Herbarium Stories: Ukraine

A broken window in the Schmalhausen & Rogowicz Memorial Herbaria Room of the National Herbarium of Ukraine (Mosyakin and Shiyan, 2022)

So far the herbarium stories I’ve told in this series of posts are about discovering hidden collections and bringing more order and attention to them.  The story in this post is about an orderly collection that has been thrown into disorder.  The National Herbarium of Ukraine (KW) at the M.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany in Kyiv was hit by a Russian missile strike on October 10, 2022.  The specimens themselves were spared damage as were the staff members, but windows were broken, debris strewn around, walls and ceilings crumbled.  The staff worked to return things as close to normal as they could:  boarding up windows, cleaning up fallen plaster, getting things back into some semblance of order.  In fact, there were even plans to begin some restoration work in November, but by that time it was clear that materials and tools wouldn’t be available for the foreseeable future. 

As with so much of the devastation in Ukraine, this was an obvious attack on a civilian target.  You can’t get much more nonmilitant than an herbarium.  The same was true for the entire area surround the Kholdny Institute:  university buildings, museums, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and other facilities.  All this is outlined in an article by Sergei Mosyakin of the Institute of Botany and Natalia Shiyan of the National Herbarium.  They include photographs of the interior and exterior damage.  The trauma of the attack is palpable in their descriptions.  As with any such destruction, they kept discovering new problems, such as a leaky roof with the first rain after the bombing. 

It is apparent from the herbarium’s website, and from the information on Index Herbariorum as of this post, Ukraine has a sizable botanical infrastructure, with 26 active herbaria, though the activity has slowed to a trickle since the war began.  There are no loans being exchanged, though if possible curators will send digital images.  The herbarium at Karazin University in Kharkiv had been hit on March 3, 2022 also with infrastructure damage, but no harm to personnel.  Across Ukraine, scientific endeavors of all kinds have been seriously impacted by the war, mirroring what has happened to all aspects of Ukrainian life.  Yet botanists are still attempting to protect their collections, so this is a story of hope as well as devastation.

The National Herbarium, which celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2021, holds over two and a quarter million specimens, the largest collection in Eastern Europe.  Some specimens date to the 18th century.  Obviously, there is an impressive collection of Ukrainian plants, with others from around the world, particularly from countries in the former Soviet Union.  It was an active collection too.  In the ten years before the war, there were a hundred thousand accessions.  One of the great things about investigating the herbarium world, is that, as I’ve mentioned in the earlier posts in this series, it increases geographical awareness.  Unfortunately, war has a similar effect.  I am now much more aware of the countries surrounding Ukraine, because of the large-scale movement of refugees across its borders, and the areas of support and threat that lie there.  The present situation in Ukraine is a reminder that herbaria in many parts of the world have precarious existences.  This is also true of collections in Europe and North America, where a few herbaria continue to be threatened with extinction, but in some parts of the world, the threatened collections can make up the majority.

There was a recent article in Plant Systematics and Evolution about a survey of Balkan Peninsula herbaria (Jogan & Bacic, 2020).  The authors sent out a survey to each of the area’s 57 herbaria listed in Index Herbariorum to assess their activity and resources.  Over 50% responded and the results were quite discouraging.  Now almost every herbarium administrator feels overworked and coping with insufficient resources, but the circumstances seem particularly severe in the Balkans.  Even something as basic as pest control doesn’t meet minimal standards in many cases, and two thirds of facilities have no air conditioning.  There are very low rates of specimen exchanges and loans.  Databases are often not accessible to the public, and many collections are largely undigitized.  This speaks to a weakened botanical community that includes notable institutions such as the Budapest Herbarium with a significant historical collection among its over 2 million specimens.  Geographically, these areas have long fascinated botanists like John Sibthorp who traveled there twice at the end of the 18th century (Harris, . 

It is easy to find stories on the web about what is going on at the Kew or Missouri Botanical Garden herbaria, but it’s important to remember that there are about 3,250 active herbaria according to Index Herbariorum.  Each one is a jewel, each one containing a history of plant life at particular places and times.  No specimens are really replaceable.  Yes, an herbarium that has been damaged such as the one at Berlin-Dahlem in World War II can be partially restored by the gifting of duplicates that had been sent to other institutions, but then these institutions are less rich (Hiepko, 1987).  Those in the herbarium world are making their institutions more public-facing so people outside the botanical world become aware of the scientific and cultural importance of their collections.  However, I think they also have an obligation to communicate with and about institutions that have too long been undervalued, no matter where in the world they may be.


Harris, S. (2007). The Magnificent Flora Graeca: How the Mediterranean Came to the English Garden. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hiepko, P. (1987). The collections of the Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem and their history. Englera, 7, 219–252.

Jogan, N., & Bačič, M. (2020). Balkan herbaria: Do we have to worry about them? Plant Systematics and Evolution, 306(2), 12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-020-01651-1

Mosyakin, S. L., & Shiyan, N. M. (2022). The M.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany and the National Herbarium of Ukraine (KW), Kyiv: Damage due to the missile strikes on 10 October 2022. Ukrainian Botanical Journal, 79(5), 339–342.

Herbarium Stories: Galls

A. Gall specimens stored in clear plastic folders within a 2-ring binder. B. Gall specimen stored in a cardboard box with no lid. C. Gall specimens stored in an insect drawer. SMNS, Stuttgart (Mertz et al., 2022)

Humans like to organize information into categories to make it easier to deal with.  The problem with the living world is that it’s unruly; some things just defy being put into neat boxes.  Among these are galls, plant structures, often on leaves or stems, formed in response to invasion by another organism.  This is frequently an insect, but other culprits include mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, and even parasitic plants.  Usually galls are stored within entomology collections, and thus by the insect species involved.  But any herbarium collection is likely to contain galls, whether they are noted in the label description are not

A recent article describes efforts at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany to deal with the ecological complexity of galls and also to begin to bring greater order to its 1000-2000 specimen gall collection, most of which was unsorted and kept in three large metal cabinets (Mertz et al., 2022).  Some were on herbarium sheets, many were in paper or plastic envelopes, but there were also specimens in albums, file folders, boxes, and newspapers.  In addition there was an early 19th century collection in drawers, and some galls were in the dried insect collection pinned next to the insects that emerged from them.  The last time the collection had been studied was in 1995, and it had never been completely catalogued.  Every natural history collection is overflowing with specimens, many crying for needed attention, but it makes sense that if no one had been interested in it in nearly 30 years, it would not be on anyone’s priority list. 

