as budgets could not be used completely. This is partially due to the difficult political situation of the Garden, which tends to slow down decisions concerning investments and recruitment of personnel. Money that had not been invested at the end of the year had to be returned to the state.
Net assets 01/01/+ Balance year + Net assets 31/12/+
1,030 -161 869
869 -180 689
689 -406 283
1.000 900 800
500 Net assets
400 300 200
The income of the Legal Personality is up for the third consecutive year, mainly thanks to the higher number of external projects and the high number of visitors in 2011.
2000 1000 0 2011
Breakdown of income Legal Personality K€
Breakdown expenses 2011 (in K€) Little more than 70 percent of the budget of 2011 was used to pay the staff of the garden. Fuel consumption is an important annual expense. It is one of the future challenges of the Garden to lower the amount of fuel needed to heat buildings and greenhouses. The renovation of two more greenhouses of the Plant Palace represented the main investment of 2011.
External projects Bookshop Sales publications Ticket sales Hire and sales Service performance Other income Total income
Staff and social service
662 95 40 238 34 30 41 1,140
696 99 24 223 55 41 33 1,171
891 114 54 268 40 47 34 1,448
300 200 100
pr oje cts
Staff and social service
op pu bl ica tio ns T i ck et sa les H ire an d Se sa rv les ice pe rfo rm an ce O th er in co m e
Bo ok sh
Breakdown of income Legal Personality by source (K€)
Breakdown of expenses Legal Personality by source (Kâ‚Ź) Expenses of the Legal Personality are up for the third consecutive year. The higher number of staff members paid on the Legal Personality not funded by external projects are the principal reason for this increase. Change in expenditure by source 2009
475 545 151 51 87
412 671 161 62 86
545 585 215 58 131
Staff paid on LP Staff paid on external projects Staff bookshop and entrance Other costs bookshop Other costs LP (e.g., insurances) Total 800
Staff breakdown per language (situation on the 1st of January of each year) Situated in Flanders, the garden has about 80% Dutch speaking and 20% French speaking employees. This situation has been more or less stable for over forty years.
French Dutch Other
33 142 2
38 145 5
37 139 3
0 Staff paid on LP
Staff paid on external projects
Staff bookshop and entrance
Other costs bookshop
Other costs LP (e.g., insurances)
20 0 2009
The age pyramid shows that more than half of our staff members are aged 45 or more. Medium age is 45.
The number of statutory staff members is going down. This is inter alia due to the delay in the recruitment procedures caused by the difficult political situation of the Garden.
18 70 17 72
17 71 15 85
16 66 18 79
60-+ 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24
Age Pyramid (2011)
Staff breakdown (situation on the 1st of January of each year)
Statutory scientists Statutory non-scientists Contractual scientists Contractual non-scientists
1 13 9 11 12 8 7 5 0
5 17 19 18 14 14 11 10 5
6 30 28 29 26 22 18 15 5
Volunteers In 2011 the number of active volunteers in the Garden rose to 80 persons, representing the equivalent of about 6 full time equivalents. The largest number of volunteers works in the living collections, aiding the gardeners.
Cultivated Wild source
the distribution of living material The number of distributed samples varies from year to year. In 2011, 1,889 samples were distributed, that is to say an increment of 38% compared to the previous year. More than 80% of the given material are seeds and this portion is relatively constant. Most of the provided plant material in 2011 are plants or leaves.
Collections Living plant collection The Living Plant Collection currently includes 23,733 accessions representing 339 families, 2,998 genera, 16,326 taxa or 12,351 plant species. They are distributed between the greenhouses (54%) and the outdoor collections (46%). Mostrepresented plant families in the greenhouses are Cactaceae (1,820 accessions), Orchidaceae (1,779) and Euphorbiaceae (861). In the outdoor collections, the well-represented plant families are Rosaceae (754 accessions), Eriaceae (575) and Liliaceae (494). Taxa Species Accessions
7,428 4,946 10,890
8,898 7,405 12,843
2500 2000 1500 Distribution material
1000 500 0 2009
Evolution of queries
12000 10000 8000
LIVCOL is the database used for the daily management of the Living Collections and their related documentation. This database is partly accessible on the website of the Garden to the public and to scientists, curators, students,... The mean number of queries entered in the database is about 3,000 per year.
2000 0 Taxa
Evolution of the acquisition of seed and living plant material
Compared to the previous year, the Living Collections have been significantly increased in 2011 (26%). This increment is explained mainly by the acquisition of a very large number of succulent Euphorbia and Coffea. The constant and relatively high percentage of material from wild source (from 46 to 59% in the last 3 years) and properly documented attests of the high value of this material in terms of conservation.
