|Himantoglossum longibracteata (detail)
Reprinted by kind permission of the
Natural History Museum
This is a common response to herbaria, where you find centuries-old ways of preserving plants, and specimens that may have been collected by Victorian plant-hunters (and are often stored in buildings of a similar age), juxtaposed with 21st century ways of recording data, monitoring changes in plant distributions and extracting plant material for DNA analysis.
Apparently there are 72 different uses already identified for herbaria. They really are botanical treasure-troves and delving into them seems to bring out the wide-eyed inner child in every botanist.
|Laptops rub shoulders with C19th specimens
(the plants, not the volunteers or curator).
The Herbarium at University of Leicester (LTR).
Image: L. Marsh
No surprise either to find out that Tim, the author of the Herbarium post, is a BSBI member, so his Blog called 'from here to ecology' is now the 29th entry in the list on the right of Blogs by BSBI members.
|Treasure chest aka
herbarium cabinet, RBGE
Image: C. Metherell
It would be great if we big kids could let the smaller kids in on the secret - running off to the woods to look at stuff is great fun, there are loads of resources to help you ID any stuff you find and - best of all - stuff just gets better the longer and closer you look at it!