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Herbarium News

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April 30th 2016

Norton-Brown Herbarium at Maryland Day 2016.

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We had the game and talked about non-native weeds at Maryland Day including this Garlic Pennycress (Thlaspi alliaceum).

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October 11th 2014

Norton-Brown Herbarium presented native plants at AGNR Open House in Clarksville, MD.

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The University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Open House at the Clarksville research Farm was a great success in spite of some rain early in the morning. The Norton-Brown Herbarium was there presenting information about the Herbarium and Maryland’s wild plants. There was a display of Maryland’s native plants from the native plant garden at the UMD Greenhouse, as well as specimens of introduced species. Everyone was fascinated by the fruit of the Osage orange (Maclura pomifera). Dozens of intrepid youngsters used the dichotomous maze built by Niko Anderson to ‘key out’ their favorite native plant! We got lots of questions about wild plants and the Norton-Brown Herbarium. We will definitely be at the AGNR Open House next year!

Native plants on display:
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)
Canada Germander (Teucrium canadense)
Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum) New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

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May 6th 2013

Education at the Herbarium


Over the course of the semester, herbarium staff has been involved in two college courses offered through the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Teaching Assistants from the PLSC 100 course, Introduction to Horticulture, received training on herbarium techniques, which they in turn taught to undergraduates. The undergraduate students used this knowledge to produce herbarium specimens for a class project. Honors students (HONR 288X) received a tour of the herbarium and decided to include herbarium activities in their event called ‘Explore our Wooded Hillock’. The curator of the herbarium demonstrated proper plant pressing technique at the event ( Facebook link) and also provided identification help with the plants found on the Hillock.

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April 30th 2013

Maryland Day - Herbarium Activites


Volunteers Megan McConnell and Connor Kirby helped herbarium staff to showcase MARY during Maryland Day. Maryland Day is hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park and gives visitors a chance to explore 450 activities put together by volunteers from various departments and facilities on campus. A record turnout of 105,000 visitors came to campus this year. The Herbarium hosted two events: Interested visitors learned all about tasks performed in an herbarium, how to press a specimen themselves, and received a flower press made from reclaimed lumber. During another activity, a group hiked up into ‘the Hillock’ behind the Research Greenhouse Center, which houses the herbarium, and learned about native plant identification. Carin Celebuski, the Volunteer Coordinator from the Arboretum Outreach Center, also showcased the herbarium by doing a plant mounting activity with children, who walked away with their very own herbarium specimen and the knowledge of how to mount a specimen.

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March 17th 2013

Presentation at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) 2013.


Herbarium staff represented MARY at the conference with a talk titled ‘Creating a 21st Century Virtual Herbarium at the University of Maryland’. The conference was held in Charleston, WV and had ca. 600 attendees from all over the south-eastern United States. A pdf file of the presentation is posted at the iDigBio website here in conjunction with a workshop on the ‘Workflows and Challenges in Digitization of Museum Specimens’, which was held at ASB. iDigBio is a resource funded by the National Science Foundation for the advancement of digitization of biodiversity collections.

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February 15th 2013

Collaboration on Asclepias and Monarch Butterfly Research.

Herbarium staff, several undergraduate students, and Lepidoptera researchers at the University of Maryland are collaborating on a project, which involves data collection from herbarium specimens of species of Asclepias. Monarch butterflies use Asclepias as host plant for their caterpillars and as a nectar source. To do this, they are using digitized herbarium specimens to collect data on the phenology of Asclepias across North America by scoring specimens based on their phenophase: (in flower, fruit, etc.). These data will be used to create maps of milkweed availability during the monarch breeding season and connect that with monarch migration patterns.

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February 5th 2013

Presentation to the Botanical Society of Washington.

Members of the Botanical Society of Washington came out to hear an evening talk titled “Pesky Persicaria and Polygonum Bootcamp”. The focus of the talk was to clarify differences between species of Persicaria vs. Polygonum based on molecular evidence and to highlight morphological characters for identification of the species, which occur in Maryland.