3500 3000 Queries Livcol
2000 1500 1000 500 0 2009
Loans and exchange program The transfer of herbarium specimens between the herbaria worldwide is an important step to facilitate botanical research. Specimens can be transferred between herbaria on a temporary basis as loans or on a permanent basis as a gift or as part of a specimen exchange program. In 2011 our herbarium received many herbarium specimens from the herbarium of Wageningen, as they are preparing their transfer to Leiden.
Long-term seed conservation The seed bank is now widely accepted as a complementary ex situ conservation tool to the efforts carried out for in situ conservation. It allows the conservation in the long term (more than 100 years) of a very broad genetic diversity in a restricted space. The seed bank of our Garden currently contains generative material of approximately 772 accessions of wild species collected in the wild in Belgium, 2,144 of wild species of beans and 411 copper plant species endemic of Katanga.
Incoming exchange Incoming gift Incoming loan Outgoing exchange Outgoing gift Outgoing loan
2,799 2,441 535 2,569 164 2,149
3,249 9,668 595 1,426 177 2,012
11,261 2,463 539 2,897 221 3,114
10000 2009 2010
Belgian Flora Copper Flora
0 incoming exchange
Mounting of specimens The mounting of specimens is an important and timeconsuming step that allows plant collections to be conserved in the long-term. In 2011, more than 37,000 plant collection were mounted in the two research departments, partially thanks to the temporarily recruitment of 10 employees by the end of the year. Mounted specimens BT Mounted specimens SP
incoming loan outgoing exchange
Purchase of collections In some cases, valuable collections are purchased from private collectors. In 2011 an exceptional large collection was bought from AndrĂŠ Aptroot, representing a unique lichen herbarium.
25000 Mounted specimens SP
Mounted specimens BT
10000 0 2009
5000 0 2009
Databasing the collections Herbarium specimens contain valuable information about inter alia the distribution, ecology and use of plants. Prior to digitizing, the only way for scientists to access this information was to visit the collection or to request specimens on loan. By imaging and databasing our collections, this information is now in reach of many more potential users. In 2011 more than 40,000 new specimen records have been created within the two departments.
25.000 20.000 15.000
Every year about 3,000 new periodical fascicles are added to the library. About half of these are the result of the exchange program with our own journal Plant Ecology and Evolution. The number of new monographs varies largely from year to year. A considerable part of the new monographs is the result of an exchange program with the books published by the Garden.
Acquisitions monographs Acquisitions periodical fascicles
The number of records in our library database is growing steadily. The entire catalogue contains now more than 120,000 records and is published on-line.
2500 acquisitions monographs
acquisitions periodical fascicles
Monographs Articles Serials Series Valuables Correspondence
44,854 48,011 8,214 4,151 3,376 5,759
47,500 48,516 8,352 4,475 3,383 7,300
48,796 48,834 8,742 4,596 3,385 7,443
1000 500 0 2009
Library visitors 60000 50000 40000
External visitors Loans between libraries
e en c nd sp o
va lu ab les
se ria ls
les ar tic
on og r
The library is open for the public and welcomes every year about 500 visitors. This figure is lower than a decade ago, because literature becomes more and more available on-line thanks to large-scaled digitization projects to which also the Garden actively contributes. 2009
600 500 400 300
200 100 0 2009
Number of publications The number of publications is up for the third year in a row. Especially, the number of publications in journals with an impact factor increased sharply, whereas the number of posters and presentations dropped by c. 50%.
2009 2010 2011
Manuscripts and book chapters
Abstracts of posters or presentations
Other publications (reports, book reviews,â€Ś)
50 64 114
63 61 26
6 5 18
119 130 158
Average impact factor The Impact Factor of the journals listed by ISI Web of Science in which our scientists published varied in 2011 from 0.25 to 5.074. The average IF (excluding papers in journals without IF) raised from 1.267 to 2.21. This is well above 1.102, and close to 2.501, respectively the median IF and the aggregate IF for plant sciences. This demonstrates the above average quality of the research conducted by our scientists.
140 120 2009
0 Manuscripts and book chapters
Abstracts of posters or presentations
Oher publications (reports, book reviews,â€Ś)
2009 2010 2011
28 34 47
20 25 36
Manuscripts and book chapters Papers with IF Papers without IF
Books or book chapters
2 5 31
50 64 114
Plant Ecology and Evolution Together with the Royal Botanical Society of Belgium, the Garden publishes (since 2010) the new journal Plant Ecology and Evolution, merging Systematics and Geography of plants and Belgian Journal of Botany. In the first two years 190 submissions were received. Over 30% of these were returned to the authors for not conforming to guidelines. Of the manuscripts accepted for review, about 45% were accepted for publication.
