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Seamus O'Brien to Deliver 2022 John Dwyer Lecture at Missouri Botanical Garden

by Jacob Born

Seamus O’Brien, one of Ireland’s best-known horticulturists, will deliver the 35th (2022) John Dwyer Public Lecture at 4 p.m. Friday, October 7, in the Lelia J. and David N. Farr Auditorium at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard. The lecture, sponsored by Saint Louis University’s Department of Biology and the Missouri Botanical Garden, is free and open to the public.

Seamus O'Brien
Seamus O’Brien, one of Ireland’s best-known horticulturists, will deliver the 35th (2022) John Dwyer Public Lecture. Photo submitted by Seamus O'Brien.

Hooker travelled to Sikkim in 1847 and discovered many new plant species unknown to the West at the time. In his trips, O’Brien took the same journey and experienced for himself the thrilling, and at times dangerous, expedition of discovery. O’Brien shares his stories in the award-winning book In the Footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker: A Sikkim Adventure (2018).

O'Brien has travelled extensively across the globe to study plants in their native habitats, most notably to China, Nepal, Tibet, California, Bhutan, Myanmar, Chile, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and India. 

The annual John Dwyer Lecture in Biology honors the memory of Dr. John Dwyer, a professor of biology at Saint Louis University and research associate of the Missouri Botanical Garden. For more information on the Dwyer Lecture, contact Dr. Allison Miller in the Department of Biology at


About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.

About Seamus O’Brien

Seamus O’Brien is Head Gardener at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, the country estate and rural annex of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in Dublin. He received his formal horticultural training at Glasnevin and also holds an International Diploma in Botanic Gardens Management from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

In the past he has been Head Gardener of several notable Irish gardens with historic plant collections. He returned to Glasnevin as a staff member in February 2000. He moved to manage the gardens at Kilmacurragh in May 2006. 

He has published two award-winning books, In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry and his Chinese Collectors (2011), and In the Footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker: A Sikkim Adventure (2018). He also contributes to several publications including Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, The Irish Garden, the Irish Garden Plant Society newsletter and the International Dendrology Society Year Book.

In 2018, Seamus was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland’s Gold Medal of Honor, in 2021 he was made a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club (New York) and in 2022 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s (UK) Loder Rhododendron Cup.

About Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s mission is “to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.” Today, 160 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display.