From Plant Press, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2016.
By Meghann Toner
The U.S. National Herbarium is in the midst of rehousing its unique bulky bamboo collection. Floyd McClure developed this collection in the 1940s. The collection grew and diversified over the next forty years thanks in part to researchers such as Thomas Soderstrom and Cleofé Calderón. Since the late 1980s, this important collection of 1,419 specimens have been stored in wooden cases. The specimens are too large to press and prepare as typical herbarium sheets, and hold important information on the structure of bamboo culms, branch complements, and rhizomes.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Smithsonian’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF), 38 state-of-the-art metal herbarium cases, designed specifically for the bamboo collection, were purchased. These cases are currently being installed into the collection and the bulky bamboo specimens will soon be carefully moved to their new home. These new cases will insure that this valuable and unique collection will last well into the next century as a research resource.