Cafe Botanique, Wednesday April 4th, 6:30-8 p.m.


From Human Anatomy to Botany and “The New Sylva”
Dr. Sarah Simblet, Oxford, U.K.

Dr. Sarah Simblet is an artist, broadcaster, lecturer and anatomist whose works explores the relationship between science, history and art. Simblet teaches anatomy at the University of Oxford and lectures at the National Gallery, London. She has published three major art reference books: Anatomy for the Artist, The Drawing Book and Botany for the Artist. Simblet also co-authored The New Sylva, a contemporary version of John Evelyn’s influential 1664 forestry text Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions. Simblet will discuss the importance of visual literacy in the past, present and future of academia and art.


April 4, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Cafe Botanique, March 7th, 6:30-8 p.m: TIME

Ion Clock Laser 3 (Photo James Burrus)

A Walk Through Time – The Evolution of Time Measurement through the Ages
James Burrus, Public Information and Outreach Coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder


Explore the history of time and timekeeping with James Burrus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST develops standards for timekeeping and creates revolutionary technology, including an atomic clock the size of a grain of rice! The NIST-F1 atomic clock (the U.S. national standard for time and frequency) counts the natural vibrations in cesium atoms so accurately… it will neither gain nor lose a second in over 100 million years!

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Cafe Botanique, February 8, 6:30-8 p.m.


Wild and cultivated stimulant plant qat in areas of historic cultivation
Mark P. Simmons, Ph.D. Colorado State University, Fort Collins 

Qat (Catha edulis) is a woody plant native to eastern Africa that is cultivated for stimulant alkaloids. The wild origins and dispersal of cultivars have only been described in contradictory historical documents. Mark will present genetic evidence documenting the wild origins, human-mediated dispersal, and genetic divergence of cultivated qat compared to wild qat in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen.

Dr. Mark Simmons is currently Professor and Curator of the herbarium at College of Natural Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.



Thursday, February 8, 2018
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30-8 p.m.
Reserve you seat by clicking here

Cafe Botanique, January 28, 2018 - 1-2:30 p.m.

Map of Thurstons’ 1976 collection trip with the herbarium specimen and illustration of Encyclia flabellatum (illustration by Bonnie Jacubos)

Thurstons’ Expeditions and Orchid Collection
Karen May

Who were the Thurstons? Why were they interested in collecting orchids, and when, where and how did they travel to grow their collection? Join Karen May as she shares her findings on the Thurstons and their unique collection. The presentation will encompass field notes, photographs, specimens and botanical illustrations commissioned by the Thurstons.


Karen May received the Foundational Certificate in Botanical Illustration in 2012. This presentation is part of her work towards the diploma in Botanical Illustration.

Sunday, January 28, 1-2:30 p.m.
Gates Hall

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Cafe Botanique, January 10, 2018; 6:30-8 p.m.

Cannabis sativa: What genetics tell us about the “devil’s lettuce”
Anna Schwabe, M.S., UNC, Greely

Cannabis sativa is a multi-billion dollar crop, and yet, relatively little is understood about genetic relationships among varietals and the wide phenotypic diversity within the species. Decades of prohibition have severely delayed Cannabis research, and, as such, there are large gaps in our scientific understanding of this incredibly important plant. Multiple genetic studies show variation within strains, which is problematic for consumers expecting specific effects.

Anna Schwabe, M.S. is a doctoral candidate at the University of Northern Colorado. Anna has strong connections with Denver Botanic Gardens as she is not only a graduate of the School of Botanical Art and Illustration, but she is also the former manager of the Research and Conservation genetics lab. Although she wears many hats, she considers herself an evolutionary biologist. Her current research uses a multifaceted approach to determine relationships in Cannabis sativa. Ultimately, she aims to answer questions surrounding variation observed within strains of plants that are largely propagated through cloning.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall

6:30-8 p.m.

Cafe Botanique, November 1, 6:30-8 p.m.


Ute Indian Prayer Trees
John W. Anderson, author 

This presentation is based on the book “Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region” by John W. Anderson and published by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS). The Culturally Modified trees are believed to have been cultivated between 150-450 years ago and are found throughout Colorado. Learn about the original inhabitants of the Pikes Peak region, their world view and history, and how these trees connect us to the richness of their culture.

John Anderson is an author, artist and consultant. He spent 10 years working in the corporate world, and before that served two-terms as the elected Sheriff for El Paso County, Colorado. Although John has travelled around the world—including several adventures on a catamaran sailing the Caribbean, three corporate security assignments into a combat zone on the Horn of Africa and landing on an aircraft carrier at sea in the Pacific Ocean—he is most fascinated by the rich history and art he has discovered in his own back yard in the American Southwest

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Cafe Botanique, October 11, 2017

Helleborus orientalis 'Ivory Prince', watercolor and graphite by Susan Gurnutte

Supplements: Are They Seeds or Weeds
Monika Nuffer, Pharm.D., Skaggs School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine, University of Colorado
Join us in a discussion around the origins of medicine from botanical sources, the history of various plant uses and the continued interest in identifying medicinal properties from botanicals. Dr. Monika Nuffer will provide a brief background on some of the herbs grown at Denver Botanic Gardens, and answer questions about common herbal remedies.


 Monika Nuffer, Pharm.D. is a clinical pharmacist with expertise in Integrative Medicine.  She provides individualized consults where she evaluates and explains the safety and efficacy as well as pros and cons of different herbs and supplements patients are or are considering using. Taking her patients  complete medication profiles into account, she screens for interactions and duplications and helps to optimize pharmacotherapy treatment at The Center for Integrative Medicine (TCFIM). Dr. Nuffer holds faculty appointments at the University of Colorado in both the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine.

Wednesday, October 11, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall