Herbarium

The collection of dried, pressed plants attached to special archival papers kept at DCIS is called a herbarium (the ‘h’ is pronounced). It is housed in a special wooden cabinet that was built in May 1887, located on the second floor in the SW corner of the Lecture Hall.

In 1869, two years after the Institute’s home was built here in Media, Dr. George Smith donated his private collection of 2400 dried plant specimens to those already present. Until the mid-20th century, members with botanical interests continued to collect and add dried plants to the herbarium, so that now (in 2013) it contains close to 5700 specimens. The majority of them represent Delaware County, PA angiosperms (flowering plants), but there are also specimens from many states in the US, as well as some from foreign countries. Specimens are no longer being added to the collection.

Benjamin H. Smith

Benjamin H. Smith

Some of the botanists, both amateur and professional, who collected these specimens besides Dr. George Smith, include: John Evans, Minshall Painter, Isaac Burk, Thomas C. Porter, Benjamin H. Smith, William M. Canby, C.S. Sargent, Francis Pennell, A.E. Osborne, Linnaeus Fussell, T. Chalkley Palmer, Graceanna Lewis, and others.

The herbarium is not open to the public but specimens are occasionally exhibited for special events. Botanical researchers need to contact the Curator of Botany, Dr. Kathy Hornberger, for access.

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