SCIENCE AT GHENT UNIVERSITY HERBARIUM

The collections of the Ghent University Herbarium (or GENT) are intensively used in ongoing research projects. The herbarium encompasses some 400 000 specimens and is divided into several subcollections including Algae, Fungi, Vascular Plants and Ferns. The collections consist mainly of dried specimens which are either mounted on sturdy bristol sheets (large specimens) or kept in folded packets (small specimens). Other specimens are conserved in liquid (e.g. flowers, fruits, sea-weeds), some are stored in envelopes in silica gel to allow subsequent molecular study. There is also a large collection of fruits.

Vascular Plants Herbarium

At least 10 PhD theses and 50 MSc theses have been based on herbarium specimens of Vascular Plants since 1970. Staff of the Research Group Spermatophytes have published well over 60 A1 papers which refer in a lesser or greater extent to ‘GENT’ specimens.

Other Belgian and foreign researchers also use the collections frequently. Their objectives and methods vary considerably. The traditional approach focuses on morphological and anatomical observations. With molecular phylogenetic analyses becoming ever more popular, our herbarium specimens have become a regular source of DNA.

Botanical Garden Herbarium

Many accessions of the Ghent University Botanical Garden are also represented by herbarium specimens in the Botanical Garden Herbarium. This enables researchers to use these specimens as vouchers for example when submitting DNA sequences to GenBank.

Fruit collection

Many accessions of the Ghent University Botanical Garden are also represented by herbarium specimens in the Botanical Garden Herbarium. This enables researchers to use these specimens as vouchers for example when submitting DNA sequences to GenBank.

Using the Ghent University Herbarium collections

The Ghent University Herbarium holds a large collection of over 15 000 Cyperaceae specimens. This collection has been extensively studied at the Ghent University since the early 1970's. Currently, several research projects focussing on Cyperaceae are still ongoing. International researchers also use this collection.

Other important vascular plant collections that were recently supplemented with newly collected specimens include neotropical Peperomia, Asian and Latin American Hydrangea and Caricaceae.

For more information about the available collections or to request plant material for research purposes, please contact: Dr. Isabel Larridon.