It’s thanks to the renewed interest in specimens as sources of biodiversity data that collections like this are now being examined and organized.  Galls, precisely because of their classification complexities, are of more interest at present.  Not only are they objects of botanical and entomological interest, but ecological as well.  The authors of this paper decided to systematically organize the 490 specimens collected in the home state of the institution, Baden-Württemberg, and assess the suitability of the different storage options they encountered.  There was single bound album made in the 1970s with browned and cracking Scotch tape holding down the galls:  not a good option.  Some specimens were in boxes, good for large or oddly shaped items, but not great for saving space.  The galls collected in the 19th century were in insect drawers, which were orderly and kept the specimens safe but again, space hogs. 

Envelopes, on the other hand, provided efficient use of space.  The paper ones kept the specimens secure, but they had to be opened for examination:  time consuming and could lead to damage.  Plastic envelopes allowed visibility, though some deteriorate rapidly.  The same holds for a set of specimens kept on paper in plastic sleeves and stored in a binder.  Finally there were the specimens stored on herbarium sheets.  Interestingly, they were not all of standard size, but they kept the specimens safe, unless they were attached with the dreaded Scotch tape.  It is not surprising that when the team evaluated the storage methods, albums and binders with plastic folders were not deemed viable.  Boxes were only considered appropriate for large items, often the case with galls on fungi. Pinning to trays was superior when drawer space was ample.  Herbarium sheets were optimal for digitization and host plant identification, though not appropriate for large galls.  Also, sheets required “appropriate infrastructure,“ meaning herbarium cabinets, which were different from those usually found in entomology departments.  Envelopes were the best option if space is at a premium.  These recommendations all make sense, and provide a guide for those facing an update of gall collections. 

There were other interesting findings.  Aside from the 19th century collections, no organisms were associated with the other galls studied.  As the authors note:  “It is often possible to determine the gall inducer from the appearance of the gall, but it is preferable to store galls along with their inhabitants. (p. 7)”  Insects were identified as the cause of 72% of the gall specimens.  Because oak galls are conspicuous on leaves and easily collected, they were well-represented.  Though galls were collected throughout the year, August, September, and October were the most common months.  Again, oaks come into play, because this is when their galls would be most obvious on fallen leaves.

In terms of future directions for this work, the article ends with lessons learned including the difficulties in digitization, updating species determinations, georeferencing specimens, and dealing with old place names and other outdated terminology.  The authors added:  “The ultimate arrangement of the gall collection is yet to be determined.  One possibility is to organize galls by host plant, which would facilitate research at the ecological level (p. 9).”  This presents another issue.  Who will identify the host plants?  Where should such a collection be housed:  in the entomology department or in the herbarium?  After all, many herbaria already have lichen collections that are made up of two biological kingdoms, why not have some plants and animals stored together as well?  Or just to put it out there, perhaps in an ecology collection?  Maybe this will be the wave of the future, and a way to get ecologists to become more interested in the specifics of the organisms encountered in their work.  It is at least an option worth considering, especially in institutions like the Stuttgart museum that house multiple collections dealing with many forms of life.


Mertz, A.-K., Awad, J., Wendt, I., Dalitz, C., & Krogmann, L. (2022). Curation and digitization of insect galls in the collection of the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart. Integrative Systematics: Stuttgart Contributions to Natural History, 5(2), 193–202. https://doi.org/10.18476/2022.491606

Herbarium Stories: Texas

Heliopsis helianthoides collected by Barton Warnock Nov. 4, 1983; photo by Bill Ward

In the last post, I admitted to knowing little about New Zealand geography, and I am afraid the same is true of Texas.  I recently rediscovered a blog post I’d saved years ago.  It was written in 2010 for the Native Plant Society of Texas by Bill Ward, a retired geologist, who obviously had a broad interest in nature.  He lived in Boerne, north of San Antonio, and his wife had brought home a pile of herbarium specimens from the nearby Cibolo Nature Center where she volunteered.  The staff thought she might be able to use them in “Nature Boxes” that volunteers took to elementary schools.  Obviously they were considered disposable, though not really appropriate for the boxes.  When Ward examined them, he recognized the collector’s name:  Barton Warnock who had taught botany at Sul Ross State University in what is called the Trans-Pecos region of Texas, mountainous land of the Chihuahua Desert west of the Pecos River on the other side of the state from San Antonio. 

After his retirement in the early 1980s, Warnock spent many years collecting plants for “ranch herbaria,” which he set up for many large Trans-Pecos ranches.  He thought ranch families and managers should know and appreciate what was growing on their land.  The 130 specimens Ward was examining had labels with Warnock’s name and that of “Pamela Bevier Las Encinas Ranch, Kendall County,” where Boerne is located.  They were collected in 1983-1984, so Warnock must have surveyed at least one ranch outside of the Trans-Pecos.  Needless to say, Ward was anxious to find out more about these specimens.  Like most, they give tantalizing information that is not quite enough.  Who was Pamela Bevier and where was Las Encinas Ranch?  Through friends, Ward was able to identify Bevier as owner and operator of the ranch from 1979 to 1995 when the new owner changed its name.  Bevier lived in New York and San Antonio, where she was a public health researcher at the University of Texas Science Center. 

Further hunting led Ward to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanist Jason Singhurst whose wife turned out to be Bevier’s niece.  Ward learned that Bevier once lived in Alpine, Texas the site of Sul Ross State University and was good friends with the Warnocks, obviously good enough to persuade Barton to travel east and create an herbarium for the ranch.  Ultimately, Ward arranged for the specimens to be given to the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at the University of Texas, Austin so they could document what was growing at the ranch in the 1980s.

Another Texas story involves the E.L. Reed Herbarium at Texas Tech University in the more northerly part of the state, at Lubbock.  Founded in the early years of what was then Texas Technical College, the herbarium was little used from the 1990s on until Matt Johnson joined the university as herbarium director in 2017.  His first job was to clean and organize the facility and in the process a collection from Guadalupe Mountains National Park was unearthed.  While this was going on, Jonena Hearst, the science program manager for the park was trying to track down specimens that had been collected there.  By law, specimens gathered at national parks are National Park Service property.  Researchers are allowed to take them to their home institutions for study, but the material is supposed to be returned.  Each year national parks are to survey the institutions to track the material. 

