Seed Plants Collections
Flowering Plants - Strong representation of neotropical taxa is credited to the many floristic projects and collection-oriented research programs, an integral part of the department since its inception. Especially rich are holdings in the neotropical families Rubiaceae, Asteraceae, Palmae, Fabaceae, Piperaceae and Solanaceae, primarily due to the work of present or former staff botanists.… more
Flowering Plants - Strong representation of neotropical taxa is credited to the many floristic projects and collection-oriented research programs, an integral part of the department since its inception. Especially rich are holdings in the neotropical families Rubiaceae, Asteraceae, Palmae, Fabaceae, Piperaceae and Solanaceae, primarily due to the work of present or former staff botanists. The Central American material is overall one of the world's finest single collections with special strengths in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. The South American collections are important with special strengths in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. A good representation in North American taxa is found, especially for Missouri and Illinois, and unmarked types are commonly discovered in these holdings.
Ancillary Collections - Field Museum curates an extensive collection of dried fruits, large seeds, bark and other plant parts that generally are not accommodated on herbarium specimens. A seed collection consisting of some 6,400 glass vials also is maintained by the Department. A reference collection of 3,600 pollen slides is maintained and increased through exchange. In addition, 1,030 anatomical slides are preserved.
Gymnosperm Collection - The gymnosperm collection consists of approximately 12,000 collections, including 37 types. There is good representation of Gnetaceae, Ephedraceae, Cycadaceae, and Pinaceae with the bulk of the Pinaceae from the United States and Mexico. Besides herbarium sheets, the collection contains approximately 1200 cones housed separately.
Type Photograph Collection - The Botany Department's unique type photograph collection originated in 1929 when J. Francis Macbride, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, traveled to Europe to photograph herbarium specimens of nomenclatural types. The intent was to make the photographs available to American botanists unable to finance travels to European herbaria; the widespread adoption of the loan process was not as fully developed as it is today, necessitating travel for consultation. Over a ten year period, J. Francis Macbride photographed type specimens of tropical American plants at the following major herbaria: B, C, G, HAN, HBG, MA, M, P, and W, using Berlin‑Dahlem and Geneva as bases of operation. His sojourn in Europe resulted in more than 40,000 photographic negatives, and duplicate collections, types, and type fragments of authentic material which were selected and sent to Field Museum as exchange. The results were of immediate importance to American systematic botany, but acquired added meaning following the destruction of parts of some European herbaria during World War II. In some instances, the only visual record of a species is one of these photographic prints. The Type Photograph Collection now consists of more than 75,000 negatives. Continuous additions to this collection were made primarily by systematically photographing types in Field Museum's vascular plant herbarium as well as types and authentic specimens received on loan from other institutions. Conservation efforts on the collection have included the copying of aged and deteriorating acetate and nitrate negatives as well as resleeving of the collection in acid-free envelopes and boxes. Collection and photographic restoration information for all negatives is databased. The historically important Berlin negatives have all been scanned and are available on the Botany web site. Currently negatives from the Munich herbarium are being scanned.less