This site is dedicated herbaria, collections of preserved plant specimens and demonstrates how interesting and important herbaria are. For example, the plant below dates from the 1818 is from the collection of William Darlington, a Pennsylvania Congressman who fought for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution, worked with those exploring the Western United States, and collaborated with European botanists.As you can see from the enlargement of the label, this snowberry plant was grown from seed brought back from the Missouri by Lewis and Clark.This blend of history and biology is one of many interesting aspects the herbarium.
One of the best ways to learn about herbaria and the work they do is to view videos made by noted herbaria. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Plant Family Tree from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
- S.M. Tracy Herbarium at Texas A & M University
- Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
If you would like to make your own pressed plant specimens, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has helpful videos: