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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z






What is an Herbarium?

Genus Descriptions

Species Descriptions

Ontario FEC V-Types

Bibliography

Terminology

Who Collects the Plants?

Collector Biographies

Nomenclature Primer

Website Information

Northern Ontario Plant Database
 

Why have more than one specimen of each species?


Occasionally, we are asked why it is necessary to have several specimens of each species. The answer to this question is simple - because of variation within a species. Although a description exists for each named plant species, not all of the variation found across the entire geographical range of a species, or amongst the plants in a population, or sometimes within a single plant, can be included in the description. Using the human species, Homo sapiens, as an example, it is easy to describe what a human looks like, but all of the variation in size, weight, and facial features cannot be represented by a single person. So, several herbarium specimens of each plant species will provide the researcher or student with a more accurate picture of the variation within the species, which will certainly aid in proper identification.
Click to enlarge.
Why not switch to a virtual herbarium?

With all the internet resources available to students and the general public, it is sometimes suggested that the physical herbarium collection be replaced by photographs of the specimens. While this type of herbarium allows everyone visual access to a collection, photographs cannot convey the texture and fine details of the specimen, which are studied with the aid of a dissecting microscope. Virtual herbaria have their place, but they cannot replace a well-documented collection of herbarium specimens.

 
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