Collection image

2011 NMNH Board Favorites

Last updated over 3 years ago

Board members of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History recommended these taxa as their favorites in advance of their November 2011 meeting.

  • 71372_88_88

    Acinonyx jubatus


    Recommended by Michael Collins

  • 62629_88_88

    Amazilia beryllina

    Berylline Hummingbird

    Recommended by Jonathan Fink

    "The Berylline is one of the rarest of the 14 hummingbird species found in Arizona, where I used to live. Our daughter’s middle name is Berylline, after the bird."

  • 89427_88_88

    Balistoides conspicillum

    Clown Triggerfish

    Recommended by Roger Sant

    "It makes me happy every time I see it."

  • 07860_88_88

    Clusia rosea

    Pitch Apple

    Recommended by Cristián Samper

  • 42203_88_88

    Cynara scolymus

    Globe Artichoke

    Recommended by Gabriela Febres-Cordero

    "The artichoke is good for liver, constipation, diabetes and gout."

  • 44236_88_88

    Erythronium albidum

    White Trout Lily

    Recommended by Paul Risser

    "Because it blooms early in the spring before the tree leaves unfold."

  • 70376_88_88

    Felis catus

    Domestic Cat

    Recommended by Shirley Sherwood

    "I have always enjoyed having cats as pets, especially Persian cats."

  • 33002_88_88

    Homo sapiens


    Recommended by Peter Buck and Lisbet Rausing

    "My biggest concern about humans is how we will ensure we maintain and improve the 'rambunctious garden' of the 'post-wild' world, to borrow the terms of Emma Marris (while also ensuring the well-being and health of all members of our own species)."
    -- Lisbet Rausing

  • 58528_88_88


    Lightning Bug

    Recommended by William Luers

    "The lightening bug was the first creature that stimulated my curiosity about the wonders of the world when I was small child growing up in Springfield, Illinois. Lightening bugs would spread over our back yard in the late spring. I developed a child’s affection for this funny little creature and a desire to learn the how and the why of the glow. I am saddened by the thought that the lightening bug is rapidly disappearing and that my grandchildren may never have the opportunity to be awakened to the world by the lightning bug."

  • 93377_88_88


    African Elephants

    Recommended by John Fahey

    "Love their size and magisterial movement, and the 'family' nature of their social system and interactions."

  • 91749_88_88



    Recommended by Kathryn Fuller

    "What came to mind is the octopus, not a particular species of octopus. I was thinking about the experiments on their learning capacity, about the videos of their getting out of tanks in labs at night to stalk prey, about their color changes, keen senses, and ability to get into the tiniest spaces. I've always been excited to find an octopus while diving and am fascinated by how complex and sophisticated an invertebrate can be!"

  • 54446_88_88


    Moth Orchids

    Recommended by Paula Kerger

  • 40242_88_88

    Phoebastria nigripes

    Black-footed Albatross

    Recommended by Scott Edwards

    "It is majestic, inspiring, accomplishes remarkable feats of flight and is a symbol of the peril of the Pacific biota."

  • 30798_88_88

    Pinus wallichiana

    Blue Pine

    Recommended by Whitney MacMillan

  • 53415_88_88

    Pongo abelii

    Sumatran Orangutan

    Recommended by Marshall Turner

    "They appear interested, contemplative, and can hang by one arm for hours. Very cool."

  • 18668_88_88

    Xamia xami

    Xami Hairstreak

    Recommended by Jorge Soberón

    "It is important because I worked with this species for 10 years, and got to know her very well."

  • 76818_88_88

    Zea mays


    Recommended by Jeremy Sabloff

    "Because this plant has fed so many people for millennia, and the domestication of maize has been one of the great gifts of Native Americans to the world."