Yesterday saw the 300,000th specimen from our herbarium collection imaged and made available on our website. This is a big milestone for the digitisation programme, which has been running since 2004, as it means 10% of 3 million specimens held in the herbarium have now been imaged.

Professor Stuart Monro imaging the 300,000th specimen

Professor Stuart Monro imaging the 300,000th specimen

To mark this special event we asked Professor Stuart Monro, Chair of the current Visiting Group, to take the image. The 300,000th specimen, a Clitoria mariana from 1698, was spotted in the herbarium last month by a visiting researcher and is one of the oldest specimens in our collection.

Clitoria mariana - the 300,000th specimen to be imaged

Clitoria mariana – the 300,000th specimen to be imaged

We also choose specimens that represent the work we do here as the 299,999th and 300,001st specimens. The 299,999th is a type specimen of a newly discovered species Microchirita purpurea, collected and named by David Middleton, a former member of staff. Microchirita is in the family Gesneriaceae, which is one of the focus families studied here at RBGE.

Microchirita purpurea

Microchirita purpurea

The 300,001st is a newly named cultivar of Meconopsis ‘Inverleith’. This plant was originally collected by George Sheriff in 1934 and has been maintained in cultivation here in Edinburgh since it was bought back.¬† One of the clones waws shown to be distinct, and the naming of it as a new cultivar was approved by the Meconopsis Group which meets here at RBGE.

Meconopsis 'Inverleith'

Meconopsis ‘Inverleith’

Meanwhile, the digitisation of the herbarium continues and the Herbarium Catalogue can be searched here.