Over the years, this system has not been carefully attended to because it is difficult to keep track of the many specimens and institutions involved.  If a researcher dies or loses interest in a project, the specimens can be misplaced or even thrown away.  In her survey, Hearst was only able to locate about 30% of the material from the park.  That’s why she was very pleased when she called Johnson at Texas Tech to ask about 120 specimens that should have been there.  She learned that they had many more than that, and when the collection was digitized, the number turned out to be about 5,000.  Texas Tech professor and herbarium director David Northington and a master’s student Tony Burgess collected in the park from 1971-1977, soon after it was founded.  Here was a wonderful record of what was growing there at the time, especially since Burgess visited remote locations and took detailed notes, which meant that the specimens could be georeferenced. 

A plan was developed to designate certain institutions as repositories for park collections, not just botanical, but zoological, mineralogical, and paleontological material.  They had to be research institutions that were active in the field, with curators to maintain the collections and to provide access to interested researchers.  The E.L. Reed Herbarium fit the bill for botanical collections.  So an agreement was signed officially making it the repository for plant specimens from Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  After collectors have completed their research, specimens must be sent to Texas Tech, which can loan them to other researchers and extract DNA from them.  Not only will this make Hearst’s job a little easier, it also ensures that the collection, available through the Texas Oklahoma Regional Consortium of Herbaria (TORCH) database, will be accessible in the future.

Herbarium Story: Veronica

Veronica, collected in Dec. 1922 by H.L. Darton, [Cultivated] Lawrence, New Zealand. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa

As became clear in the last series of posts (1,2,3,4) on my herbarium “home” at the University of South Carolina, every plant collection is replete with stories.  Discovering them is an exhilarating experience that may play out over a period of time as the story’s elements are pieced together.  The digitization of collections is one way many stories are now being unearthed as was the case described in a blog post from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.  The herbarium staff held an informal “botany blitz” for two weeks during which they devoted themselves to tackling some of the unsorted material that’s a staple of most collections.  Among the finds was a folder labeled Veronica hartiana, but digging failed to come up with any information on this species, so it must never have been published.   

The New Zealand species of Veronica used to belong to a separate genus called Hebe, but these plants were found to be monophyletic with Veronica; hebe is still the common name and also the name of over 800 cultivars.  The six specimens in the folder in question were collected by Henry Darton in 1922-1923 and annotated by Donald Petrie.  Darton taught at the local high school in Lawrence, on New Zealand’s South Island.  He and his friend Henry Hart were plant collectors and breeders who had a nursery where they grew many native species.  Donald Petrie was a Scottish botanist who spent nearly 50 years in New Zealand, working a school inspector for the state of Otago that includes Lawrence.  He named a species of Veronica for Darton, and from the evidence in the folder planned to name one for Hart as well. 

Heidi Meudt, who wrote the blog post, is a curator at the herbarium and went on to investigate this story further.  Scientists and historians have much in common.  Both groups want to answer questions, and in a case like this both science and history are involved.  Petrie noted on the specimen that it had a prostrate growth habit and designated it Veronica hartiana sp. Nov.  He added that “It certainly came from the Chatham Islands and was first grown by a solicitor in Timaru to whom it was sent by Mr. Cox.”  Meudt found that Felix Cox, a sheep farmer, lived in the Chatham Islands, over 600 miles east of New Zealand, and sent many specimens to botanists.  Timaru is on the South Island, a few hours north of Lawrence, so it is likely that the solicitor, who probably was a horticultural enthusiast, had contact with Darton. 

Checking further, Meudt discovered a 1941 letter from Erica Baillie, secretary of the New Zealand Alpine Rock Garden Society.  It accompanied a hebe specimen identified as Veronica chathamica that was “absolutely prostrate.”  She asked that it be identified, noting that someone named Baker said that Captain Hooper of the Amokura brought it back from one of the outlying Chatham Islands.  Meudt points out that two decades after Petrie’s notes, the plant was being cultivated by Baillie, who lived in Wellington on the North Island, so it had gotten around.  The fact that it was prostrate suggests what was identified as Veronica chathamica might be the same or similar to what Petrie proposed as Veronica hartiana

More digging revealed that from 1907 to 1921, George Hooper was captain of the Amokura, a training vessel for young men who wanted to become sailors.  He was interested in natural history and there are several of his plant specimens in the herbarium.  At the end of her post, Meudt summarizes:  “We still don’t know for sure if Veronica ‘Hartii’ is the same as V. chathamica, but these specimens seem to fit well within the variation seen in the specimens in the V. chathamica box at Te Papa, and they match most of the characters in other botanist’s descriptions of V. chathamica.”  She thinks that perhaps more information about the plant will come out of the Darton Hart Project aimed at recreating some of the gardens at Lawrence. 

This is definitely a New Zealand story from start to finish and suggests how herbarium specimens can provide windows into the way plants move around and become part of human culture, of horticulture.  It also reveals how people in diverse walks of life:  a sheep farmer, a ship’s captain, a lawyer, and a school teacher all contributed to the movement and cultivation of this species.  And Meudt was able to document this with specimens.  It would be difficult to ferret out all the stories lurking in herbarium cabinets, but it’s nice to see ones like this come to light.  Meudt not only took the time to investigate but then cared enough to document her work in this fascinating post.  What I didn’t mention is that she also gives a good description of what cultivars are and how they are named. 

I have to admit that I also learned a lot from digging into this story.  My knowledge of New Zealand geography was almost nil.  Yes, I knew there was a North and a South Island but I didn’t know that the Chatham Islands are a NZ Territory.  I had heard of Otago, but didn’t know it was region of New Zealand or that the country is divided into regions, not states.  As always, specimens have ended up making me a slightly more educated person, not only in terms of botany, but in this case, history, geography, and horticulture.

