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Current Activity

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The TCD herbarium is the only one in Ireland currently active in systematic research. It is very well-equipped with an excellent, integrated library.

In the past the Herbarium under the curatorship of Professor D.A. Webb, was heavily involved in the study of the flora of Europe. Indeed Trinity became one of the focal points of one of the most important taxonomic projects yet completed; the five volume flora of Europe - Flora Europaea of which Professor Webb was an editor and major contributor. See Webb (1978)

Prior to that, under the Curatorship of W.H. Harvey the herbarium was also involved in work on the terrestrial floras of Australia and South Africa. Harvey, responsible for recognising the Red Algae as a taxonomic group, was the World’s premier phycologist, wrote accounts of the marine algae of many regions including Britain, Australia and Antarctica and the large algal collection he accumulated in the herbarium still attracts many visitors. The historical collections in the herbarium accumulated particularly by Harvey from all over the world are exceptionally type rich and most have been imaged.

Work continues on European taxonomic problems: for example the herbarium played a leading role in the recently published revision of the first volume of Flora Europaea, and the new 8th edition of an Irish Flora is the work of its staff (Professor J. Parnell) and a former student (Dr. T. Curtis). But, the focus of research has broadened, under the current curator Professor J. Parnell, to include S.E. Asia, especially Thailand. The herbarium is now one of the focal points for the Flora of Thailand project and has been responsible for the production of many family accounts for that flora. In addition, the Curator sits on the Council of the World Flora online project, that is run by Missouri Botanical Gardens and Geneva.