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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.

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.