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Plants of the South Pacific with Dr. Warren Wagner, Smithsonian Institution

Event Date:

April 10 @ 12:00 pm


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
900 S. Palm Ave
Sarasota, FL 34236


Jeannie Perales

Program Description:

Dr. Wagner’s talk will help connect Paul Gauguin to the plants of the South Pacific at the turn of the 20th century. Some of the most culturally and economically important plants of the South Pacific such as coconut, hibiscus, taro, bananas, sugar cane, breadfruit, and the charismatic Pandanus, or screw pine, exist in Selby Gardens. Many of these plants were introduced to the islands by Polynesian settlers from Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Selby Gardens’ exhibition, “Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise” (open through June 30, 2019) highlights the essential role of botanicals in achieving the artist’s vision of the exotic. Together with lush displays of tropical plants in the conservatory and gardens, “Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise” features ten of the artist’s original dramatic woodcut prints and wood engravings, photographs showcasing Tahiti during the time of his travels, historic maps as well as visual materials that shaped his work. Dr. Wagner will speak to the migration of plants including “Tahitian” vanilla, a plant indigenous to the Americas and introduced to Tahiti in the mid-19th century, where it escaped into the wild and now forms a part of the indigenous flora and culture. Dr. Warren Wagner is a Research Botanist & Curator at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. His forte is the native flora, ecosystems and conservation of the Hawaiian Islands.



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