How to arrange a new Herbarium?

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Tue Jan 29 07:59:45 CST 2002

At 11:24 AM 1/29/02 +0800, you wrote:
>I am currently in the throes of setting up a new University Herbarium.
>The question is - what/whose is the 'best' system to use for arranging
>plant families?Has anyone else had this job in recent times? How did you
>decide what to do? has anyone elected to run with the APG system of
>orders yet?

IMO, there is no advantage whatsoever to any system but the ALPHABET.  I've
always considered a systematic arrangement of herbaria to be carrying a
good thing too far.  What function does it really serve???  Does having
specimens arrayed in some phylogenetic sequence *get* you anything, when
you are trying to use the herbarium?  Furthermore, chances are that at some
point you will have to rely on relative inexperienced help (e.g., work
study students).  Looking up cabinet locations will cut their productivity
by half or more.   When Field Museum restructured several years ago, they
abandoned Engler & Prantl for Alpha & Beta and have never regretted it.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                 -- Anonymous

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