Historic Critchfield Memorial Herbarium Goes Digital: Believed to Be the Largest Collection of Pine Specimens in the World
The USDA Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Forest Genetics, Placerville, CA, has released the online version of its historic Critchfield Memorial Herbarium. The website includes collection information as well as a photograph of each specimen. With over 4,000 specimens, it is believed to be the largest collection of pines in the world.
An herbarium is a collection of dried, generally mounted, plant specimens used for a number of purposes, including documenting the taxonomy of a species , and providing an educational opportunity for people interested in learning how to identify species. For example, many college courses will use herbarium specimens to teach how to species identification. So, herbaria are important resources for research as well as education. In addition, the collection information is extremely useful for understanding the current and historical range and diversity of a species. Each specimen is marked with a location and date indicating where and when it was collected. Many specimens have additional information, including information on the habitat it was found in, or other species growing in the area. Having the Critchfield Memorial Herbarium online will facilitate the use of the collection for understanding pine taxonomy, education as well as ongoing research. The digital herbarium can be found at http://treesearch.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/forest_genetics/critchfield_herbarium