Ecuador in the Herbarium

I kind of grin at the title I’ve chosen for this post, as it certainly didn’t feel like Ecuador in there today! It was pretty cold!

The reason Ecuador is the theme of this post has less to do with temperature and more to do with the fact that The Manchester Museum herbarium is currently working with photographer and artist Johan Oldekop. I was asked to find some Ecuadorian ferns and illustrations of the specimens in the Leo Grindon cultivated Fern collection.

Sadly, we currently have no ferns from Ecuador!

We do, however have other plant material collected from that area in the General Flowering Plants and Carpological collections. so I got out a few specimens and put them aside.

Myroxylum is a medicinal plant that is best known for Balsam of Tolu- a resin from the plant that is often used as an ingrediant in cough syrup.

Unfortunately some of the herbarium sheets were very dusty and needed a gentle clean with smoke sponge! Before:


Epiphytes are important plants in the rainforest. They have evolved to grow on larger trees in order to gain more access to light in the competitive canopy. Here is a sheet of Pitcairnia pungens, an epiphytic plant native to Ecuador:

I’m still hunting for Ecuadorian specimens in the Herbarium, and will update on my progress.


About Gina Allnatt

I have just finished a year long traineeship as a Biology Curator at Manchester Museum. I am currently a research and curation volunteer in the Entomology and Botany departments. -Gina Allnatt
This entry was posted in Conservation, curation, Herbarium. Bookmark the permalink.

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