Sunday, September 2, 2018 at 11:45AM
Drew Wolfe

Centuries-Old Plant Collection Now Online — A Treasure Trove For Researchers

"There's a new effort underway make hundreds of thousands of dried and preserved plants collected along the East Coast available through a digital database."

"For centuries, explorers, scientists, and amateur botanists scoured the country to document and preserve plant species. Once prized like fine art, the collections were often bequeathed to institutions that housed herbaria, or libraries for plants."

"Over time these collections became obscure, and fell out of use. Aside from the occasional researcher who had to schedule an appointment to view the records, and often travel long distances, these plant collections were difficult to access for most people."

"Rick McCourt, botany curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, helps manage the oldest herbarium in North America. The herbarium has an estimated one and a half million plant species in its collection. About 35,000 plant species were collected along the East Coast."


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