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Howard Scott Gentry
was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
botanist recognized as the world's leading authority on the agave
Agave is a genus of monocots. The plants are perennial, but each rosette flowers once and then dies ; they are commonly known as the century plant....
He worked for the United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...
, and was a research botanist with the Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located within Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937 and established at this site in 1939, the garden now has...
in Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...
after 1971. He also collected many of the specimens now at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California
San Marino is a small, affluent city in Los Angeles County, California. Incorporated in 1913, the City founders designed the community to be uniquely residential, with expansive properties surrounded by beautiful gardens, wide streets, and well maintained parkways...
His 1942 study of the plants of the Río Mayo region of northwestern Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...
became a classic for the extent of its coverage of a previously little-known area.
In addition to purely botanical work, he was interested in ethnobotany
Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants....
, and his plant descriptions include information about their uses by indigenous peoples.
- Río Mayo Plants of Sonora-Chihuahua (1942), later updated posthumously as Gentry's Rio Mayo Plants (University of Arizona Press, 1998) ISBN 0-8165-1726-6
- The Agave Family of Sonora (USDA, 1972)
- The Agaves of Baja California (California Academy of Sciences, 1978)
- Agaves of Continental North America (University of Arizona Press, 1982) ISBN 0-8165-2395-9