Florence Nightingale’s Herbaria

I once gave a talk on how common plant collecting was in the 19th century.  You could say that I am a collector of such collections.  I was unaware that Florence Nightingale had a herbarium, let alone two, until I found a reference to them in a post from the Florence Nightingale Museum in London.  One contains plants she collected when she was 13 years old in the company of a 77-year old Margaret Stovin, who was a botanist.  This collection is the subject of a book by Richard Mendelsohn (2008); it includes images of the specimens.  The other herbarium contains plants from battlefield sites in Crimea, and it was given to her by admirers.  The post describes how both collections were recently returned to the museum from the Natural History Museum, London where they had been conserved and the plants identified.