At A.C. Moore Herbarium: Materiality of Specimens

Celtis laevigata var. laevigata collected by Henry Ravenel along the Santee Canal in April. Henry William Ravenel Collection at A.C. Moore Herbarium, University of South Carolina, Columbia

During the pandemic, I became interested in digital medieval manuscripts after reading a blog post by a researcher studying the digitization of manuscripts at Cambridge University and being unable to access the manuscripts themselves (Haaren, 2020).  I began comparing this digitization process to that of herbarium specimens.  “Materiality” is a term much used in the manuscript world for the look and feel of parchment or paper and the way documents are damaged, annotated, amended over time.  It struck me that such issues also pertain to herbarium specimens, but it’s not something that’s often a matter of focus.  Botanists are interested in the information on sheets:  what the plant itself can tell them and what else they can learn from the label, determination slips, and other notations. 

What I want to argue here is that materiality can have at least a subliminal effect on how specimens are viewed and handled.  I want to use as a study case a number of specimens from the herbarium I’ve been highlighting in this series of posts (1,2,3), that of the A.C. Moore Herbarium (USCH) at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.  As I mentioned earlier, it holds the collection of the 19th-century botanist and planter Henry William Ravenel (1817-1887).  Ravenel was born into a family of planters in South Carolina’s low country relatively near the coast.  In the 1840s, he moved to the southwest part of the state, to the town of Aiken, and bought a plantation there.  Of course, the American Civil War is the elephant in this room.  Before then, he was successful in large part because he owned 80 slaves who worked his land, giving him time to devote to plants and fungi.  By 1860, he had published five volumes of fungal exsiccati and had a wide correspondence with the likes of Asa Gray, George Engelmann, and Edward Tuckerman.

Convinced of the confederate cause, Ravenel sunk all his money into war bonds and was thus left in dire financial straits after the war, with no slaves to farm his land and no one willing to buy it at anywhere near its previous value.  He turned to botany, no longer as just a beloved avocation but as a source of income.  His journals and letters, which have all been transcribed and are available online and cross-referenced with his specimens, record his efforts.  After the war, he was able to resume correspondence with his former botanical colleagues.  He wrote to them asking for advice:  would there be an interest in southern specimens (not really in the post-war era), was there a market for the volumes of his exsiccati (Tuckerman was able to sell some of them and also bought some of his books), what about starting a nursery (nurseryman Thomas Meehan in Philadelphia sent him stock and gave him $50 in start-up money that didn’t need to be repaid). 

Ravenel did cobble together a livelihood and a botanical support group.  He was sent by the federal government to collect plants in Texas in 1869, prepared large cuttings of southern trees for Charles Sprague Sargent in Massachusetts, and traded specimens with the likes of Alvan Chapman in Florida, Stephen Olney in Rhode Island Delaware, and Moses Curtis in the Appalachian regions of the Carolinas (Haygood, 1987).  I can’t go into any more of his background, but you can learn about him on the Plants and Planter website.  Now I want to get to the materiality of Ravenel’s specimens by looking at a couple of them.  As was common in the 19th century, most were mounted on thin paper, now discolored.  After Ravenel’s death, a cousin bought the flowering plant collection from his widow and contributed it to Converse College, in Spartanburg, SC (now Converse University).  The college transferred the collection to USCH in 2004, when its conservation was begun.

There are a variety of sheets in any one folder.  In some cases, the original sheets are themselves mounted on heavier sheets (see image in earlier post); in many cases the original paper is cut around the plant, creating a collage that includes the original label and later determinations, some made in the 1930s when the collection was obviously given attention.  The grasses, for example, were sent for annotation to Mary Agnes Chase at the US Department of Agriculture.  There are also specimens that were apparently easier to remove from damaged mounts and pasted to new sheets.  The original labels are also included, and their darkened paper stands out against the white background (see above).

These remounted specimens, which make up most of the Ravenel collection, are what got me thinking about the materiality of the Ravenel collection.  They look so different from the few older sheets that are extant.  All the plants are from the same period, yet the ones on new sheets look so much fresher.  I think there is also a tendency to handle them with less reverence because the paper is not fragile, there is little reminder of their age.  This got me thinking about the folders in the main collections.  Most of the specimens are from the 20th century, with a good number from the 21st.  However, the specimens from the 1930s and 1940s are often on thin and yellowed paper.  Going through a folder, I think there is a subconscious assessment made in handling each sheet:  delicate, old and fragile; recent, tough and vibrant; or somewhere in between.  These are obviously aesthetic assessments, but they are also practical ones in terms of how the sheets are handled.  They may not require the care in handling a medieval manuscript does—or maybe they do.  Plant material is more fragile than the paper on which it is mounted and paper is more fragile than parchment.  Materiality does matter.

Note: I am very grateful to John Nelson and Herrick Brown for their very helpful commentaries and corrections on this series of posts.


Haaren, S. van. (2020, May 25). Physical distancing from manuscripts and the presence of the digital facsimile. Cambridge Medieval Graduate Students. https://camedievalists.wordpress.com/2020/05/25/physical-distancing-from-manuscripts-and-the-presence-of-the-digital-facsimile/

Haygood, T. M. (1987). Henry William Ravenel, 1814-1887: South Carolina Scientist in the Civil War Era. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

At A.C. Moore Herbarium: Ecology

Diphasiastrum digitatum collected by Ronald Chicone, Jr. at Saluda Shoals Park, SC on Novemeber 5, 2000. A.C. Moore Herbarium, University of South Carolina, Columbia

The human brain has a problem with complexity; it can easily be overloaded, which is why simplification and classification are so important in human learning.  This helps to explain why a herbarium sheet usually displays a specimen, or maybe specimens, of a single species.  The plant is spread out so as many observable characteristics as possible are clearly displayed, and since only one species is involved, it makes the sheet easy to put into a single category, a particular species folder.  The same convention of solitude is found in botanical illustration even from the few early illustrations extant on papyrus (Griebeler, 2022).  However, to state the obvious, plants don’t grow this way.  A reminder of this is apparent on an unusual specimen from the A.C. Moore Herbarium (USCH) at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, the institution that is the subject of this series of posts.

The sheet in question is labeled and filed as Diphasiastrum digitatum (USCH0073424) formerly Lycopodium digitatum, a fern ally (see above).  What makes it so eye-catching is that distributed over the sheet are several leaves: one each of maple, oak, and elm.  These are listed on the label as among the species present in this hardwood forest habitat.  Such references are common on labels, but including specimens of the associated species is not.  The leaves are unlabeled, nor are leaves of all the trees mentioned on the label included.  Still, it’s a sheet that catches the eye, and also serves as a reminder that no plant is ever really alone on a sheet.

