07 June 2023
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You can trace the devel­op­ment and achieve­ments of Russ­ian for­est sci­ence in the muse­um com­plex of the Uni­ver­si­ty. It con­sists of four muse­ums, each of them hav­ing unique exhibits: Herbar­i­um named after I.P. Borodin.

Rus­sia and oth­er coun­tries of the for­mer Sovi­et Union have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Botan­i­cal herbar­i­um col­lec­tions (more than 230), but only 9 of them can be ranked as the lead­ing ones by the num­ber of sam­ples and their significance.

The herbar­i­um of the Uni­ver­si­ty Botany and Den­drol­o­gy Depart­ment is con­sid­ered to be one of the largest in Rus­sia. It  com­pris­es 150,000 sam­ples of vas­cu­lar plants and was award­ed the rank of “nation­al Herbarium”.

It’s impos­si­ble to over­es­ti­mate the sig­nif­i­cance of herbar­i­um col­lec­tions for the sci­ence. Accord­ing to  Lip­schitz, Vasilchenko “no seri­ous sci­en­tif­ic work in the field of plants’ sys­tem­ati­za­tion and, part­ly, botan­i­cal geog­ra­phy, geob­otany, pale­ob­otany, etc., can be per­formed at high lev­el, if it ignores the mate­ri­als of the Herbarium”.

The exact date of the Herbar­i­um foun­da­tion is unknown. Annu­al reports “the News of the Impe­r­i­al For­est Insti­tute” began to be pub­lished only in the 60s of the last cen­tu­ry and one can sup­pose that the for­ma­tion of the Herbar­i­um start­ed approx­i­mate­ly in the first half of the XIX century.

The his­to­ry of the herbar­i­um is close­ly con­nect­ed with the his­to­ry of the depart­ment of botany and den­drol­o­gy. For more than 35 years — from 1869 to 1904 — an emi­nent botanist, pro­fes­sor, mem­ber of the Acad­e­my of Sci­ences Ivan Par­fen­ovich Borodin (1847–1930)  was the head of  the Department.

Hav­ing retired (in 1905) he pub­lished a detailed report on his work in the “News of the Impe­r­i­al For­est Insti­tute». There one can find a lot of inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion about the activ­i­ties of the depart­ment of botany and den­drol­o­gy of the time.

Both the report and the ear­li­er work by I. P. Borodin (1893) describe the herbar­i­um col­lec­tion as con­sist­ing of two large sec­tions: “the Gen­er­al Herbar­i­um” and “the Russ­ian Herbar­i­um”. This divi­sion still exists. The Gen­er­al Herbar­i­um (world flo­ra) was stored in a cab­i­net with 252 com­part­ments and con­sist­ed of about 70 thou­sand sam­ples and at least 15,000 species. Plants were placed into cov­ers; each cell of the Cab­i­net con­tain­ing about 90 cov­ers (for­mat 43X27 cm).

Not all sam­ples have been dis­played yet. Col­or prin­ci­ple was used for those not ready for dis­play­ing: the sam­ples stored in the cov­ers were placed on paper of dif­fer­ent colours; the colour of the paper indi­cates the geo­graph­i­cal ori­gin of each copy. So, brown­ish paper was used for West­ern Euro­pean, blue-for Asian, gray­ish — for Amer­i­can, light yel­low-for African and light green — for Aus­tralian plants. This kind of col­or dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion was intro­duced in the time of I.P. Borodin  and had not been used for the sam­ples col­lect­ed ear­li­er. Besides that, these col­ors have already fad­ed enough and do not car­ry the prop­er “sig­nal” infor­ma­tion any more.

In the low­er left hand cor­ner of the cov­ers there was stat­ed in pen­cil the Latin name of a plant with the name of the author (most­ly by I. P. Borodin him­self). For the plants of Euro­pean flo­ra under the name of the species there was stat­ed the num­ber under which the species was men­tioned in the “Con­spec­tus flo­rae europaea” Nyman. For the plants out­side Europe, ref­er­ence was made to the “Pro­dro­mus” of Decan­dolle and “Flo­ra ori­en­tal­is” Boise. Ini­tial­ly, the The Gen­er­al herbar­i­um was orga­nized accord­ing to the sys­tem of Ben­ta­ma-Hook­er, lat­er replaced by the Engler sys­tem with the reform hav­ing touched not only fam­i­lies but also genuses.

The fol­low­ing col­lec­tions are the basis of the Gen­er­al Herbarium:

Herbar­i­um uni­ver­sale” — 3377 types 30 fold­ers, donat­ed by Traut­fet­ter. Some sam­ples are dat­ed 1833.

Com­mon alpha­bet herbar­i­um” in four fold­ers, col­lect­ed by an unknown author (no infor­ma­tion about where and when).

