A new Anthurium species
A species to honor aroid expert Julius Boos
There are few honors granted to those that love plants greater than having a living plant species named in your honor. The new aroid species Anthurium boosii will be soon be published to honor a friend to many serious plant collectors, naturalist Julius Boos of West Palm Beach, FL. The plaque to the right was given to Julius on the evening of September 19, 2009 at the International Aroid Show in Miami, FL by aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Dr. Croat is one of the world's leading aroid scientists.
The IAS has its own discussion group known as Aroid l. http://www.aroid.org/aroid_l/ Rather than a forum such as normal on-line forums, Aroid l is a mail server "list" which is where the "L" in Aroid l originated. When I first joined the International Aroid Society there was always this masterful "voice" on Aroid l that had the ability to explain extremely detailed botanical information in an easily understood manner. Something told me it was a "booming" voice with a gentle and highly educated mind forming the thoughts but I wouldn't be able to hear it "ring" for some years until Julius and I first me in Miami in 2007.
That enormous west Indian "voice" belongs to a friend of many Julius Boos whom some of us now lovingly call "Uncle Crazy". You simply have to be with Julius for a day or two to understand why he has gained that handle but I guarantee it isn't because he is nuts!
Julius grew up on the island of Trinidad and has done some of the craziest things anyone can imagine during his 63 years of life. Many of us have been privileged to read of his outlandish adventures while wishing we were right there with him. He's worked with botanists to grant names to new plant species including Philodendron xanadu Croat, Mayo and Boos. He's traveled to exotic destinations, he's worked in the oil fields of South America, he's written many scientific articles and he's devised more "recipes" and eaten more aroids than almost any living human! If you are among those that believe all aroid species are poisonous then Julius is living proof those stories are often not based in science. I am personally honored to be growing one of Julius' two research specimens of Philodendron xanadu in the Exotic Rainforest collection. Philodendron xanadu
Julius is also one of the most kind and brilliant people I've ever had the privilege to know. I don't think he'll scold me for telling this story but Julius has no educational degree and was taken out of school when he was at a very young age. I still can't comprehend why but someone thought this man with an IQ that may well defy being measured couldn't cope in school. Believe me, "Uncle Crazy" should have been the "Superintendent of Schools" for the entire Caribbean!
Although this website largely features aroid species there is one page that is visited more than any other and that page is about an exotic Impatiens species which is known all over the world as the "Rare Thailand Parrot Flower". That page is visited by close to 50,000 people per year and was initially researched and encouraged by Julius. The Rare Thailand Parrot Flower Were it not for Julius this website may not be in existence today.
Julius has since become one of my most respected friends and someone I often turn to for aroid information as well as advice on virtually any plant question. I'm far from the only one that feels that way. The depth of Julius' knowledge is immense and his incredible intellect on many scientific subjects quickly astounds anyone that "sits at his feet" to learn.
Lots of people feel the same way as do I and if you haven't had the opportunity to meet "Ju-Bo" then you must make plans to attend the IAS Show and Sale next year in Miami. No person is ever disappointed and you'll make a friend for life.
In the early summer of 2009 Julius was diagnosed with several forms of cancer which now affect his liver, femur and possibly his pancreas. It was a great honor for those of us that were privileged to be at the annual IAS dinner to watch Dr. Tom Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis present Julius with an award declaring a new Anthurium species will be published to science. That species will be known to the world of botanical science as Anthurium boosii Croat.
The type specimen for Anthurium boosii was collected by Dr. Croat and Geneviève Ferry near Carchi in the northwest corner of Ecuador along the road from El Chical to Tobar Donoso. The specimen was found 6.6 km (4.1 miles) west of El Chichal at an elevation of 1000 meters (3,280 feet) in August, 2004, The collection number for the specimen at the Missouri Botanical Garden is Croat & G. Ferry # 92950.
With the help of our mutual friend Ted Held I attempted to photograph the presentation award given to Julius on Saturday afternoon before the dinner but a variety of photographic problems made the images far less than I wanted to present here. If you've ever tried to photograph anything under glass you'll understand. Fortunately Tom had sent the photographs and text that would be a part of the presentation a few days earlier so I've managed to "cut and paste" an approximation of Julius' award for all to see. Both the photos and text are at the bottom of this page. Since the publication of this species is a work in progress there is some information yet to be completed before Dr. Croat's paper is published.
Although I've had to cut it in half I purposely left the images as large as possible since I wanted everyone to be able to read the text near actual size.
Julius, I know many of us considers you a kindred spirit and you are as close to a brother as I've ever known. You are without any doubt one of the most loved people in the International Aroid Society and your work on the board of governors will always be appreciated. We all want you to know how much you are respected for your friendship and service to the IAS. Your knowledge of and adoration for the plant species many of us love to grow makes you a very special friend. Thanks for all the advice and guidance you have given to us all. You deserve a plant from every genera of Araceae named in your honor!
You are a dear friend to all of us and even though you know I can't stand for long I'm now "on my feet" with a raised glass!! Thanks Julius.
September 29, 2009
Our dear friend Julius died of pancreatic cancer on Sunday, July 10, 2010.
The plant photos on this page were taken by Dr. Tom Croat
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