2010 2011 45 40
0 International papers with IF
International or national papers without IF
Books or book chapters
35 30 25
15 10 5 0 Unsubmitted
Visitors Total number of visitors The total number of visits to the Garden grew to almost 111,000 in 2011. This was the highest number since 1997. In March, April and May the visitor numbers were exceptionally high. The two main reasons for this were the flowering of the Titan Arum in March and the warm spring. This confirms the assumption that the Garden is still perceived as a ‘good weather’ tourist attraction.
Total number of visits
Year cards In spite of the absence of a year card officer the total number of year cards rose in 2011 compared to 2010. This rise can be seen in all three categories. In 2011 the turnover from the year cards represented about € 37,000.
120000 110000 100000 90000 Total number of visits
80000 70000 60000
Individual Gold Gold 1+3 Total Total number of visits with Year Card Average per card
1,222 150 633 2,005
1,253 106 329 1,688
1,382 99 353 1,834
Breakdown of number of visitors (freereduced-full)
The 2011 increase in visitor numbers can be attributed to both free visitors and full rate visitors. The two categories increased with 40%.
500 0 2009
Free Reduced Full
23,812 50,635 21,583
25,988 48,973 19,257
36,602 46,820 27,487
60000 50000 40000
Group visits The majority of the people visiting the Garden do so as families or individuals. However, the number of group visits is growing steadily. Since 2009 we observe a rise in the number of unguided visits. More groups of people decide to visit the Garden without a guide. The number of guided visits rises as well.
Guided visits Unguided groups Total number of groups Guide prestations
460 66 526 423
455 95 550 361
539 137 676 482
700 600 500
200 100 0 Guided visits
Unguided groups Total number of groups
Participation in organized educational visits Most students and pupils visiting do not partake in the educational activities offered by the Garden. In fact we see a substantial decrease of the number of booked school workshops. From 2010 on the school workshops are being reworked in the INQUIRE project. This should eventually lead to a higher number of organized educational visits.
Free visit Guided visit BAMA-module School workshop Total
1,998 663 462 1,882 5,005
2,034 1,276 187 913 4,410
3,060 1,368 201 584 5,213
Garden in the media and social networks The Garden sent 26 (12 Dutch and 14 French) press releases in 2011. This resulted in 456 press appearances in Dutch and 248 in French, distributed across the media with a preponderance of the web based publications.
ho p Sc ho ol
wo rk s
-m od ul e M A
G ui de d
Visitors Garden Shop In total 6,655 visitors entered the Garden Shop. Although this is an increase compared to the previous years it still represents only 6% of the total number of visits to the Garden. The Garden shop should be made more visible to address this problem.
At the entrance 176 press card entries were registered. Number of visitors with valid press card
Presently, 2,515 people subscribe to our digital newsletter sent out seasonally in Dutch and French. Musa subscriptions
500 0 2009
On the Gardenâ€™s Facebook page 72 messages in each language were posted. The number of views rose rapidly during the flowering period of the Titan arum. In just a few days the page was consulted no less than 590,000 times. For 2011 the website of the Garden was consulted by 740,276 visitors (from 239,718 different computers); 6,268,918 times a page of our website was viewed and 15,721,118 times clicked.
