Saturday, June 19, 2010

Visit to the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium

On Saturday, June 19, 2010 the following Canandaigua Botanical Society members met with Elizabeth Pixley, curator of the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium, in the basement of the Rochester Museum and Science Center: Kathie & Tom Crocker, Peggy Kane, Donna Middlebrook, Bethan & Laura Ouimette.

A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens. The specimens may be whole plants or plant parts usually in a dried form and mounted on a sheet. Mounting is done with glue, tape, and in one case wire. Small envelopes are also used for some specimens or seeds.

The office of the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium

A specimen of American ElmTables set up in the hallway for working and viewing (cabinets of specimens are to the right)Specimans are organized by families (ending in aceae)Cabinets are labeled by family and genusElizabeth Pixley showing the specimens organized by species inside cabinetsSpecimen labels include family name, genus, species, location & date of collection, and collector name and sometimes stamps for viewer recordingBethan impressed by the blue coloring of the Mertensia virginica after 115 yearsTom Crocker assisting with the opening of a hallway storage cabinet Insect control once managed by moth balls can also be dealt with by freezing specimens Many of the specimens had artistic value. It's important to invert a leaf for future reference.

Lily specimen
Fern specimen with roots
RAS Herbarium has over 60,000 specimens from around the world dating back to 1850.

Fern specimens

Elizabeth Pixley will be our guest speaker at the April 8, 2011 Annual meeting and potluck dinner. If you have an interest in helping to repair or remount RAS Herbarium specimens please send an Email to us at and we'll get you in touch with Elizabeth Pixley.
**We were surprised not to find any sunflower specimens. Bethan mentioned "moon flower" as a favorite which we did not locate either. Laura has since researched to locate the name of the moon flower that Bethan mentioned. It is commonly called Dandelion Sundrop. Its botanical name is Oenothera acaulis aurea of the Onagraceae family (evening primrose family).**

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