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Arnold Clifford

Explore the craft of research with visiting scholars, artists, and experts in an informal setting with snacks and drinks.

Join us for a conversation with Diné botanist and geologist Arnold Clifford, focusing on his research practice of ethnobotany.

Arnold is a geologist, botanist, ethnobotanist and an authority on Navajo history and culture. Arnold started studying plants at the age of 10 years. His maternal grandmother, Sarah Charley, was instrumental in teaching Arnold his first lessons in Navajo ethnobotany. He was first taught about edible plants followed by helping his grandmother to collect native plants for creating different colored dyes for natural wool that his grandmother carded and spun to create wonderful woven rugs. Arnold’s training continued as he learned about the great diversity of native plants that grow out on the range while herding sheep. Later he learned about medicinal plants, tobaccos and ceremonial plants. For the past 35 years, Arnold has been collecting and documenting the flora of the southwestern province of the United States, from the high alpines of southwestern Colorado to the low land deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, parts of Nevada and California. Arnold maintains his own personal collection at the Carrizo Mountain Herbarium, where there are about 30,000 plant specimens stored. His collection includes many rare plants of the southwest, including about 35 new species he has discovered, 15 of which have been described and published, with 20 specimens still in need of describing, naming and publishing. Arnold is also co-editor of the “Flora of the Four Corners Region,” a flora of vascular plants of the San Juan River drainage basin. This flora was published by Missouri Botanic Garden in 2013. Arnold has also co-published numerous new plant species from the southwest desert with five plants named after him. He also named a new buckwheat after his grandmother, Eriogonum sarahiae N.D. Atwood & A. Clifford. Arnold is now putting together a flora and geology of the Navajo Indian Reservation. He is also trying to get his Herbarium registered so that his herbarium can be recognized nationwide and internationally.

Thursday, March 2, 12:15 pm
38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall

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Arnold Clifford will also be at BGC for a pop up artist’s studio, on Saturday, March 4, 2-4 pm, learn more here.