Selection of papers published in 2011 in international peer-reviewed journals (co-) authored by staff of the Garden Aptroot A., Van de Vijver B., Lebouvier M. & Ertz D. (2011) Lichens of Ile Amsterdam and Ile Saint Paul (TAAF, southern Indian Ocean). Nova Hedwigia 92: 343-367. Barker P.A., Hurrell E.R., Leng M.J., Wolff C., Cocquyt C., Sloane H. & Verschuren D. (2011) Seasonality in equatorial climate over the last 25 k.y. revealed by oxygen isotope records from Mount Kilimanjaro. Geology 39: 1111-1114. Besse-Lototskaya A.,Verdonschot P.M., Coste M. & Van de Vijver B. (2011) Evaluation of European diatom trophic indices. Ecological Indicators 11: 456-467. Bokhorst S., Huiskes A., Convey P., Sinclair B, Lebouvier M., Van de Vijver B., Wall D.H. (2011) Microclimate impacts of passive warming methods in Antarctica: implications for climate change studies. Polar Biology 34: 1421-1435. Champluvier D. (2011) New and overlooked Acanthaceae taxa for D.R.Congo, Rwanda and Burundi: (I) the genus Barleria. Plant Ecology and Evolution 144: 82-95. Compère P. & Van de Vijver B. (2011) Achnanthidium ennediense (Compère) Compère et Van de Vijver, comb. nov., the true identity of Navicula ennediensis Compère from the Ennedi mountains (Republic of Chad). Algological Studies 136-137: 5-17. Cremer H., de Haan M. & Van de Vijver B. (2011) Cavernosa kapitiana (Bacillariophyceae): Biogeography and morphology of the different life cycle stages. New Zealand Journal of Botany 49: 443-459. De Kesel A., Yorou N.S. & Buyck B. (2011) Cantharellus solidus, a new species from Benin (West-Africa) with a smooth hymenium. Cryptogamie, Mycologie 32: 1-8. Dessein, S., Vanthournout, S. & F. Niyongabo (2011) Geophila erythrocarpa, a new species from R.D.Congo and Zambia. Blumea 56: 149-152. Diagre D. (2011) Les plant-hunters belges durant le règne de Léopold 1er (1831-1870): succès et paradoxe. Circumscribere. International Journal for the History of Science 9: 78-99. Diagre D. (2011) Les naturalistes collecteurs: au service de la science… ou du commerce ? Réflexions sur l’étonnant cas belge (1830-1870). Bulletin d’Histoire et d’Épistémologie des Sciences de la Vie 18: 131-156. Diederich P., Lawrey J.D., Sikaroodi M., van den Boom P.P.G. & Ertz D. (2011) Briancoppinsia, a new coelomycetous genus of Arthoniaceae (Arthoniales) for the lichenicolous Phoma cytospora, with a key to this and similar taxa. Fungal Diversity 52: 1-12. Ertz D. & Tehler A. (2011) The phylogeny of Arthoniales (Pezizomycotina) inferred from nucLSU and RPB2 sequences. Fungal Diversity 49: 47-71. Ertz D., Bungartz F., Diederich P. & Tibell L. (2011) Molecular and morphological data place Blarneya in Tylophoron (Arthoniaceae). The Lichenologist 43: 345-356. Faucon M.-P., Muding Tshilong B., Van Rossum, F., Meerts P., Decocq G. & Mahy G. 2012 (prepublished online in 2011) Ecology and hybridization potential of two sympatric metallophytes, the narrow endemic Crepidorhopalon
perennis (Linderniaceae) and its more widespread congener C. tenuis. Biotropica: 44: 454-462. Gams W., Jaklitsch W. & al. (2011) Fungal nomenclature, 3 – A critical response to the ‘Amsterdam Declaration’. Mycotaxon 116: 501-512. Gelorini V., Verbeken A., van Geel B., Cocquyt C. & Verschuren D. (2011) Modern non-pollen palynomorphs from East African lake sediments. Review of Palaebotany and Palynology 164: 143-173. Godefroid S., Piazza C., Rossi G., Buord S., Stevens A.D., Aguraiuja R., Cowell C., Weekley C.W., Vogg G., Iriondo J., Johnson I., Dixon B., Gordon D., Magnanon S., Valentin B., Bjureke K., Koopman R., Vicens M., Virevaire M., Vanderborght T. (2011) How successful are plant species reintroductions? Biological Conservation 144: 672-682. Godefroid S., Van de Vyver A., Stoffelen P., Robbrecht E., Vanderborght T. (2011) Testing the viability of seeds from old herbarium specimens for conservation purposes. Taxon 60: 565-569. Godefroid S., Rivière S., Waldren S., Boretos N., Eastwood R., Vanderborght T. (2011) To what extent are threatened European plant species conserved in seed banks? Biological Conservation 144: 1494-1498. Godefroid S., Phartyal S. & Koedam N. (2011) Natural vs. artificial cold-stratification: which allows better estimates of soil seed banks in a forest ecosystem? Current Science 101: 215-218. Godefroid S. (2011) A long-term view of rare plant reintroduction - Response to Albrecht et al. Biological Conservation 144: 2559. Godefroid S., Vanderborght T. (2011) Plant reintroductions: the need for a global database. Biodiversity and Conservation 20: 3683-3688. Groeninckx I., Briggs M., Davis A.P., De Block P., Robbrecht E., Smets E. & Dessein S. (2011) A new herbaceous genus endemic to Madagascar: Phialiphora (Spermacoceae, Rubiaceae). Taxon 59: 1815-1829. Groom Q.J., Godefroid S. & Lockton A.J. (2011) Native and introduced plants differ in their distribution patterns in southern England. New Journal of Botany 1: 48-57. Janssens S.B., Dessein S. & Smets E. (2011) Portrayal of Impatiens nzabiana (Balsaminaceae): A morpholoigcal, plecular and biogeographic study of a new Gabonese species. Systematic Botany 36: 440-448. Hughes H.J., Sondag F., Cocquyt C., Pandi A., André L. & Cardinal D. (2011) Effect of seasonal biogenic silica variations on dissolved silicon fluxes and isotopic signatures in the Congo River. Limnology and Oceanography 56: 551561. Karunarathna S.C., Yang Z.L., Raspé O., Ko Ko T.W., Vellinga E. C., Zhao R., Bahkali A.H., Chukeatirote E., Degreef J., Callac P. & Hyde K.D. (2011) Lentinus giganteus revisited: new collections from Sri Lanka and Thailand. Mycotaxon 118: 57-71. Kopalová K., Nedbalová L., de Haan M. & Van de Vijver B. (2011) Description of five new species of the diatom genus Luticola (Bacillariophyta, Diadesmidaceae) found in lakes of James Ross Island (Maritime Antarctic Region). Phytotaxa 27: 44-60.
