Finnish herbarium

At the end of May 2020, the herbarium collection of the Institute (MAG) was replenished with the unique material from Finland. These are 55 samples collected by students of the Turku Women's Lyceum (Turun tyttölyseo, founded in 1880), in the south-west of Finland in the period from 1885 to 1913. In collections of 1885-1886 (these are the earliest by date herbarium sheets in IBPN FEB RAS) each of 15 sheets has a separate dissected flower - a real visual aid in botany!


         Woodland bulrush, 1911                 Lily-of-the-valley, 1901             Common mignonette, 1913      

55 sheets is a small part of the herbarium donated to the University of Turku. For the University Herbarium, these samples are of no interest, since all the plant species collected by the schoolgirls are represented by many duplicates. They are common in southeastern Finland. The university intended to get rid of hundreds of herbarium sheets, but the conscience of the taxonomist and collector (Yuri Mikhailovich Marusik) did not allow doing so with the 135-100 year old herbarium. He was both mesmerized by ancient labels, and perfectly understood the significance of comparative material from remote places. If it were not for quarantine measures and difficulties with border crossing, many more sheets would have been brought. We hope that this will happen in the near future.


                                 Dissected flower of a wild pansy                   Apple tree, 1896



Crossing the land border of Russia with a herbarium (and, by the way, any items crossing the borders are "goods" in the customs slang) turned out to be a very difficult task. For more than an hour and a half, customs officers carefully examined the “goods”, counting the sheets in an offhand manner.



Label for violet

The species composition of plants is typical for Atlantic Europe, and many of the plants common there do not exist in in northeastern Russia, but some can be found as invasive ones. This is a very useful material, primarily for comparison, since new alien species accompanying humans are constantly appearing and have become a serious problem in many regions. However, this small collection of Finnish plants also includes species that are widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, known in the Magadan flora – nagoonberry, cloudberry, double-leaf, etc.

Finally, having covered more than 7 thousand km, the historical herbarium from Finland was rescued, delivered to Magadan and replenished the foreign department of our Herbarium.

Author: M.G. Khoreva