This Diphasiastrum was collected in 2000 by Ron Chicone, Jr.  A search of the USCH database turned many other specimens collected by him, though none as species-diverse as the Diphasiatrum.  A search of SERNEC, the database for the SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections, revealed many more of his specimens.  LinkedIn provided the information that Ronald Chicone, Jr. graduated from Coastal Carolina University and since then has held several positions, including one as herbarium staff at the University of South Florida.  He is now a land management specialist for the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program in Florida.  So Chicone has spent his career looking at plants in ecological contexts, just as this specimen suggests. 

This fits well into Mason Heberling’s (2022) argument that plant collections have been underused by ecologists for many kinds of studies, including of seasonal and geographical variations in plant traits.  Now botanists are also looking at the roots of herbarium specimens to identify a species’ fungal partners and have successfully extracted DNA from many of them (Heberling & Burke, 2019).  Also, the soil on roots can harbor algae, yet another organism in a vascular plant’s ecosystem—and a reason to leave a little soil on a specimen’s roots (Parker, Schanen & Renner, 1976), though this is considered by some to be haphazard specimen preparation.

Also being investigated is insect damage to specimens’ leaves using a grid system to calculate the extent of eaten areas (Meineke et al., 2019), and it’s not uncommon to find dead insects on a specimen.  Years ago, D.R. Whitehead (1976) wrote an article entitled, “Collecting Beetles in Exotic Places: The Herbarium,” in which he argued that a plant collection was a good place to look for new beetle species.  There is also research on new species of tiny snails first found on plant specimens (Miquel & Bungartz, 2017).  At USCH, researchers have recently begun microscopic examination of invertebrates lurking on algae specimens.  So herbaria can be sources of many kinds of biodiversity beyond the plant world and can contribute to ecological studies on multispecies interactions, including those involving plant pathogens.  

Despite this, I don’t see Chicone’s approach as becoming common, though it does suggest the surprises that can be found in any herbarium.  He was just out of college when he made this collection, so he was relatively new to the world of botany and perhaps therefore less concerned with its traditions and constraints.  Yet, he was hardly a neophyte because the collection number for this specimen is 236.  He probably didn’t mount it, but he must have tucked those leaves into the newspaper in which he pressed the plant.  This means that someone at USCH thought enough of the inclusion to mount the leaves, rather than tossing them out as irrelevant.  So the mounter was also party to this innovation/anomaly.

I am hardly recommending that adding in associated species become standard herbarium practice, though it might be nice if specimens were crossed-reference with those collected at the same time and place.  What I do think is important about this sheet is its role as a reminder that there are many unspoken do’s and don’ts that botanists absorb while working in an herbarium, and it is good to be aware of these.  They are constraints that make botany more organized, and also perhaps more canalized. 

Note: I am very grateful to John Nelson and Herrick Brown for their very helpful commentaries and corrections on this series of posts.


Griebeler, A. (2022). Production and design of early illustrated herbals. Word & Image, 38(2), 104–122. https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.2021.1951518

Heberling, J. M. (2022). Herbaria as big data sources of plant traits. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 183(2), 87–118. https://doi.org/10.1086/717623

Heberling, J. M., & Burke, D. J. (2019). Utilizing herbarium specimens to quantify historical mycorrhizal communities. Applications in Plant Sciences, 7(4), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/aps3.1223

Meineke, E. K., Classen, A. T., Sanders, N. J., & Davies, T. J. (2019). Herbarium specimens reveal increasing herbivory over the past century. Journal of Ecology, 107(1), 105–117. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13057

Miquel, S. E., & Bungartz, F. (2017). Snails found among herbarium specimens of Galapagos lichens and bryophytes, with the description of Scolodonta rinae (Gastropoda: Scolodontidae), a new species of carnivorous micro-mollusk. International Journal of Malacology, 173–186. https://doi.org/10.1127/arch.moll/146/173-186

Whitehead, D. R. (1976). Collecting beetles in exotic places: The herbarium. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 30(3), 249–250.

At A.C. Moore Herbarium: Aesthetics

Limnobium spongia collected by Alvan Chapman in Apalachicola, FL. Henry William Ravenel Collection at A.C. Moore Herbarium, University of South Carolina, Columbia

In this series of posts, I’m focusing on the holdings of the A.C. Moore Herbarium (USCH) at the University of South Carolina.  Here I want to discuss the beauty I come upon among the specimens.  Aesthetically pleasing plants are replete in any herbarium, but since almost all are hidden away most of the time, this beauty goes unappreciated, as does art in the vast warehouses of museums like the Met and the Louvre.  The great thing about volunteering in an herbarium is that I get an opportunity to come upon gorgeous specimens on a regular basis.  Recently, I was hunting for something in the mounting room and saw a Passiflora sheet collected by John Nelson, curator emeritus.  Now Nelson did get help from the plant here; the delicacy of its flower is hard to beat.  Carl Linnaeus also had a lovely example that is now the lectotype for the species Passiflora caerulea

The herbarium holds the specimens of Henry William Ravenel (1814-1887) a nineteenth-century South Carolina botanist.  This collection of slightly more than 6000 specimens was entrusted to the care of the herbarium by Converse College (now University) in Spartanburg, SC.   The college had received the plants from Ravenel’s cousin who had bought them from his widow (Haygood, 1987).  Most of the specimens have been remounted, but in some cases the plants couldn’t be easily removed from the original mount, so the specimen and its paper were attached to a new sheet.  In every case, all labels, notes, and determinations were also remounted.  A specimen I find particularly attractive is a American frogbit Limnobium spongia (HWR-00048010) collected by Alvan Wentworth Chapman in Apalachicola, Florida (see above).  The combination of the form of the leaves and bending of the stems with the texture of the paper makes is so appealing.  The subtlety of the colors of the plant and that of the paper is also attractive. 

In general, the Ravenel specimens are treasures because they not only give evidence of what was growing in the 19th century in South Carolina and other parts of the South, as well as more broadly, since Ravenel exchanged specimens with many botanists.  There are also some notes with interesting information on locale or habitat.  Ravenel’s journals and correspondence have been digitized and transcribed.  They are available on the Plants and Planter website along with all his specimens and even maps, so it is easy to search for information on particular collectors or collection events.  Obviously the University of South Carolina appreciates the collection and has worked with other institutions to maximize its availability to both botanists and historians.

