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The Herbarium at Reedy Creek Nature Center

Sponsored by the Southern Piedmont chapter

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Southern Piedmont Chapter’s January 2015 meeting was in the herbarium at the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies in the Reedy Creek Nature Center. The group was so large that we barely fit in the room! Herbarium curator Catherine Luckenbaugh talked to us about the way plants are collected and curated, how specimens are prepared for inclusion in the herbarium, and why herbariums are important. We heard about some of the collectors who have been contributors to the herbarium’s 48,000 specimen collection—several are currently NCNPS members! A special thank you to Catherine for such an interesting and informative meeting!


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Lots of questions from this interested group!


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Field guides, topographical maps and dried plants — just a few tools of the trade for an herbarium botanist.


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NCNPS member Dr. Larry Mellichamp made many contributions to the herbarium. Here Catherine shows us a few of his Sarracenia specimens.


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The back room, where herbarium pages are digitized and catalogued. You can see the cabinets where the pages are stored in the background.


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Two interesting specimens that were collected in the 1950s prior to the flooding that created Lake Norman. Dirca palustris has not been seen in Mecklenburg County since.


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I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


HERBARIUMS, LIKE LIBRARIES, HOLD THE STORIES OF A REGION


EARLY HERBARIUMS BEGAN AS STUDIES OF PLANTS
WRITTEN IN BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED JOURNALS.
TODAY THESE STUDIES HAVE EXPANDED BEYOND THE
PAGES OF BOOKS TO BECOME LARGE
COLLECTIONS OF DRIED PLANT SPECIMENS.


AS HABITATS DISAPPEAR AND PLANTS ARE LOST,
HERBARIUM COLLECTIONS ARE VERY
IMPORTANT FOR STUDYING THE HISTORY OF PLANT
LIFE IN A REGION.


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