By Eve Rickenbaker, Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium manager and School of Environmental and Forest Sciences graduate student
The herbarium specimen of Pseudotsuga menziesii, beloved Douglas fir of the Pacific Northwest, is just one of 22,500 specimens in our Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium collection at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. During the last two and half years, a group of dedicated volunteers logged close to 1,200 hours in the herbarium completing an audit of the entire collection.
Ross Bayton, our 2014 UW Botanic Gardens’ Volunteer of the Year, led the audit by generously giving 680 hours of his time. With Ross’s botanical knowledge and expertise, he checked each of the 22,500 specimens for accuracy while adding information from each specimen into our database and organizing the collection to match current classification. Ross came to the herbarium during the fall of 2012 from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he earned a PhD in plant taxonomy. In addition to Ross’s work, twenty-three students and community volunteers* committed over 500 hours working on the audit from October 2012 until now, April 2015.
The pressed plant specimens of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium reflect the research of faculty, staff and students at the UW Botanic Gardens. The Herbarium includes specimens from the Washington Park Arboretum, horticulturally significant plants, and the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board collection. We offer free plant identification services and many volunteer opportunities. Come see us in the Herbarium at the UW Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture to see specimens such as the Douglas fir and other interesting pressed plants.
*Herbarium audit volunteers:
Loni Jean Rodrigo
Alex Von Bredow