Lemaire B., Van Oevelen S., De Block P., Verstraete B., Smets E., Prinsen E. & Dessein S. (2012, published ahead of print March 4, 2011, doi:10.1099/ijs.0.028019-0). Identification of the bacterial endosymbionts in leaf nodules of Pavetta (Rubiaceae). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 62: 202-209. Lemaire B., Robbrecht E., van Wyk B., Van Oevelen S., Verstraete B., Prinsen E., Smets E. & Dessein S. (2011) Identification, origin and evolution of leaf nodulating symbionts of Sericanthe (Rubiaceae). The Journal of Microbiology 49: 935-941. Lemaire B., Smets E. & Dessein S. (2011) Bacterial leaf symbiosis in Ardisia (Myrsinoideae, Primulaceae): molecular evidence for host specificity. Research in Microbiology 162: 528-534. Lemaire B., Vandamme P., Merckx V., Smets E & Dessein S. (2011) Bacterial leaf symbiosis in angiosperms: Host specificity without co-speciation. PLoS ONE 6: e24430. Niyongabo F., Groeninckx I. & Dessein S. (2011) A new species of Hedythyrsus (Rubiaceae) with comments on the generic delimitations within African Spermacoceae s. l. Systematic Botany 36: 1028-1037. Ooms M., Van de Vijver B., Temmerman S. & Beyens L. (2011) A Holocene palaeoenviromental study of a sediment core from Ile de la Possession, Iles Crozet, sub-Antarctica. Antarctic Science 23: 431-441. Peeters K., Ertz D. & Willems A. (2011) Culturable bacterial diversity at the Princess Elisabeth Station (Utsteinen, Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica) habours many new taxa. Systematic and Applied Microbiology 34: 360-367. Peeters K., Verleyen E., Hodgson D.A., Convey P., Ertz D., Vyverman W. & Willems A. (2012, prepublished online in 2011) Heterotrophic bacterial diversity in aquatic microbial mat communities from Antarctica. Polar Biology 35: 543554. Riaux-Gobin C., Compère P. & Al Handal A.Y. (2011) New Amphicocconeis species off Mascarenes (Western Indian Ocean) and related taxa. Diatom Research 26: 1-15. Riaux-Gobin C., Compère P. & Al Handal A.Y. (2011) Species of the Cocconeis peltoides group with a marginal row of unusual processes (Mascarenes and Kerguelen Islands, Indian Ocean) Diatom Research 26: 325-338. Riaux-Gobin C., Romero O. E., Compère P. & Al Handal, A.Y. (2011) Small-sized Achnanthales (Bacillariophyta) from coral sands off Mascarenes (Western Indian Ocean) Bibliotheca Diatomologica 57: 1-234. Robbrecht E. (2011) Proceedings of the XIXth AETFAT Congress (Madagascar 2010). Plant Ecology and Evolution 144: 241. Romero O.E. & Van de Vijver B. (2011) Cocconeis crozetensis Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyceae): a new monoraphid diatom from subantarctic freshwater and moss habitats. Diatom Research 26: 89-98. Ruilin Z., Samantha Karunarathna, Raspé O., Parra L.A., Guinberteau J., Moinard M., De Kesel A., Barroso G., Courtecuisse R., Hyde K.D., Guelly A.K., Desjardin D.E. & Callac P. (2011) Major clades in tropical Agaricus. Fungal Diversity 51: 279-296. Somme L., Raabová J., Jacquemart A.-L. & Raspé O. 2012
(prepublished online in 2011) Development and multiplexing of microsatellite markers using pyrosequencing in the clonal plant Comarum palustre (Rosaceae). Molecular Ecology Resources 12: 91-97. Souffreau C., Verbruggen H., Wolfe A.P., Vanormelingen P., Siver P.A., Cox E.J., Mann D.G., Van de Vijver B., Sabbe K. & Vyverman W. (2011) A time-calibrated multi-gene phylogeny of the diatom genus Pinnularia. