Noteworthy Willow Collections Discovered at the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium

The Arnold Arboretum Herbarium in Jamaica Plain contains just specimens of cultivated plants. In 2000, about 60 wild-collected Salix specimens were discovered there. They have been relocated to the Arboretum's herbarium of wild-collected plants in the Harvard University Herbaria building. The majority of the samples belong to renowned collectors and date back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Among the most important findings are specimens collected in China and the Far East by E.H. Wilson, J.F. Rock, J. Hers, C. Schneider, H. Handel-Mazzetti, and B.V. Skvortzov.

The specimens bear historic identifications by B. Floderus, R. Goerz, K.H. Rechinger, and others. Their label names depict the difficult situation in the European willow systematics of the early 20th century when many distinct species were erroneously treated as hybrids. Unfortunately, these collections had not yet been found during the time when the world's leading salicologists were working on the Flora of China project. In a way, these specimens are still waiting to be discovered. By presenting their electronic images on the Internet, we hope to provide the attention these samples deserve, which may eventually help update their identification. The specimens are listed under historic names found on labels. We provide translations of Russian labels.  --  December 18, 2006

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