Visits to the herbaria

As part of the research on the opium poppy, we had the chance to visit two large European herbaria, including that of the Musée national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN), the world’s largest one in term of volume and historical value.

The collections are generally not not open to the public, and are dedicated to research on systematics, global plants studies and conservation. The French MNHN vascular plant herbarium in the Jardin des Plantes (Paris, France) hosts ca. eight million specimens from all regions of the world. The Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de Genève (CJBG) is one of the most important in the world with ca. 6 millions of specimen.

Logo MNHN
Logo CJBG

Importance of herbaria to study plant origin

In 2018, two european herbaria were visited to collect seeds of different opium poppy subspecies to conduct pioneer GMM and DNA analyses to discriminate wild and cultivated forms.

Samplings of seeds and leaves were carried out in the framework of the AgriChange project. GMM pioneer studies have been realized in A. Jesus’s Ph-D thesis defended in December 2021 at the University of Basel under the supervision of F. Antolin (Jesus et al. 2021). DNA analyses are in progress.

Just below, some pictures of the visits. We thank Florian Jabbour, assistant professor at the MNHN, and curator of the Papaveraceae at MNHN Herbarium.

View of the MNHN Herbarium. Photo: R. Soteras (2018).
Geneva Herbarium
Sampling at the Geneva Herbarium. Photo: L. Martin (2018)
F. Jabbour (MNHN) takes out herbarium plates from the collections. Photo: R. Soteras (2018).
Each specimen is accompanied by informations about its place and date of collection and its collector. Photo: R. Soteras (2018)

To learn more

About digitized specimens from several herbaria through the e-ReColNat infrastructure.

Herbaria catalogues: CJBG, MNHN

Le Bras, G., Pignal, M., Jeanson, M. et al. (2017) The French Muséum national d’histoire naturelle vascular plant herbarium collection dataset. Sci Data 4, 170016 . https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.16 Access

Muller, S., Invernón, V. R., & Rouhan, G. (2021). Les herbiers, témoins des enjeux de conservation de la biodiversité et des impacts des changements globaux. Les collections naturalistes dans la science du XXIe siècle: Une ressource durable pour une science ouverte, 253 (in french). Access

L’herbier du Muséum-L’aventure d’une collection, coed. Artlys, MNHN, 2013 (in french). Access

Some photographies taken at the MNHN Herbarium in 2018, by P.-A. Chouvy. Website


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