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Obituary


Dear Dewey,

When your message arrived I had just left the office and the UK behind for a 
couple of weeks and have only just returned to read the sad news about Monroe 
Birdsey. 

I only met Monroe once, when I was researching and photographing Aroids - 
Plants of the Arum Family - in 1984 I think it would be.  He very kindly 
allowed me to visit his wonderful collection and I remember being almost as 
fascinated by his puns as his plants.  I also remember being pretty nervous 
as I had been forewarned about the likelihood of a ticking off if he didn't 
take to me, or if I stepped out of line!  In fact he was perfectly charming 
and I enjoyed every minute of the visit and only wished I could spend longer 
and get to know him better.

But the continuing debt I owe to Monroe is his book The Cultivated Aroids.  
It was already out of print when I first became interested in aroids in the 
1970s but fortunately RBG Kew had a copy and I arranged for a photocopy of 
every page. (I never did find a copy so I still consult my photocopies to 
this day.) Monroe's book, together with Cecil Prime's Lords and Ladies were 
the only books I could find on this amazing family of plants, which started 
me on the track that led to Aroids - Plants of the Arum Family.

So Monroe's work really was an inspiration and is something I shall always 
value.

With kind regards,

Deni Bown





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