Curation of cryptogamic exsiccati

Teuvo Ahti ahti at CC.HELSINKI.FI
Tue Nov 4 15:43:42 CST 1997

As to cryptogamic exsiccati sets, some herbaria keep them separate, some
distribute them among the ordinary collection (perhaps with the exception
of the exsiccati that have been bound into books). Both practices have
advantages and disadvantages. If well curated, both systems need a
separate file to indicate the name changes inevitable in any exsiccati.
Almost all specimens of the old exsiccati are in need of a name change,
either for taxonomic or nomenclatural reasons. I am in favour of
distributing the specimens into the other collections (but keeping records
which numbers of each exsiccati exist in the collection) only because the
specimens in the exsiccati are not usually sent out to persons who borrow
all the other material for revisions, and because the specimens in the
exsiccati are often the only or best specimens of a particular taxon in
the herbarium and they are most rapidly available in the ordinary
collection for comparison. But then it may be difficult (though usually
not, if cross references have been made in case of the worst
misidentifications) to find a certain number if required. Very few
herbaria are perfect in keeping updated records of their exsiccati sets!
Ted Ahti.

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