Print version ISSN 0102-3306
Acta Bot. Bras. vol.26 no.2 Feira de Santana Apr./June 2012
Centennial of Dr. Graziela Barroso
The Sociedade Botânica do Brasil (SBB) presents here, in Acta Botanica Brasilica, a tribute to Dr. Graziela Maciel Barroso, for the legacy she left to Brazilian scientists. A legacy that, if translated into a myriad of actions, was based in the constant search to understand, characterize, and conserve the species of the Brazilian flora. This year, which is the centennial of Dr. Graziela's birth, there will be activities at different universities and research institutions related to Dr. Graziela's legacy. The SBB would also like to pay tribute to her because she was one of the biggest researchers of Scientia Amabilis in the Terra Brasilis. We emphasize here the influence she had on the generations that followed her, as well as the importance of her publications and guidance.
With her voice, of well chosen words, heard by so many men and women inside and outside academic spaces, especially in classrooms, auditoriums, and between the plants and books in the coziness of the laboratory, she aroused a deep curiosity about plants and the processes of biology. In crowded classrooms, she delivered many lectures on issues that stimulated the attention of students, especially young botanists; there were few SBB congresses where Dr. Graziela did not give a talk or have meetings with students in the herbarium. Her talks touched everybody that attended because they invoked a passion, even if silent, to participate in the search for knowledge and the conservation of the Brazilian flora. Her voice echoed between the pioneer voices of conservation causes, in defense of natural areas, together with her contemporaries (such as Burle Marx, Lutzenberger, and many others) against the indiscriminate cutting of forests. Her image and her words reached various newspapers, journals and television programs, where she won over presenters and the public with her skinny body that echoed a strong voice and deep knowledge.
She published articles and books, primarily in the areas of taxonomy and morphology, based on many hours of herbarium and laboratory work, identified specimens, and on field expeditions searched for new specimens to include in collections. There were numerous botanists that accompanied her on expeditions, always returning with field books with annotations that resulted in many days of research and new challenges. The herbarium, at whatever Brazilian institution, was her favorite place.
She dedicated herself to studying complex groups of the Brazilian flora, such as Asteraceae, Araceae, Dioscoriaceae, Leguminosae, and Myrtaceae. She described various new species to science and many others were named after her. As a taxonomist she joined research groups of various subjects, sharing her expertise when a taxonomic identification was necessary, so that different fields in science could make progress. Her knowledge of the diversity and morphology of Brazilian plants allowed her to assume the scientific leadership of two works that filled a large gap: Sistemática de Angiospermas do Brasil, published in three volumes, and Frutos e sementes. Morfologia aplicada à Sistemática de Dicotiledôneas, published as a single volume.
She felt that the country needed many botanists, of different specialties, to understand the diversity and richness of the Brazilian flora. With this in mind, she never made restrictions to orient in this or that group or in this or that geographic region. She always faced the challenges of studying with her students. She was also the teacher of many professors and researchers that today are helping to form new botanists and continuing to move Brazilian botany forward.
Although a staff member at the botanical garden in Rio de Janeiro (Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro) throughout her career, for approximately three years she was involved in integrating a group of professors that founded departments and institutions at the University of Brasília. Today, Dr. Graziela, who was born in Mato Grosso, is known throughout Brazil as a researcher and professor, due to the influence of her voice, articles and books, and to how widespread her students and followers have become. Her legacy is marked by the awareness and example of her citizenship that was intrinsic to her life. This grand Brazilian botanist became a member of the Sociedade Botânica do Brasil the same year it was founded; her registration at the SBB was approved at a meeting on November 30th, 1950. When the membership of Graziela Maciel Barroso is seen, all of the associates are filled with pride to be part of the Sociedade Botânica do Brasil.