Herbarium

A herbarium is a collection of pressed and dried plant specimens. In this way, plants can be conserved permanently, as long as no damage caused by humidity or insects occurs. Herbaria are archives and data sources for scientific studies. For example, the natural distribution ranges of extinct plant species can be reconstructed by means of old herbarium specimens. Furthermore, old localities can be checked with the help of details noted on the labels, in order to see, whether the species is still extant at that site. Species delimitations can be investigated using herbarium material and descriptions of species base on special type specimens held in herbaria.   

Types of flowering plants
Types of ferns
Types of mosses
Types of lichens

Scientists are welcome to work in the Herbarium of the Natural History Museum Stuttgart (=STU) and to loan material for their research. People being interested in the herbarium can arrange for guided group tours through the collection rooms.

STU comprises altogether about 1,000,000 specimens. It includes:

STU is a medium-sized herbarium. The largest herbaria in the world contain about 7 million (Kew near London) and 8 million (Paris) specimens, respectively.

Like many other herbaria, ours is also of considerable age: the oldest specimens date back to the year 1740, when J.G. Gmelin and the horticulturist A.W. Martini from Tubingen travelled through Siberia on behalf of the Russian Tsar. Martini busily collected plant material and some of these more than 250 year old specimens came to the Royal Natural History Collection, which is the predecessor of our Museum today.

The present herbarium consists of some extensive old private collections like those of F. Hegelmaier, R. Gradmann, K. Bertsch, G. von Martens, A. Mayer, and K. Müller, who collected mostly in the Württemberg region, but also travelled more widely. Further valuable collections have been added more recently. In addition, voucher material from the scientific studies of the botanists currently working at the Department is also deposited in our herbarium. It is accessible for further studies or revision.

You may consider supporting our herbarium with a sponsorship of special objects.

Floristic Mapping of Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg harbours more than 2,100 native vascular plants of which more than a third is regarded as threatened (36,2 %) and therefore listed in the Red Data Book. Things need to be known to be protected. For this reason, the Botany Dept. of the Natural History Museum Stuttgart conducted floristic mapping in the period of 1970-1998 together with the Natural History Museum Karlsruhe being supported by 250 volunteers, aiming at a capture of all vascular plants in Baden-Württemberg.

As a result, eight volumes of "Die Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Baden-Württembergs / Ferns and flowering plants of Baden-Württemberg" were published. Besides distribution maps and identification keys and for every species illustrations and detailed descriptions on morphology, ecology, conservation status and distribution were presented. This inventory of the flora of Baden-Württemberg is serving as basis for many conservation projects (e.g., Red-list of Baden-Württemberg, Artenschutzprogramm / Landesanstalt für Umweltschutz. F+E-Programme „Pflanzenverbreitung im Klimawandel / BfN).

Plants come and go. Introduced species, natural migrations or extinction events have an impact on the distribution of plants. Therefore, a new, ongoing data collection has been started in 2008, in collaboration with BAS and AHO. This project is enormously supported by the work of 180 volunteers.

More than 1.2 million data records are stored in a data base at the Natural History Museum Stuttgart. Updated distribution maps are available online: www.flora.naturkundemuseum-bw.de.

References:

Breunig, T. & S. Demuth (1999): Rote Liste der Farn- und Samenpflanzen Baden-Württembergs. Fachdienst Natuschutz Naturschutz-Praxis, Artenschutz 2. 161 pp. Karlsruhe (LfU)

Sebald, O., S. Seybold & G. Philippi (1990-1992): Die Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Baden-Württembergs Bde. 1-4. Ulmer-Verlag Stuttgart.

Sebald, O., S. Seybold, G. Philippi & A. Wörz (1996-1998): Die Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Baden-Württembergs, Bde. 5-8. Ulmer-Verlag Stuttgart.

Wörz, A. (2001): Using herbarium specimens for florsitic mapping in South-West Germany. - In: Rushton, B.S., P. Hackney & C.R. Tyrie (eds.): Biological Collections and Biodiversity. Linnean Society Occasional Publications 3: 51-54. The Linnean Society of London.

Wörz, A. (2000): Floristische Neu- und Wiederfunde aus Baden-Württemberg. - Jahreshefte der Gesellschaft für Naturkunde in Württemberg 156: 223 - 231. Stuttgart.

Wörz, A. & T. Joßberger (2002): Corydalis intermedia (L.) Mérat (Papaveraceae) auf der Schwäbischen Alb. - Jahreshefte der Gesellschaft für Naturkunde in Württemberg 158: 213-222. Stuttgart.

Wörz, A. (2005): Floristische Neu- und Wiederfunde aus Baden-Württemberg, 2. Teil. Jahreshefte der Gesellschaft für Naturkunde in Württemberg 161: 259-265.

Wörz, A. (2007): Zum Stand der floristischen Kartierung in Baden-Württemberg. - Floristische Rundbriefe Beiheft 8: 189-194. Dülmen.

Wörz, A. (2008): Floristische Neu- und Wiederfunde aus Baden-Württemberg 3. Teil. - Jahreshefte der Gesellschaft für Naturkunde in Württemberg 164: 143-151.