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Bailey Hortorium Herbarium stems from Cornell’s roots

The world’s largest seed, called a “double coconut,” from the fruit of a palm called a Coca de Mer from the Seychelles.

The world’s largest seed, called a “double coconut,” from the fruit of a palm called a Coca de Mer from the Seychelles.

Cornell Chronicle [2015-04-27]:

The fourth floor of Mann Library on campus houses the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Herbarium, a collection of more than a million dried and preserved plant specimens.

The roots of this botanical library of pressed leaves, branches, flowers and seeds go back to Cornell’s beginnings. In 1869, Andrew Dickson White purchased a collection called the Wiegand Herbarium for $1,000 from Horace Mann Jr., the son of an educator who helped develop the nation’s public school system and an acquaintance of naturalist Henry David Thoreau. Then, in 1935 Cornell plant biologist Liberty Hyde Bailey donated his private 150,000-specimen herbarium to Cornell.

The two herbaria were combined in 1977 under the umbrella of the Hortorium, a Cornell department in the Plant Biology Section.

Bailey coined the word hortorium to mean “a collection of things from the garden,” said Peter Fraissenet, assistant curator of the herbarium, one of the largest university-affiliated collections of preserved plant materials in North America.

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