InterLogic Publishers is pleased to share content from its upcoming book: Belize Facts and Figures with you. Meet unsung Belizean hero, Mr. Percivald Gentle, eminent Belizean botanist and taxonomist. He had a plant Genus named in his honor. I think he may be the only Belizean to have achieved this. Do we still produce such great people in Belize? We need to get back on track.
Born: 1890, Died: 1958
Percivald Hildebert Gentle can be described as the first native Belizean natural scientist. Gentle started his career as a botanist employed by Professor H. H. Bartlett of the University of Michigan who made collections of plants in Peten in 1931. Gentle collected independently in 1932 in Belize. He worked as assistant to Dr. C. L. Lundell between 1933 and 1936.
Gentle was a self motivated botanist who had the talent to discern very minute details between plants which marked the differences between similar species. Over a period of 20 years, he collected over 9755 specimens. This ability was rewarded by the fact that his collections were contracted and housed by three different herbaria including The University of Michigan, The Lundell Herbarium and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
His work represents Belize’s largest plant collection made by a single individual. The plant genus Gentlea was named in his honor.