University of Calgary Herbarium (UAC-Vascular Plants)
With a extensive collection of land plants from Alberta and around the world, the University of Calgary Herbarium (UAC) is dedicated to the collection, preservation and documentation of plant biodiversity.
The herbarium’s entire collection consists of approximately 92,000 vascular specimens (land plants with tissues that conduct water and minerals) and another 12,000 non-vascular (plants like mosses, algae and fungi). About 70 percent of the Department of Biological Sciences collection is focused on plants on western North America. Side collections include cones, seeds and different types of woods.
Inside the herbarium, the first thing a visitor notices in the large cross-section of a Douglas fir tree trunk. Thirty-four years ago, when Bonnie Smith started her job as the herbarium’s technician, one of her first tasks was to label the rings with historical events and years going back to 1585 when John Davis explored the Northwest Passage and the tree was a seedling. The last ring on the trunk – next to the outer layer of bark – is 1965, a year before the University of Calgary came into being.
Over its 54-year history, the herbarium has had four directors: (past to present) Dr. Charles Bird, Dr. Robert T. Ogilvie, Dr. C.C. Chinnappa and Dr. Jana Vamosi.