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 61: 866-879. Taedoumg H., P. De Block P. Hamon & Sonke B. (2011) Craterispermum parvifolium and C. robbrechtianum spp. nov. (Rubiaceae) from west central Africa. Nordic Journal of Botany 29: 700-707. van den Boom P.P.G., Brand M., Ertz D., Kalb K., Magain N., Masson D., Schiefelbein U., Sipman H.J.M. & Sérusiaux E. (2011) Discovering the lichen diversity of a remote tropical island: a working list of species collected on Reunion (Mascarene archipelago, Indian Ocean). Herzogia 24: 325349. Vanderpoorten A., Hardy O.J., Lambinon J. & Raspé O. (2011) Two reproductively isolated cytotypes and a swarm of highly inbred, disconnected populations: a glimpse into Salicornia’s evolutionary history… and challenging taxonomy. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 630-644. Vanderweyen A. & Fraiture A. (2011) Catalogue des Uredinales de Belgique, 3ème partie: genre Puccinia. Lejeunia NS 189: 1-65. Van de Vijver B., Zidarova R. & de Haan M. (2011) Four new Luticola taxa (Bacillariophyta) from the South Shetland Islands and James Ross Island (Maritime Antarctic Region) Nova Hedwigia 92: 137-158. Van de Vijver B., Zidarova R., Sterken M., Verleyen E., de Haan M., Vyverman W., Hintz F. & Sabbe K. (2011) Revision of the genus Navicula s.s. (Bacillariophyceae) in inland waters of the Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic with the description of 5 new species. Phycologia 50: 281-297. Van de Vijver B. Ector L., Beltrami M.E., de Haan M., Falasco E., Flubikova D., Jarlman A., Kelly M., Novais M.H., Wojtal A. (2011) A critical analysis of the type material of Achnanthidium lineare W. Sm. (Bacillariophyceae) Algological Studies 136: 167-192. Van de Vijver B., Jarlman A., Lange-Bertalot H., Mertens A., de Haan M. & Ector L. (2011) Four new Achnanthidium species (Bacillariophyceae). Algological studies 136: 193-210. Van de Vijver B. & Zidarova R. (2011) Five new taxa in the genus Pinnularia sectio Distantes (Bacillariophyta) from Livingston Island (South Shetland Islands). Phytotaxa 24: 39-50. Van de Vijver B., Jüttner I., Gurung S., Sharma C., Sharma S., de Haan M. & Cox E.J. (2011) The genus Cymbopleura (Cymbellales, Bacillariophyta) from high altitude freshwater habitats, Everest National Park, Nepal, with the description of two new species. Fottea 11: 245-269. Van Rossum F., Stiers I., Van Geert A., Triest L. & Hardy O.J. (2011) Fluorescent dye particles as pollen analogues for measuring pollen dispersal in an insect-pollinated forest herb. Oecologia 165: 663-674. Verloove F. & Soldano A. (2011) Studies in Italian Cyperaceae. 2. Miscellaneous notes. Webbia 66: 69-75.
Verloove F. (2011) Verbena incompta (Verbenaceae), an overlooked xenophyte in Europe. Willdenowia 41: 43-49. Verloove F. & Lambinon J. (2011) The non-native vascular flora of Belgium: new combinations and a new variety. New Journal of Botany 1: 38-42. Verloove F. & Reyes-Betancort A. (2011) Additions to the flora of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). Collectanea Botanica 30: 63-78. Verstraete B., Van Elst D., Steyn H., Van Wyk B., Lemaire, B., Smets E. & Dessein S. (2011) Endophytic bacteria in toxic South African plants: Identification, phylogeny and possible involvement in Gousiekte. PLoS ONE 6: e19265. Walters G., Dauby G., Stévart T., Dessein S. & Lachenaud O. (2011) Novitates Gabonenses 80: additions and corrections to the flora of Gabon. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 68: 423442. Wojtal A.Z., Ector L., Van de Vijver B., Morales E.A., Blanco S., Piatek J., Smieja A. (2011) The Achnanthidium minutissimum complex (Bacillariophyceae) in southern Poland. Algological Studies 136: 211-238. Zhao R., Karunarathna S., Raspé O., Parra L.A., Guinberteau J., Moinard M., De Kesel A., Barroso G., Courtecuisse R., Hyde K.D., Guelly A.K., Desjardin D.E. & Callac P. (2011) Major clades in tropical Agaricus. Fungal Diversity 51: 279–296.
