Established in 1838, the Connell Memorial Herbarium is the oldest extant institutional collection in Canada. It houses over 64,000 specimens; the largest collection of preserved vascular plants in the province. There is also a growing algal collection of more than 27,000 specimens, including many examples that have defined species (type specimens). Specializing in plants from New Brunswick and the Atlantic provinces, the Herbarium also holds many specimens from across Canada and around the world.
Simply, a herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens. Researchers in many fields have contributed plant collections to the herbarium as voucher specimens. Others have collected in Atlantic Canada specifically for the herbarium or for the book “Flora of New Brunswick”. Often, other herbaria will send us duplicates of their specimens, as a kind of “back-up” of their collections.
The Herbarium contains plants collected throughout the region over a long time period (early 1800’s to present), and is a valuable resource for researchers, teachers, students, consultants, government, and others interested in ecology, taxonomy, systematics, evolution, genetics, paleobotany, ecology, biodiversity, ethnobotany, or conservation biology. With such an in-depth collection, questions about the current and historical distributions of plant species, changes in the composition of communities over time, taxonomic relationships, and other interesting biological questions can be addressed.
The collection in the Herbarium also helps people to identify unknown species, by showing the variations of the species in this region.