Month: October 2013

All sorts of concoctions

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A lovely blog post from Gina featuring the Museum’s Materia Medica collection.

Biology Curator

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My apologies for not updating sooner. My latest project has me working in the bowels of the Herbarium. Down a spiral staircase in the Herbarium tower is where the Materia Medica collection is kept. The collection is something like a cross between a Victorian pharmacy and an Ethnobotanist’s store room. The collection is kept in the Herbarium as most of the medicinal specimens consist of plant material, though we also have powdered cockroaches and medicinal leeches! Many of the specimens have not been documented, and we weren’t even sure what we had when we started. I’ve been adopted as the collection’s researcher and curator and I’ve made some exciting discoveries only a month or so into the project, including a calabash filled with curare, a bottle of sperm whale oil and some rare and endangered plants. There is still a whole cupboard of large specimens that will be tackled in…

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Tree sample collecting day, October 3rd 2013.

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Hello! My name is Josh and I am new to the herbarium. I am a member of the faculty of life sciences at the University of Manchester, and for the work placement part of my degree it is my pleasure to spend a year working in the herbarium with Rachel and Lindsey . This is only my first week but we’ve already been busy collecting lots of tree samples from the array of trees we have on campus. Henry McGhie, Dr Webster and I started out by recording the geographic location of each tree we sampled, measured the girth of each tree’s main trunk and took small clippings of the leaves (and fruits in some cases!) Samples included the tulip tree, genus Liriodendron. The British crab apple tree, family Rosaceae and the Willow tree Salix.

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Image Henry valiantly trying to experience the fruitful delights of the Crab Apple.

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