But even for recent collections of species that aren’t that photogenic, an expert mounter can make something wonderful from it.  Take another Nelson specimen, this one of southern bog clubmoss Lycopodiella appressum (USCH0073992, see below).  There are any number of aesthetic theories and definitions of what makes something beautiful.  Among the qualities often mentioned elegance as one, and the Passiflora fits the bill there.  Another is symmetry, and with Lycopodiella the mounter has taken this aesthetic quality and created something eye-catching from rather mundane material.  But there’s more than aesthetics involved in this sheet, there is also a good use of space, to make sure all parts of both plants are displayed.  Some students of beauty think that too much symmetry can be boring, and that an interplay of symmetry and asymmetry is more pleasing as is apparent here.  For this specimen the obvious symmetry is enlivened by the asymmetry of the crossed branches. 

Lycopodiella appressum collected by John Nelson at the headwaters of Sandy Run, SC on June 23, 1989. A.C. Moore Herbarium, University of South Carolina, Columbia

As with any artwork, it takes time to appreciate all this sheet has to offer, and usually botanists tend to push aesthetics aside and focus on the information in a beautifully mounted plant.  This makes perfect sense, specimens are first and foremost scientific objects stored for research and educational purposes.  However, it doesn’t hurt to spend a moment from time to time just to soak in the beauty, because, as I have argued before (see earlier post), aesthetics is an intrinsic part of botanical inquiry.  In the last post, I discussed the difficulties of collecting, but put less emphasis on the thrills, which is rarely mentioned on labels.  John Nelson has described to me the moment when he discovered a new species of hedge-nettle Stachys caroliniana:  it was a holiday weekend, he was at the beach with his family, and he decided to do a little botanizing.  And there it was.  Needless to say none of this made it into the article he wrote with Douglas Rayner (2014) describing the species.  Elation simply is not part of scientific prose, explaining why scientists are considered a rather stuffy lot.  John Nelson would not be described as stuffy.  It is alleged that for many years he dressed as the masked botanical superhero Plantman for various occasions, but he denies any such involvement, adding that since Plantman is real, no one needs dress up like him. 

Nelson will admit to bringing a “Vivat Linnaeus” banner with him when he leads field trips, either for his students or other groups.  He also began the tradition which continues under the present curator, Herrick Brown (also a banner wielder), of saying “Vivat” whenever entering one of the rabbit warren of rooms that make up the herbarium.  Anyone in the room knows to answer “Linnaeus.”  This is more than just a quaint tribute to the father of modern botany, it also has a practical purpose.  The rooms are filled with cabinets, that it’s good to know where a fellow human may be lurking and not come upon them unannounced and scaring both parties.  Such customs makes the A.C. Moore Herbarium a happy, if crowded, space for doing and enjoying botany, as is testified to by the number of volunteers and students who work there, and often return for a visit long after they’ve moved on. 

Note: I am very grateful to John Nelson and Herrick Brown for their very helpful commentaries and corrections on this series of posts.


Haygood, T. M. (1987). Henry William Ravenel, 1814-1887: South Carolina Scientist in the Civil War Era. Birmingham: University of Alabama Press.

Nelson, J. B., & Rayner, D. A. (2014). A new hedge-nettle (Stachys: Lamiaceae) from South Carolina, USA. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 8(2), 431–440.

At A.C. Moore Herbarium: Collecting

Botrychium virginianum collected by Ann Darr and Albert Pittman on August 13, 2003. A.C. Moore Herbarium, University of South Carolina, Columbia

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I volunteer at the A.C. Moore Herbarium (USCH) at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.  I am writing this series of posts during Thanksgiving week in part to let the people at the herbarium know how grateful I am for all I learn from them.  From my years of volunteering here and in New York, I know that developing good volunteer requires a lot of work.  They need training, retraining, reminding, herding, and positive reinforcement by the professionals who have many other things to do.  The herbarium’s curator is Herrick Brown who has years of experience managing and digitizing this collection, and has also worked for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Smithsonian.  He took over three years ago when John B. Nelson became curator emeritus.  Like many retired botanists, Nelson continues to work in the herbarium and collect specimens (over 44,000).  Both men are patient and generous in sharing their knowledge, especially about Southern species, and have taught me a great deal about the history of botany.  Plus they make the herbarium a joyous place, along with Amanda Harmon the herbarium manager, Csilla Czako, the data manager, and a band of volunteers both students and master gardeners. 

Nelson was the one who suggested I write a blog post about what doesn’t get recorded on specimen labels to remind people of the amount of work involved in wrangling plants and the difficulties encountered in the field.  This is a very good point.  Rarely are specimen sheets sweat-stained.  It’s easy to forget that a plant collected in a South Carolina swamp in July was harvested by a botanist who was perspiring profusely, persecuted by mosquitos, and in danger of encountering a venomous snake.  There is a plant called coastal doghobble Leucothoe axillaris that Mark Catesby dealt with over 300 years ago in The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands.  It can still grow in thick stands that are difficult to get through, even for a hunting dog.  Added to that is the South Carolina summer heat and humidity; hydration is essential, and water is heavy to carry. 

Botanists’ logs or journals may make note of some problems, but environmental conditions are so much a part of the job that they are often ignored.  Even if the temperature is moderate and the insects in abeyance, collecting is still work:  taking notes including geographic coordinates, making sure the specimens are labeled, hauling them around.  There is also the disappointment if the particular object of a foray doesn’t appear or is past its prime.  I could go on, but this might get depressing.  So I’ll also mention the thrill of finding something unexpected and in full bloom, or sitting under a tree with a cool breeze providing the perfect respite. 