Selection of book chapters and books published in 2011 (co-)authored by staff of the Garden De Kesel A. (2011) Belangrijke gebieden 10. Domein van Bouchout, Meise. in: Steeman R et al. (red.). Paddenstoelen in Vlaams-Brabant en het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (1989-2009) - Verspreiding en ecologie. Natuurpunt Studie, Mechelen. 728 p. De Kesel A. & Gerstmans C. (2011) Laboulbeniales (Ascomycetes) from the Domain of Bouchout (Meise, Belgium). Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 171-180. Diagre D. (2011) La Belgique, le Brésil et Flore (1830-1900). In: Terra Brasilis, Catalogue de l’exposition Terra Brasilis, Festival Europalia Brasil, Bruxelles, ING, p. 210-219. Diagre D. (2011) Science, enseignement, sociabilité bourgeoise… les antagonistes fonctions des jardins botaniques de Bruxelles 1788-1870», Actes du colloque La Promenade au Tournant des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, Belgique/Europe, ULB, 1920/12/2008, in: Études sur le 18e siècle- XVIII (BelgiqueFrance-Angleterre), 2011, Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles, p. 219-240. Eyi Ndong H., Degreef J. & De Kesel A. (2011) Champignons comestibles des forêts denses d’Afrique centrale Taxonomie et identification. Abc-Taxa 10: 1-254. Fraiture A. & Vanderweyen A. (2011) Gymnosporangium sabinae, … such a beautiful disease. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 193-194. Fraiture A. (2011) Observation of Lindtneria leucobryophila in the greenhouses of the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 195-197. Fraiture A. (2011) Duchesnea indica, Frommeëlla mexicana
and associated organisms, a little ecosystem on a potentially invasive plant. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 198. Godefroid S. (2011) Brussels. In: Plants and Habitats of European Cities, J.G. Kelcey and N. Müller (eds.), p. 131170, Springer, New York. Groom Q.J. (2011) Gall causing organisms in the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 155-158. Groom Q.J. (2011) Observations on the occurrence of Cirsium × hybridum in Belgium. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 139-143. Hoste I. (ed.) (2011) – The spontaneous flora of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium (Domein van Bouchout, Meise). Scripta Botanica Belgica 47. Meise, National Botanic Garden of Belgium. 219 p. Hoste I. (2011) – Biodiversity from Ka’apor to ATBI: An absorbing fondness for orchids and other creatures large and small. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 9-18. Hoste I. (2011) – Landoltia punctata and Lemna aequinoctialis (Lemnaceae) in the greenhouses of the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 145-153. Hoste I. & Geerinck D. (2011) The vegetation of the enclosed courtyard at the herbarium building in Hoste I., The spontaneous flora of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 145-153. Ronse A. & Vidts S. (2011) A short history of the land use and vegetation of the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 19-26. Ronse A. (2011) The wild flora of the Botanic Garden: an introduction. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 27-58. Ronse A. (2011) The ‘truly’ indigenous flora. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 59-66. Ronse A. (2011) Stinsen plants and other deliberate introductions in the (semi-) natural zones of the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 67-75. Ronse A. (2011) External neophytes. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 77-88. Ronse A. (2011) ‘Botanic garden escapes’ from the living collections at the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 89-111. Ronse A. (2011) Expansion of the alien Ranunculus parviflorus in the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 127-129. Ronse A. & Leten M. (2011) Wood lawn neophytes: historical park relics. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 113-121. Ronse A. & Groom Q. (2011) Fumaria parviflora in Belgium, extinct or not ? Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 125-126. Ronse A., de Haan M., Van de Kerckhove O., Ertz D., De Pauw S. & Van den Broeck D. (2011) Biodiversity and land management within the Domain of the Botanic Garden. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 207-217. Van de Vijver B. & Compère P. (2011) – Aquatic diatoms (Bacillariophyta) from a small pool at the herbarium building. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 199-205. Van den Broeck D. & Ertz D. (2011) A lichen hot spot at fifteen kilometres from the centre of Brussels. Scripta Botanica Belgica 47: 159-170. Yorou N.S. & De Kesel A. (2011) Champignons supérieurs Larger fungi. in: Neuenschwander, P., Sinsin, B. & Goergen,
G. (eds) 2011. Protection de la Nature en Afrique de l’Ouest: Une Liste Rouge pour le Bénin. Nature Conservation in West Africa: Red List for Benin. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria. 365 pages. (ISBN 978 978 49796 9 6). Chapter 5: 47-60. Zwaenepoel A., Vanhecke L., Cosyns E. & Termote J. (2011) Hfdst. 3. Waterhuishouding, muskusratten en moerasvegetaties, p.3398 in A. Zwaenepoel & F. Verhaeghe (red.) De broeken van de IJzer- en Handzamevallei. Uitg. OC-ANB, XIV+350 p. Zwaenepoel A., Vanhecke L., Cosyns E. & Verhaeghe F. (2011) Hfdst. 4. Graslanden: over paters, open broeken, pieten en broekengras, p.99-159 in A. Zwaenepoel & F. Verhaeghe (red.) De broeken van de IJzer- en Handzamevallei. Uitg. OC-ANB, XIV+350 p. Zwaenepoel A., Verhaeghe F. , Devos K. & Vanhecke L., Cosyns E. & al. (2011) Hfdst. 5. Jacht, p. 160-216 in A. Zwaenepoel & F. Verhaeghe (red.) De broeken van de IJzer- en Handzamevallei. Uitg. OC-ANB, XIV+350 p.
Selection of reports presented in 2011 (co-)authored by staff of the Garden Becuwe M. & Vanhecke L. (2011) Aanbevelingen voor het beheer van de polderwaterlopen in de kom van Lampernisse. 1. Historisch-ecologisch onderzoek van het beheer van polderwaterlopen vanaf 1900 tot heden. Meise, Nationale Plantentuin van België, 98 p. Groom, Q.J. & A.J. Richards (2011) The Rare Plant Register of South Northumberland (VC67) http://www.bsbi.org.uk/ VC67RPR2011v2.pdf Van den Broeck D., Ertz D., Van Rossum F. & Fraiture A. (2011) Convention d’étude pour l’inventaire des polypores et des lichens des placettes du réseau de suivi extensif de l’état sanitaire des écosystèmes forestiers – Rapport final. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise, 165 p. Vanderborght T. (2011) - List of Seeds - 2011, published on-line: http://www.br.fgov.be/RESEARCH/COLLECTIONS/ LIVING/INDEX_SEMINUM/ Vanhecke L. (2011) Monitoringprogramma voor het ruilverkavelingsproject Reninge - Module vegetatie, Jaar +5 (2010). Meise, Nationale Plantentuin van België, rapport 84 p. Vanhecke L. (2011) Monitoringprogramma voor het ruilverkavelingsproject Fortem - Module vegetatie, Jaar +5 (2010). Meise, Nationale Plantentuin van België, rapport 147 p. Vanhecke L. & Becuwe M. (2011) Aanbevelingen voor het beheer van de polderwaterlopen in de kom van Lampernisse. 2. Inventarisatie van de huidig voorkomende vegetaties in de sloten, typering van de sloten en het beschrijven van de evolutie vanaf 1996 tot heden. Meise, Nationale Plantentuin van België, 293 p. Vanhecke L. & Becuwe M. (2011) Aanbevelingen voor het beheer van de polderwaterlopen in de kom van Lampernisse. 3. Aanbevelingen voor een geschikt beheer van de polderwaterlopen in het komgebied van Lampernisse. Meise, Nationale Plantentuin van België, 100 p.
Section Algae and Mosses
DEPT. BT Bryophytes & Thallophytes
Section Fungi and Lichens
Administration Accounting Human Resources Informatics
Section Ferns, Gymnosperms and Monocots Section Dicots
DEPT. SP Spermatophytes & Pteridophytes
Health & Safety Technical Support Reception Security Maintenance
Section Living Plant Collections and Park Section Library and Archives Section Museology and Education
National Botanic Garden of Belgium Maarten Strack van Schijndel Romain Vael
National Botanic Garden of Belgium Botanical Values
ÂŠ National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, 2012
National Botanic Garden of Belgium Bouchout Domain Nieuwelaan 38 1860 Meise
Something is growing in Meise!