Iter mex­i­canum” 1841 ‑1843., gath­ered by Kar­win­s­ki, in four large fold­ers, 1088 species.

In addi­tion, in the “Gen­er­al Herbar­i­um” was part of a series of col­lec­tions gath­ered in dif­fer­ent continents:

West­ern Europe. Of the 32 col­lec­tions that rep­re­sent this region, the three largest are worth mentioning:

Baenitz. Herbar­i­um europaeum. 1887, 1893, 1896–1900 2300 copies.

Mag­nier. Flo­ra selec­ta exs­ic­ca­ta. 1882–1897, 4137 copies.

Toepf­fer (Bran­den­burg). 1882, and 1883 2217 copies Amer­i­ca. 7 col­lec­tions, more than 7800 copies.

The largest:

Cur­tiss. North Amer­i­can Plants. 1882–1887 gg. 1315 copies.

Eggers, Baron. Flo­ra exs­ic­ca­ta. Indi­ae occi­den­tal­is. 1882— 1883., 1887 r. 1132 copies.

Pringle. Plan­tae mexkanae. 1886–1892 gg. 3029 copies. Asia. 5 col­lec­tions-1687 copies.

The largest:

Born­muller. 1890–1891. Only — 618 copies.

Africa. 5 col­lec­tions, more than 2,600 copies of the largest:

Debeaux. Alger­ian plants (Oran). 1885, 539 copies.

Schlechter. Schlech­te­ri­anae Plan­tae: Plants of the Cape region. 1894–1895 about 600 copies.

The Russ­ian herbar­i­um was formed sep­a­rate­ly from the Gen­er­al herbar­i­um in 1885. At that time Russ­ian herbar­i­um con­sist­ed of only about 4500 sam­ples. Accord­ing to the inven­to­ry of 1868 it includ­ed 14 col­lec­tions of var­i­ous authors. By 1904, the Russ­ian herbar­i­um had already had 5260 species and about 40,500 spec­i­mens. It includ­ed col­lec­tions from dif­fer­ent regions of Russia:

The Euro­pean Rus­sia. 69 col­lec­tions (one third of them are col­lect­ed by stu­dents of the For­est Institute).

The largest:

Borodin. The Nov­gorod plant. 1895–1903 more than 800 copies.

Boss. Bessara­bi­an and Odessa plants. 1881–1884, 1578 copies.

Graff, back­ground. Eka­teri­noslav flo­ra. 1850–1860. a Few thou­sand copies.

Mein­shausen. Herbar­i­um Flo­rae Ingrice. 1000 copies.

Herbar­i­um flo­rae plan­tarum diaphori­carum Ingrice (Herbar­i­um of med­i­c­i­nal plants of the flo­ra of St. Peters­burg). 530 copies.

Pour­ing. Plants Of The King­dom Of Poland. 1898, 1901 more than 800 copies.

Sukachev. Kursk plants. 1000 copies.

Crimea. 12 col­lec­tions, the largest of them:

Golde. About 1000 copies.

Pour­ing. 1900 About 400 copies.

Fedoseev. Plants of the south­ern coast of Crimea. 1896 About 400 copies.

Cau­ca­sus. 20 col­lec­tions. The largest:

Alek­seenko. More than 500 copies.

Bush. 1894–1896 More than 400 copies.

Vinogradov—Nikitin. Plants Akhalt­sikhe forestry. More than 2,000 copies.

Siberia. 20 col­lec­tions. The largest:

Borodin. Plants of the Irkut­sk dis­trict. 1902 1573 copies.

Caro. Plan­tae Dahuri­cae. 1895 g. 408 copies.

Plan­tae amurens­es etc. 1902 442 copies.

Kras­nov. Altai plants. 1883 g. 375 copies.

cen­tral Asia. 7 col­lec­tions. The largest:

Berg. Plants from the shores of the Aral sea. 66 copies.

Kushake­vich. Plants from Songoree. 1896 g. 194 copies.

Regel. Turkestan plants. 1886 More than 100 copies.

In addi­tion to the Gen­er­al and Russ­ian depart­ments of the herbar­i­um, I. P. Borodin in his report gives infor­ma­tion about the Cryp­togam­ic herbar­i­um. It includ­ed col­lec­tions of moss­es, fun­gi, lichens and algae. Cur­rent­ly the herbar­i­um is locat­ed in a sep­a­rate Cab­i­net, but the mate­r­i­al in still needs to be eval­u­at­ed and sys­tem­ized by experts ‑bry­ol­o­gists and lichenologists.

