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Smith Botanical Collections

The biological collections of Sir James Edward Smith, founder and first President of the Linnean Society. They include his Herbarium and his Carpological Collection.

For Smith's library, correspondence, manuscript, and archives collections, click HERE.

Smith Herbarium

Trifolium incarnatumSmith’s collection of 27,185 dried botanical specimens is a rare example of a personal herbarium that has been kept in its original state and has not been remounted or relabelled. The herbarium contains specimens from 85 countries and 135 territories, and the earliest specimen dates from 1708. Many of the specimens were sent to Smith as gifts or exchanges, including those Smith received from world renowned physicians and botanists he met on his 1786-1787 tour of Europe.

There is also a supplementary lichen collection.

The collection was conserved and digitised in Liverpool and London from 1999-2009.

The Smith Herbarium has just been launched as the latest addition to our Online Collections, and the images are now freely accessible online.

Smith Carpological Collection

Bottle of CitronellaSmith’s carpological, or economic botany, collection contains almost 600 objects, including seeds, fruits, wood, fibres, fungi, lichen, and resins. There are also several processed items such as textiles, whale skin, the wing of a flying fish, and human hair. The collection dates from 1775 to 1827.