I want to mention a case where the difficulties slipped onto a specimen label for the fern Botrychium virginianum (USCH0075490, see above).   I found the sheet pictured above on the same day that Nelson gave me the idea for this post.  The label is enlarged so you can see clearly the cross-out on the first line:  “The day started in the wrong direction.”  Ann Darr and Albert Pittman both worked for the SCDNR and were conducting a survey of mafic areas, those with igneous rock, in Pickens County in the northwest part of the state where the Piedmont meets the Blue Ridge Escarpment.  I would assume Darr wrote the label since her collection number is recorded, and Brown has pointed out to me another one of her witty labels.1  However, I don’t know if she later regretted being so blunt, or if Pittman or someone else crossed it out.  However, I’m glad it is still legible.  After all, the precise details about the mistake are given in the next line, and it is easy to see how a mistake was made:  mistaking Little Caesar for Caesar.2

No one is perfect, and it is nice to see such candor, tinged with humor, on a label.  It would have seemed a shame not to note an error that made the day a little (or a lot?) more difficult.  It would have been especially annoying at the start:  all fired up for collecting and then having to go back to square one.  Keep in mind, this was not flat land.  As the labels notes, their access to the collection site was “by way of the Foothills Trail: Sassafras Mountain to Chimneytop Gap.”  This fern was collected in August so a trip to the mountains might have been a nice respite from the heat of Columbia where DNR is headquartered.  Still, no one wants to make a mistake, especially when they are not alone.  Yet having collecting partners is a good idea because of some of the challenges I’ve already mentioned.

John Nelson can also write labels that tell more than need be to set the stage.  When he was collecting out West, he mentioned the presence of a  “Gentleman’s Club” near the collecting site.  On another label for a plant found closer to home, a narrowleaf silkgrass plant (Pityopsis graminifolia USCH0051476), he wrote:  “Corollas bright yellow, plants silvery, offering a vaguely cheerful aspect to an otherwise sad landscape, weedy and pathetic . . . “   There is poetry here and a reminder of the aesthetic aspects of collecting, something that will come up in the next post.  It’s also a reminder that there is a lot to learn about people as well as plants while sifting through specimens and reading labels. 


1. USCH0017120: “We parked our vehicle on private land to get to Peach Orchard Mountain.  Believe it or not the gentleman’s name is “Tony Orlando.”  Bert was already asking Tony if he knew “Dawn.”  I wanted to tie a yellow ribbon around Bert’s head.”  Brown told me that he had to look up “Tony Orlando” on the web to figure out what was going on here. 

2. Comment from Brown: “One is pizza, the other an Emperor.”

Acknowledgement: I want to thank Herrick Brown and John Nelson for their careful reading of this series of posts and their thoughtful, if sometimes irrelevant, comments.

Botany for Amateurs: The Decorative Arts

Leontodon autumnalis, Flora Danica, Tab. MDXXIII, 1816. Art Gallery of Ontario.

If “craft,” which I wrote about in the last post, can have a connotation of not being serious, then “decoration” is even less worthy of serious consideration.  Yet most of us have much more contact with the decorative arts—in our homes, our clothes, and daily encounters—than with “serious” art.  Years ago, I wrote an article called “Jellyfish on the Ceiling, Deer in the Den” (Flannery, 2005).  The title obviously signals that I produced it in my pre-botany days, but there were a lot of plants included.  My argument was that humans have a proclivity for surrounding themselves with living specimens including houseplants and pets, but even more with representations of flora and fauna.  Perhaps ultraminimalist homes are exceptions, but even there, a striking potted tree or orchid might emerge from the white walls and upholstery. 

            Most of us go much further than that, with botanical prints, animal figurines, and in the children’s room, dinosaurs.  My contention was that all this biota manifests what Edward O. Wilson (1984) calls “biophilia,” an innate human attraction to other living things.  He argues that such an adaption would be useful because until recently humans were immersed in the living world and needed to pay attention to it and appreciate it.  Even though many of us live in urban areas, we still feel that pull, and so create indoor lifescapes.  I’m bringing this up because it gives me a chance to mention the current trend, at least in certain circles, to used framed herbarium specimens in interior decoration. 

            During the pandemic I treated myself to a subscription to The World of Interiors, a glossy British magazine that presents homes from the ultramodern to the medieval.  There have been several articles over the past few years in Interiors and other publications with pictures of rooms with series of framed specimens hanging on the walls of living rooms, bedrooms, or even bathrooms.  Most of these sheets seem to be antiques, probably 19th century albums dismembered because they fetched higher prices when framed, otherwise the interior decorators might not know what to do with them.  Most are labeled at least with the plant name, but in some cases with more information.  Much as I believe in biophilia and think of specimens as works of art, I wouldn’t want them in my home.  I depresses me that these representatives of biodiversity have ended up where they will probably never be databased or used to further our knowledge of the natural world.

            But such examples do bolster the biophilia argument, and there is evidence that even representations of nature can improve a person’s mood and outlook (Kellert, 1997).  So why couldn’t a few herbarium specimens brighten a day?  And there are other connections between botany and the decorative arts.  The 18-volume Flora Danica (1761-1783) was lavishly illustrated, and the plates used as source material for the equally lavish dinnerware.  The set was created by the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory for the Danish royal family, not surprising since the business was owned by the Danish king (Ackers, 2010).  This is either a botanist’s dream or nightmare:  would food seem palatable with such botanical treasures peeking through the gravy?  Another example is the work of Christopher Dresser, a 19th-century British designer and professor of artistic botany.  He produced a series of articles on botany adapted to the arts, wrote a book on Rudiments of Botany (1859), and created botanical diagrams.   Another case is that of the botanical illustrator in the early days of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, William Kilburn, who left this work to create wallpaper and fabric designs (Nelson, 2008).  This turned out to be a much more lucrative business.

            Before I end, I have to get back to the jellyfish on the ceiling from my article.  It refers to Ernst Haeckel, famed for his Art Forms in Nature that was such an inspiration to artists and illustrators at the turn of the 20th century.  He was a zoologist who specialized in studying jellyfish.  He did in fact have jellyfish decorations on his ceiling and on tables, lamps, vases, etc.  Lest you think botanists are any less obsessed, the “botanical kitchen” in the Marie-Victorin Herbarium in Montreal is equipped not only with a toaster oven but wallpaper made from scans of specimens from the collection, in a 4 by 4 sheet repeat.  The Oxford Herbarium was once located in its historic botanic garden, which just celebrated its 400th anniversary.  It has been moved to larger quarters, but there is still an “Herbarium Room” with historical displays in the former herbarium at the garden.  The room is papered not with specimens, but the next best thing, prints from Hortus Elthamensis (1732) written by Johann Dillenius, the first botany professor at Oxford University who also created not only the illustrations, but engraved many of the plates as well.  This might be a homage to that great interior decorator Carl Linnaeus, who designed a famous piece of botanical furniture to store his specimens and papered his bedroom with prints from Georg Ehret’s work.  In fact one of the cabinets is now in the print-lined room at his Hammarby farm.  The 18th-century wallpaper has not fared well and needs restoration or conservation work.  However the paper is so fragile, there is difference of opinion on the damage that could be done by any intervention (Cullhed, 2008).  Maintaining a home is never easy.


