University of Maryland Herbarium

There were some beautiful specimen, as well as interesting historical remnants, at the Norton-Brown Herbarium at the University of Maryland. The herbarium was established in 1901 making it one of the oldest in the U.S. (the University of Florida Herbarium is the oldest, established in 1891).

Most of my inspiration comes from historical preserved specimen. The two here are especially nice.  I love seeing plant material that is not otherwise accessible to me.

The Astragalus, left,  was collected in Wyoming in 1971.  The Trillium, right, is from Ohio, 1983.


Early American collection equipment were often metal containers meant to protect the integrity of the plant material (and retain bits that come loose).

The ones in this picture are probably from the 1940’s, under the direction of curator Russell Brown. Both Norton and Brown collected throughout Maryland in the 1940’s.

There’s lots of different ways to collect plant material. One a hot day, the heat generated inside the metal containers would cause loss of original shape, which I like to maintain. Nature has much better ideas than I do about how something should look.

The herbarium is now under the direction of Dr. Christopher Puttock (shown in the picture below), who was previously with the  Bishop Museum  in Hawaii as the collections Manager of Botany and the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance.

Some of the collection still needs to be mounted and then organized into cabinets.