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Lucas Mertehikian, Dumbarton Oaks Plant Humanities Fellow

Lucas Mertehikian is a postdoctoral fellow in Plant Humanities at Dumbarton Oaks. He received his PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, where he was also a graduate student associate at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. His dissertation, Fake Originals: Collecting Latin America, examines how ideas of Latin America were constructed between the 1850s and 1950s through US-based collections, including botanical specimens. He is also interested in researching the cultural history of plants and gardens in Latin America and their literary and artistic representation.

Guarana Fruit

Guaraná: Stimulation from the Amazon to the World

Long cherished by Indigenous peoples for its medicinal and stimulating properties, guaraná remains a key element of Brazilian identity.
Ilex paraguariensis

Plant of the Month: Yerba Mate

The biological and cultural profile of mate has affected its global expansion, unlike other plants native to the Americas, such as cacao and maize.

Plant of the Month: Sunflower

With the invasion of Ukraine, it seemed like sunflowers suddenly appeared on the political landscape. Yet they’ve long held symbolic and economic value in Europe.