In 1894 S. K. Fedoseyev made up the cat­a­logue for the Russ­ian herbar­i­um. The herbar­i­um was housed in a cab­i­net with 252 cells. And, like in the Gen­er­al herbar­i­um, col­ored paper was used to denote the geo­graph­ic ori­gin of the sam­ples. Brown­ish-Euro­pean Rus­sia, lemon-yel­low-Crimea, white-Cau­ca­sus, gray-Siberia, bluish-Cen­tral Asia. At first, the herbar­i­um was locat­ed accord­ing to  the sys­tem of K. Lede­bour, then it was placed by the sys­tem of I. Schmal­hausen, lat­er it was reor­ga­nized and rearranged in alpha­bet­i­cal order.

The herbar­i­um fund was replen­ished in dif­fer­ent ways: some of the herbar­i­um spec­i­mens, as it was men­tioned above, were col­lect­ed and treat­ed by stu­dents dur­ing their sum­mer prac­tices. In addi­tion, the best stu­dents’ trips for col­lec­tions’ gath­er­ing were prac­ticed (Bush, Poringa and Afanasiev in the Cau­ca­sus, in the Crimea Fedosee­va, Rod­da to the Urals, etc.). Accord­ing to I. P. Borodin, a lot of valu­able mate­ri­als for the depart­ment of botany were gath­ered dur­ing such trips. In addi­tion, the Herbar­i­um was enlarged with the help of dona­tions from insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als. The Impe­r­i­al Botan­i­cal gar­den gave a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of their dou­blet, the For­est soci­ety donat­ed to the depart­ment of botany a huge herbar­i­um of fon Grafe. Among pri­vate dona­tions the fol­low­ing can be not­ed: Vio­lae exs­ic­catae. Sh. Beck­er, donat­ed by V.N. Sukachev; rare plants of Sici­ly Tin­go, donat­ed by F. H. Alekseenko.

Replen­ish­ment of herbar­i­um col­lec­tions was also car­ried out at the expense of exchange. The most active exchange took place with Yuriev (Tar­tus), Kiev and Tom­sk uni­ver­si­ties. In addi­tion, the annu­al reports of St. Peters­burg For­est Insti­tute indi­cate that the depart­ment of botany bought herbar­i­um spec­i­mens and collections.

It is obvi­ous that the most active replen­ish­ment of the herbar­i­um col­lec­tions and work with them was car­ried out dur­ing the peri­od of I. P. Borodin’s work at the depart­ment of botany, as well as his assis­tants — N. A. Mon­teverde, A. V. Tran­shel A., L. A. Ivanov, V. I. Lyu­bi­mov. At the same time at the depart­ment of botany a num­ber of works on the tax­on­o­my were car­ried out by of N. I. Poringa, S. K. Fedoseyev, V. N. Sukachev and others.

A new stage of recov­ery and inven­to­ry of herbar­i­um col­lec­tions began in Feb­ru­ary 1993 as the result of the work on the col­lec­tion struc­ture clar­i­fy­ing. The entire herbar­i­um was divid­ed into five main sec­tions: the herbar­i­um of native flo­ra — 135 fam­i­lies, 1068 gen­era, 51 840 sam­ples; the herbar­i­um of world flo­ra — 230 fam­i­lies, 36 450 sam­ples; den­dro­log­i­cal herbar­i­um — 75 fam­i­lies, 276 gen­era, 7800 sam­ples; the herbar­i­um of Sal­ix gen­era and Pop­u­lus — 7680 sam­ples; edu­ca­tion­al herbar­i­um — 9000 samples.

Den­dro­log­i­cal herbar­i­um is main­ly rep­re­sent­ed by sam­ples gath­ered by E. L. Wolf in den­dro­log­i­cal gar­den and the Uni­ver­si­ty park.

All den­dro­log­i­cal herbar­i­um is stored in five cab­i­nets with 9 cells each. Fam­i­lies, gen­era and species are arranged in alpha­bet­i­cal order.

The edu­ca­tion­al herbar­i­um is intend­ed for stu­dents’ train­ing on the cours­es of mor­phol­o­gy, sys­tem­at­ics of plants, den­drol­o­gy, ele­ments of floristry, geob­otany. It con­sists of two main sec­tions: 1) herbar­i­um herba­ceous plants, 2) herbar­i­um woody and shrub­by plants. The edu­ca­tion­al herbar­i­um is expand­ed due to the work of stu­dents and the Depart­ment employ­ees dur­ing the sum­mer practices.

Herba­ceous plants herbar­i­um con­tains about 60 fam­i­lies, 25 of them are involved in the edu­ca­tion­al process. Most­ly these are plants of the flo­ra of the North-West and mid­dle belt of the Euro­pean part of Rus­sia. The Edu­ca­tion­al herbar­i­um of herba­ceous plants con­tains about 4000 samples.

The herbar­i­um of woody and shrub­by plants is rep­re­sent­ed by about 70 fam­i­lies, of which about 45 fam­i­lies are used in the edu­ca­tion­al process. The herbar­i­um of trees and shrubs con­tains about 5000 samples.