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  An afternoon in St. Louis
From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2002.02.13 at 15:49:53(8199)

This weekend past, I was in St. Louis, to interview with Wash U faculty about getting into their Ph.D. program. I met with Dr. Croat at MoBot (who appeared to have a fungal infection in the middle finger of his left hand), and we discussed my interests relative to his. I also got to see the research greenhouses at MoBot, particularly Dr. Croat's aroids. The Wall (of climbing aroids) was very impressive. I was particularly intriued by his collection of Stenospermation -- more so after he said that almost nothing is known of this genus, either its systematics or its ecology.

I also saw some of the more public parts of MoBot, including the Climatron. As one who has traveled in the tropics, I can say the Climatron is very well done for its purpose; I almost felt I was really in the tropics again. The heat and humidity filled my whole body with a healthy feeling, in contrast to the faint cold/allergy feeling I had outside.

The next day, I went to the St. Louis Zoo. Inside the Primate House was an attractive garden including a number of aroid species, with a species of birds-nest Anthurium in flower, and some nice specimens of the "Kris Plant" Alocasia.

I hope to go back to school come fall, and Wash U is definitely high on my preferences list.

Jason Hernandez

From: Tom Croat Thomas.Croat at mobot.org> on 2002.02.13 at 20:39:48(8204)
Title: RE: An afternoon in St. Louis

Dear Jason: It was nice to meet you and I hope that you succeed in getting in to Washington University but I just wanted to set the record straight. What you thought was fungus on my middle finger is in fact something quite the contrary. I might as well explain it. If you had looked closely you might have noticed that all of the fingers on my left hand are similarly affected (though the plastic surgeon did not do such a good job with the middle finger). When I was a graduate student I was collecting plants in a VW bug. Intent on finding all the Solidago I could find (I was doing work on this group for my Ph.D. thesis at the University of Kansas)I inadvertently drove off the road. The car rolled three times, throwing me out somewhere through this process, then landing on top of me. I got a good blow to the head so remember nothing of this but the emergency workers found me sitting in my car (now back on its wheels) with severe burns which conformed well to
the fins which cool the motor, so they concluded that I had been under the car when I got burned. Anyway, my plastic surgeon said that I should come back to have my fingers "prettied up", but I just did not see the point in doing this.


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