Aaron Goldberg

Aaron Goldberg

Aaron Goldberg is one of the main observers for the Spring Flowering List. In fact, in recent years you could say he is the main observer for the Spring Flowering List. Out of the 940 species observed in Spring 2000, Aaron recorded 761. Since the mid-1980s, he has made about 75% of all observations. He has recorded spring flower dates since the beginning of the list in 1970.

Although Aaron worked as a professional parasitologist for the U.S.D.A., his first love in life has always been botany. In 1962, Aaron received his Ph.D. from George Washington University, under the guidance of Lyman Smith, a curator in the Department of Botany at NMNH. From that time, Aaron has published several papers with the Smithsonian, including an illustrated key of the flowering plants of Brazil and a treatise on the classification, evolution and phylogeny of the Monocot/Dicot families. Aaron retired from the U.S.D.A. in 1972 and has made botanical work his full-time occupation ever since.

His interest in the spring flowering dates comes from his insatiable curiosity about plant life. He says he appreciates the beauty of the plants, but also is interested in the intellectual aspects of the spring-flowering project. From first winter thaw through May, Aaron spends lunch breaks and at least one weekend day each week observing spring flowers and recording their first flowering times. His main observation localities are the National Arboretum, U.S. Botanic Garden, and Smithsonian gardens in DC; Brookside Gardens in Maryland; and Green Springs Garden in Virginia. Aaron does not own a car; most of the places are reached through a series of bus rides. In the cold and in the heat, Aaron is out with his eyes on the ground looking for those first blooms. Without his efforts, the spring flowering list would wilt away.