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January 20th 2013

Maryland Native Plant Society Walk - ‘Winter Greens’


Karyn Molines, the Calvert County Natural Resources Division Chief, led a delightful winter walk through the woods at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Lots of wintergreens were out and even some flowers. Winter ID of oaks was particularly fun. For additional interest, fossilized shark’s teeth can be found on the shore of the adjacent Chesapeake Bay.

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January 16th 2013

Presentation on virtual herbarium progress at MISC


Members of the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) heard about progress at the Virtual Herbarium and how it may support their work. The meeting was hosted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis. The goal of MISC is to provide leadership for the prevention and management of invasive species in Maryland ecosystems. MISC provides lists of aquatic and terrestrial plants, insects and other invertebrates, vertebrates, viruses, fungi and other organisms that are invasive in Maryland and cause broad-scale economic and ecological damage.

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November 27th 2012

Bioscience Research and Technology Day 2012 - 'Understanding Life' at the University of Maryland.


The Norton-Brown Herbarium was represented at the poster session of the conference where we highlighted the research done at the herbarium including the information technological aspects of the virtual herbarium. The annual Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day is a venue for professionals from academia, governmental agencies and industry to network and learn about current research projects at the University of Maryland.

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October 18th 2012

MD Invasive Plant Advisory Committee


The Norton-Brown Herbarium hosted a visit by members of the State of Maryland Invasive Plant Advisory Committee on October 18.

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October 6th 2012

AGNR Open House


The Norton-Brown Herbarium was represented at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Open House held at the Clarksville Facility of the Central Maryland Research and Education Center on 06 Oct. 2012. Visitors were taught to key out five species in the sunflower family which are found in bloom in the region at the moment and learned about the importance of herbaria and what kinds of research happen in a herbarium.

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September 29th - 30th 2012

Annual Conference of the Maryland Native Plant Society


Herbarium staff participated in the annual conference of the Maryland Native Plant Society held at Towson University where native plant enthusiasts listened to three interesting talks during the morning and then headed out for field trips after lunch before returning for a Social on Saturday. More great field trips were offered on Sunday. The conference was a great opportunity to network with likeminded botanists, buy native plants and botanize in the Piedmont area of Maryland.

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September 19th 2012

University of Maryland Arboretum walk

Photos courtesy of Carin A. Celebuski

Norton-Brown Herbarium featured at the weekly University of Maryland Arboretum walk on 19 Sep 2012. Tour participants heard about the importance of "dead" plant specimens for a change. Normally the Arboretum walks introduce the tour group to interesting plants growing on the UMD College Park campus, but this time they heard all bout the critical importance of natural heritage collections preserved at the University Herbarium. The information associated with the dried and pressed specimens is invaluable when addressing important research questions such as: How does the rate of spread of invasive species such as kudzu change over time? What are the potential effects of the recently introduced emerald ash borer on forests in Maryland given the spatial distribution of ash (Fraxinus) species? What are the potential effects of climate change and local land use change on species distributions? Do the physical and genetic differences of populations of a certain endangered species truly warrant recognition as a separate species? Do certain groups of plants from Maryland include unrecognized species or subspecies? Answering all of these questions relies on the record contained in the Norton-Brown Herbarium. Herbarium specimens also function as vouchers for plants used in various studies and ensure that they have been correctly identified.

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August 20th - 31st 2012

Kew Herbarium Techniques course held at
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, NY


Tanja Schuster, the curator at the Norton-Brown Herbarium, participated in a two week workshop on herbarium techniques that was held at Brooklyn Botanic Garden by staff from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK. The two month long Kew international Diploma Course has been adapted into a two week seminar that has been taught in Brazil, Cameroon, China, Malaysia, Papua, Russia, Trinidad and Turkey. The workshop was a great opportunity to network with other herbarium curators from Canada, Europe and the Americas, to go on filed trips to the Pine Barrens and the New York Botanical Gardens, as well as learn about a variety of topics relevant to the herbarium community an the curation of natural history collections.