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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 85.djvu/525

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

DECEMBER, 1914




THE CINCHONA BOTANICAL STATION
By Professor DUNCAN S. JOHNSON

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

THE botanical laboratory and garden at Cinchona, in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, which for the past ten years has been a tropical station of the New York Botanical Garden, is now to be maintained under the auspices of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, with the cooperation of the Jamaican government. The British Association is concerned primarily in making Cinchona available for British investigators, but it is believed that, except when the laboratory is taxed to its capacity by appointees of this association, its privileges, will be extended, upon the recommendation of the Jamaican government, to properly accredited American botanists.

The opening of a new chapter in the history of this long-established seat of botanical activity makes this a fitting time to call attention to the work that has been done at this laboratory during the past forty years, and to its peculiar advantages in location as a botanical station. We may also note the evidence for the need of such a laboratory, and the character of its possible service to botanical science. With the general appreciation of the variety of plant material and other advantages to be had at this laboratory, it is believed that Cinchona will be more and more resorted to by investigators working on those botanical problems which can best be studied with organisms living under tropical or subtropical conditions.

The need of a botanical laboratory in the western tropics, which could offer the facilities and give the stimulus afforded to old-world botanists by the Dutch garden at Buitenzorg, in Java, has long been recognized by American botanists. It is true that biological explorers in quest of new forms, or of new evidence concerning the distribution of known forms, have been searching since the days of Hans Sloane (1687) and Humboldt (1799-1804) through many parts of the western tropics. The plant taxonomists of Europe, of the H. S. National Herbarium, of