Plant Science & Collections

Our Botanical Research

Several botanical research projects are underway at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The MidCoast Flora project, in progress and in collaboration with the Maine Natural Areas Program (MNAP), endeavors to understand and document the complete current plant biodiversity of the MidCoast region. Of particular interest are Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties, which have been understudied and are relatively poorly understood. Land trusts and other conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, and private landowners have granted access to CMBG and MNAP botanists to visit their lands for botanical study. Voucher specimens from this project contribute to our rapidly growing herbarium collections.

A fifteen-year, intensive demographic study of pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule) is nearing completion at CMBG. Pioneered by Dr. Joanne Shape, a former trustee, and assisted by staff and volunteers, the study seeks to understand population trends in this ecologically complex orchid.

CMBG engages members, volunteers and staff in citizen science research; 2018 marks our sixth year as an active partner in the Signs of the Seasons project, a phenology study led by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant. CMBG volunteers and staff monitor populations of plants and birds both on and off-site.

Our Horticultural Research

Plans for our horticultural program are underway; our goal is to research, develop and propagate new and unique cultivars for gardens and landscapes in northern New England. In keeping with our commitment to ecological horticulture, selections will focus on underutilized native species that show ornamental promise and climate adaptability.

Hosting Research

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens welcomes and encourages visiting scientists and students to practice biological and horticultural research on its 295 acres. Recently, we have hosted several students from Bates College studying pollination ecology, and researchers from the University of Florida studying conifer phylogeny. Collections data from our gardens are also presently included in a study at Smith College examining potential range shifts in plants. If you or your students are interested in conducting research at CMBG, please contact Melissa Cullina at