Tuesday 21 January 2014

Which herbarium is Chris in this month?

Chris Metherell in the Herbarium, University of Leicester
Image: L. Marsh
Another year, another herbarium! Eyebright expert Chris Metherell started the New Year with a visit to the Herbarium at University of Leicester LTR so he could look at yet more specimens of Eyebright Euphrasia

Once Chris's BSBI Handbook on Eyebrights is published, you will all be able to see just how exhaustive his research has been. But for now, these regular reports will have to do. So, these are Chris's comments, reproduced verbatim for reasons which will become clear:

"Great day at the University of Leicester Herbarium, viewing some of Peter Yeo's early specimens, including some unusual hybrids I've not been able to track down elsewhere. I concentrated on the N. Scottish material and hybrids of E. arctica but spotted some really interesting material to have a look at next time I come - E. arctica x salisburgensis - wow! And lots of material collected by Tom Tutin in Ireland. 

Richard Gornall (left), Chris Metherell & Eyebright specimens
Image: L. Marsh
"A really good start to the New Year, resulting in some slightly tweaked hybrid descriptions. A really well-organised and curated herbarium."

Thanks Chris and (declaration of personal involvement) glad you enjoyed visiting LTR where I have the pleasure and privilege of being part-time Herbarium Assistant under Curator Richard Gornall. 

Chris nears the end of a full day of Eyebright research
Image: L. Marsh
So I could hear all Chris's little squeals of delight as he worked through our Eyebright specimens. When they escalated into a full-blown "wow!"  I quickly checked in Stace 3 and on the BSBI Database to see if Euphrasia arctica x salisburgensis really deserved that wow. Click on those links to see if you agree that it does. 

Similar sounds emanated from the tea room shortly after, when Chris produced a chocolate cake for the Herbarium Team

So, if you want to visit your local herbarium and see things that make you go "wow!" then try following Chris's example: when you phone the curators to arrange your visit, check what kind of cake they like best! 

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