Calderon, Cleofé E.

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Biographical History

Cleofé E. Calderon was born on October 26, 1929 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There she studied with Prof. Ing. Lorenzo Parodi, the renowned agrostologist, at the University of Buenos Aires. During a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1961-1962, “Cleo”, was introduced to Curator of Grasses, Dr. Thomas R. Soderstrom, in the Department of Botany at the U.S. National Herbarium at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. The two began a close collaboration that included field collecting and publishing. She became a prominent botanist specializing in bamboo. With support from the Smithsonian Research Foundation and the Smithsonian’s Office of Systematics and Office of Ecology, the Office of Scientific Affairs of the Organization of American States, and the National Geographic Society, Cleo was able to undertake field work in Central and South America, as well as enjoying time in Europe and India consulting with influential botanists. She collected plant specimens in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil between 1966 and 1982. Calderon spent the majority of her time doing field work and collecting in Brazil. In 1976 she and her colleagues set out on ten-week journey to study and collect bamboo in the Mata Atlantica of eastern Brazil, an area well-known for being a point of species radiation for this group of plants. It was during this trip that she rediscovered the elusive Anomochloa marantoidea, a small species of bamboo last seen in the late 1840s. In 1979 she was in back in Amazonas, Brazil collecting grass specimens. Her last collections were made during a trip to Ecuador and Colombia in 1981-1982. When Soderstrom’s health began to fail in 1985, Cleo had left the field of botany altogether and returned to Argentina.


Cleofé E. Calderón. Bamboo Science & Culture : the Journal of the American Bamboo Society, vol. 21, pp. 1. Accessed from Retrieved November 17, 2011.

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