It is with great sadness that the IWGS announces the passing of Donald W. Bryne of Suwannee Labs in Lake City, Florida on Sunday January 23, 2011. Don served as a IWGS Director, is a member of the IWGS Hall of Fame and freely shared his knowledge and adventures with everyone.
Don and his wife Shirley started Suwannee Laboratories in 1966 primarily selling aquarium plants and over the years expanded into aquatics for water gardening. Donâ•˙s avid interest in plants took him around the world. He has earned the titles of world explorer, adventurer and self-taught aquatic botanist. Don also possessed a keen interest and knowledge of fossils.
In the mid 1980â•˙s Don and Shirley made their first trip to the Amazon region to search out the Giant Victoria waterlily. They had permission to bring back Victoria seeds which were shared by Longwood Gardens all over the world. Over the next 30 years they would return almost annually bringing with them the uninitiated, many of whom were IWGS members, to explore the Amazon and Rio Negro areas of Brazil.
Don would search for new and unusual plant specimens. Among his introductions to the trade are Variegated Hymenocalis, Luwigia sedioides, Phyllanthus fluitans, as well as N.Shirley Bryne, N.Crystal. N. Angela and N. Suwannee Mist.
Don Bryne was instrumental in the formation of the Florida Aquatic Plant Growers Association, which later merged with the Florida Aquaculture Association. He frequently led the opposition against the State of Florida regulators that wished to shut down the aquatic plant industry in Florida.
The IWGS has lost one of its founding members, finest advocates and an extraordinary plant explorer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley, Angie and the rest of the family. A celebration of Don’s life will take place some time in February.
Thank you Don for enriching our wondrous world of ponds and aquatic plants