Ackers, G. (2010). The ferns of Flora Danica—Plants and porcelain. Pteridologist, 5, 207–213.

Cullhed, P. (2008). The conservation of iconic objects and Linnaeus’ books and wallpaper. In The Linnaean Legacy (pp. 135–140). London: Linnean Society of London.

Flannery, M. C. (2005). Jellyfish on the ceiling and deer in the den: The biology of interior decoration. Leonardo, 38(3), 239–244. https://doi.org/10.1162/0024094054029056

Kellert, S. (1997). Kinship to Mastery: Biophilia in Human Evolution and Development. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Nelson, E. C. (2008). William Kilburn’s calico patterns, copyright and Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, 25(4), 361–373.

Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Botany for Amateurs: Craft

Paper cutout of Passiflora laurifolia by Mary Delany. In the collection of the British Museum

I ended the last post remarking that it’s hard to fit botanical work into neat categories; the same is true of art and craft.  They just can’t be separated any more than professionals are distinct from amateurs.  However, craft can have connotations of amateurism, implying that professionals have raised their work to an art.  Some of the examples of scrapbooks I discussed in the last post were definitely works of art; some of them less so.  In this post, I want to explore the relationship between botany and crafts like embroidery.  Maybe I’m being sexist when I say that the last sentence probably caused male readers to sign off.  But wait, professional embroidery in many parts of the world is a male bastion, and was in Europe for many centuries.  Those amazing Elizabethan clothes—for men and women—as well as elaborate furnishings were designed and sewn by men (Parker, 1984).  Only gradually did embroidery become a well-developed skill among elite women and part of their education.  Famously, Mary Queen of Scots embroidered elaborate emblems during her imprisonment in the home of Bess of Hardwick, the Countess of Shrewsbury and an accomplished needlewoman.  Among other sources for their designs was Mary’s copy of Pietro Andrea Mattioli’s herbal, but she also had the garden of Hardwick Hall as a source of inspiration (LaBouff, 2018). 

In the first post in this series, I mentioned a present-day embroiderer who goes to the garden for inspiration, and for information on the plants she renders (Aoki, 2017).  But there are also artists using plant material in less conventional ways.  Susanna Bauer, who is a German-born artist living in Britain, makes works by embroidering on leaves.  There are a number practitioners of this art, which also involves a great deal of craft.  As anyone who has worked in an herbarium knows, dried leaves can be very brittle, but Bauer chooses her materials carefully and works slowly and deliberately.  Her pieces are commentaries on human/plant interactions and human/human relationships as well.  Set against white backgrounds they become reminiscent of herbarium specimens where the intervention is artistic rather than scientific, yet both approaches invite close inspection. 

Imke van Boekhold, a Dutch artist, used machine embroidery on wire to create three-dimensional renderings of Scottish plants for her thesis presentation.  Years later, she returned to this theme, but instead, created herbarium specimens and used them as her models.  The first set of work was pretty, the second set awe-inspiring.  She exhibited the works and the specimens at the Natural History Museum, Rotterdam.  Meanwhile in New Delhi Sumakshi Singh has taken a related tack, machine embroidering depictions of plants in black thread on see-through white fabric.  Exhibited in white frames against white walls, they seem to float.  She also takes several other approaches, including three-dimensional pieces floating in glass containers.  Machine embroidery of this caliber requires at least as much skill as handwork and is also as time-consuming.  Like Mary Queen of Scots, Singh has time to think about the forms she is creating and how they present the living world—making the familiar strange so viewers will take note and spend time considering that world. 

I want to end my exploration of embroidery by jumping back to an earlier practitioner so I can also jump to a different craft.  The 18th century amateur botanist Mary Delany was a keen observer of plants and created highly realistic embroidery designs as well as using those created by others.  She is known for a gown decorated with 200 stitched flowers that she wore to be presented to the queen.  However, she is even better known for her collages of flowers made from pieces of colored paper.  She created nearly a thousand of these, beginning at age 72.  Meticulously done, each has a black paper background and each depicts a single species, as in botanical illustrations (Orr, 2019).

In her early pieces, Delany often added details in watercolor, but as she became more adept almost all features were made of paper pieces.  Her passionflower is incredible (see above).  Like herbarium specimens, these collages are not quite two dimensional; they have depth and texture and she used mottled papers to increase the perception of texture.  Delany was a dedicated gardener of the inquisitive sort who wanted to know as much about plants as possible.  This interest was shared by her good friend, Margaret Bentinick, the Duchess of Portland.  Together they took botany lessons with Bentinck’s chaplain, John Lightfoot author of a flora of Scotland.  They also worked on dissecting flowers and creating herbarium specimens.  All these activities require attention to detail and digital skill; they are related and cannot be totally separated—they enrich each other. 

After Delany’s death, a few tried to imitate her technique, including William Booth Grey, but these works were not as detailed and lifelike; they lacked the energy and enthusiasm that she put into her art.  Delany had for years done paper cutting, including silhouettes in black paper.  At the time and even earlier such paper art was commonplace, particularly in Germany where it was known as Scherenschnitt.  In the late 17th century Johann Christoph Ende created what could be called a paper herbarium, with cutouts of two hundred plants.  Beneath each he gave the German and then Latin name as well as a description of the plant and its uses.  Some are so intricate as to be lace-like.  Ende was a skilled craftsman indeed, and an amateur botanist as well (see below).

Scherenschnitt of Arum by Johann Christoph Ende in Sonderbares Kräuterbuch. Berlin State Library, Ms. germ. fol. 223


Aoki, K. (2017). Embroidered Garden Flowers. Boulder: Roost.

LaBouff, N. (2018). Embroidery and Information Management: The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick Reconsidered. Huntington Library Quarterly, 81(3), 315–358. https://doi.org/10.1353/HLQ.2018.0014

Orr, C. C. (2019). Mrs Delany: A Life. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Parker, R. (1984). The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine. New York: Routledge.