The Manchester Museum Herbarium has a collection of around three-quarters of a million specimens, from all over the world. Recently, hundreds of specimens from the Museum’s liverwort collection from the Amazon, Brazil have been returned from a research loan to Gottingen University. I have been updating the Museum database with name changes and adding these high quality images that the researchers took. It is also the first time that any of the Museum’s botanical specimens have been barcoded. We have plans to barcode and photograph some of the algae collection soon.
These liverwort specimens were mostly collected by Richard Spruce, a Yorkshire botanist who was one of the first to collect plant specimens from the Amazon and Andes. A lot of his specimens are type specimens (the particular specimen or group of specimens to which a scientific name is formally attached). Type specimens are often requested on loan by other institutions so the features of the type specimen can be compared with the researcher’s own plant material. The Museum has a large number of liverwort types, and because of this the liverworts frequently get sent out on loan.
Liverworts are a small moss-like plant. Below: a type specimen
Here are some more ‘behind the scenes’ videos from the botany stores.
In this first clip, Leander shows you round the area where the liverworts and fungi are stored. Please excuse the boxes cluttering up this space – they are being temporarily stored here while some maintenance work is being carried out in the top tower room. The clip ends with a trip upstairs to the mezzanine and the collection of mosses.
This clip shows where the majority of the European flowering plants are stored together with our collection of exsiccatae (books of dried and pressed plant specimens).