Monday, March 3, 2008

Great Resource for Plant Identification

Often, commercial horticulturalists come across plants that they cannot identify. It could be a plant in the landscape, a weed, or something you come across in a natural area that you think would be a good ornamental. Delaware State University has a great resource to help you identify these plants, the staff at the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium. This is information on this great resource in Dover.

The Claude E. Phillips Herbarium is a botanical resource center located at Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware. The Herbarium houses an extensive collection of pressed and dried plant specimens, and also functions as an active center for education and research on the world’s botanical diversity.

In the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, plant specimens are pressed, mounted on archival paper, and stored in special cases in a climate-controlled environment. With about 130,000 specimens of flowering plants, gymnosperms, ferns, mosses, algae, and lichens, the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium is the largest herbarium at a Historically Black College or University and ranks about 87 out of 525 herbaria in the U.S. Specimens date back to 1799, with worldwide representation. Scientific books, journals, and photographs round out the collections.

Scientists, gardeners, educators, students, physicians, and lawyers regularly consult these holdings for identification and education. The herbarium is an indispensable tool for providing detailed data on habitats, mapping distribution of plants, studying evolutionary trends and genetic variations, and documenting plant research in the form of voucher specimens. For example, the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium documents the rare, threatened, and endangered flora and habitats of the DelMarVa Peninsula.

The Claude E. Phillips Herbarium includes important accessions from Catholic University, Colorado College, and many private collectors, such as R.M. Austin, H.R. Baker, W.M. Canby, A. Commons, N.H. Dill, F.M. Jones, H. O’Neill, J.P. Otis, J.T. Pennypacker, C.E. Phillips, P.J.D. Redmond, A.V. Smith, W.S. Taber, E. Tatnall, R.R. Tatnall, and I.F. Tidestrom.

For more information about the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, and about Delaware State University’s Master of Science degree in Plant Science with an option in Plant Systematics, contact:

Dr. Arthur O. Tucker, Co-Director (302) 857-6408.

Dr. Thompson Pizzolato, Co-Director(302) 831-2534.

Dr. Robert Naczi, Curator (302) 857-6450.

Dr. Susan Yost, Educator(302) 857-6452.

You can find their website at:

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