A 238-year-old specimen found in the Marie-Victorin herbarium

Digitization of biological collections has numerous advantages, including making discoveries of remarkable material hidden away within them!

While carrying out a digitization project on world sedges at the Marie-Victorin Herbarium, an out-of-the-ordinary voucher sheet caught the attention of volunteers doing data entry: a specimen of Carex longerostrata C.A. Meyer, collected in 1779 on the Kamchatka Peninsula during Capt. James Cook’s third voyage to discover the Northwest Passage. Until then, the oldest known specimens at the the herbarium came from the early 1820’s, collected by Dr. Andrew Holmes on the island of Montreal. The Marie-Victorin herbarium just got 40 years older!

To learn more about this specimen and its history, you can read an article by Monique Poissant and Geoffrey Hall in the Petit Écho, March 2017 edition (pages 3-4, in French).