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OVERVIEW

The Herbarium at Olds College with labelled cabinets holding the collection, and groups of herbariums set aside for study and use by students.  

 

The Buck Godwin Herbarium at Olds College

 

What is a herbarium?

A herbarium is a collection of dried plants, especially one in which the plants have been mounted, 

systematically classified, and labeled for use in scientific studies. Most botanical gardens and educational institutions that provide courses in botany, horticulture and other related subjects have herbariums on site. 

In 1964 the horticulture program at Olds College was launched due in large part to the initiative of B.J. ‘Buck’ Godwin, an instructor at the college from 1963 to 1988.  At the same time, he founded the herbarium.  Click here to learn more about Buck and the Buck Godwin Memorial Garden on campus.

In 1969 the sign outside the door indicated that the collection consisted of ‘5,045 sheets of plant material of 
prime interest to horticulture and agriculture’ with the oldest specimens being collected in 1904.   See the sign below or click here.  As of 2016 the collection houses approximately 3,000 folders and 30,000 mounts, filed alphabetically by family, genus, species and cultivar.  The plant material includes native and ornamental plant material from Alberta, Alaska, the Yukon, the northern U.S.A. and from most Canadian provinces.  A number come from foreign countries including the former Soviet Union.  The vast majority of the specimens have been collected by Olds College staff and students, and each year students in the Landscape Gardener Apprenticeship program contribute new herbariums.

 

The mounts are used for environment and horticulture training in the areas of plant identification, ecosystems, ecology, managed landscapes, range management, reclamation, turf, urban forestry, taxonomy, physiology, botany and much more.  It is open to the public, and has been used by members of the industry and research communities.  For example, Heinjo Lahring of Bearberry Creek Water Gardens used the herbarium when conducting research for his book ‘Water and Wetland Plants of the Prairie Provinces’, published in 2003 by the University of Regina.  The herbarium was also used to help in developing the distribution maps found in ‘Flora of Alberta’ by E.H. Moss.

Currently the herbarium is undergoing work to re-organize folders based on new plant family names. Efforts are also underway to fully digitize the collection.

The Olds College Buck Godwin Herbarium is in the Land Sciences Building in room 1124.  For more information e-mail OCBotanicGardens@oldscollege.ca