Last month, when I met with Ken Van Rees, he told me about OUR herbarium he uses at the University of Saskatchewan. (I mean, of course we would have one. Why hadn't I thought of searching for that?) So I found it online: The W P Fraser Herbarium. There is a virtual visual catalogue of endangered, at risk, and extirpated plants in my province. That's all that's available for online viewing. That's awesome. But I wanted to see more, so I emailed them with questions.
The response I got back was so wonderful. Hugo, the head of the Herbarium invited me to visit. In his absence (summer travels), his assistant Denver graciously set up a time for me to come in with my son to see the space, the plants, the library and collect specific lists.
|The library is absolutely massive and global.|
Oh! The library. SWOON. There are three shelves the run the entire length of the Herbarium and they are LOADED with all types of reference books imaginable: Water plants. Poisons. Medicines. A series of what looked like 'ancient' encyclopedias entitled Vascular Plants of USSR. Fungi of Boreal Forests. Food Plants. Flora of the Great Plains. Catalogue of New World Grasses. Out of print books in languages from around the world. Brand new publications. A thesis with Cree names for plants in Canada.
And then there's the specimens. 170,000 I think I was told?
|This is before you enter the Herbarium collection.|
|Photographing samples (my boy photographing me)|
Isn't this beautiful!? I love the pattern. Some specimens had three leaves. Some had five. This one had four. They were all the same plant. One was dated from far enough back that it said it was collected from the town of Sutherland, Saskatchewan which is now an area within Saskatoon, east of the University.
|W P Fraser Herbarium collection|