Friday, December 10, 2010

Encyclia dickinsoniana, an orchid named after Chicago native Stirling Dickinson

Stirling Dickinson from Chicago lived and traveled in Mexico in the last century. He is known for helping the old silver mining town San Miguel de Allende 166 miles northwest of Mexico City to turn into an international art center [1]. Dickinson is said to have had three passions: art, baseball and orchids. In the 1960s he explored the Chiapas highlands in southern Mexico and discovered an orchid species there, which in 1971 was named after him. Both the binomial name, Encyclia dickensoniana, and the common name, Dickinson's Encyclia [2], honor the discoverer. Another synonym can be found: Epidendrum dickinsonianum Withner 1970 [3]. Like any orchid flower, dickensoniana flowers look like pieces of art.

Keywords: botany, Orchidaceae, epiphyte, scientific name, eponym

[1] Jonathan Kandell: Under the spell of San Miguel de Allende. Smithsonian December 2010, 41 (8) , pp. 74-83.
Encyclia dickinsoniana (Withner) F. Hamer:
[3] Encyclia dickinsoniana (Withner) Hamer 1985: Photo.

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