The University of Florida Wood Collection contains approximately 15,700 accessioned wood samples and 1,000+ microscope slides (thin sections, typically transverse radial and tangential views).

Woods from all parts of the world are included with an emphasis on those of the tropics. The collection is actively used by researchers from the Anthropology and Paleobotany units in the Florida Museum.

The establishment of the wood collection is traced to 1938 as reported in The Annual Report of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station:

“The herbarium has been conferred the honor of becoming one of 15 depositories in the United States for the authentic wood and herbarium material of economic trees of the United States being assembled by the School of Forestry of Syracuse University under the leadership of Dr. H.P. Brown. To date this comprises 260 specimens of leaf and flower material, 63 packets of fruits of plants represented in the above and 215 blocks of wood.”

Card drawerThe collection was small and dormant for years until reactivated, reorganized, and tremendously expanded in 1980 through the efforts of Dr. William Louis Stern. It consists of woods from North, Central, and South America, and many other regions (e.g., Taiwan, Hawai’i, Japan).

An excellent article written by Frederick R. Davis details the history of the wood collection, published in 1997 in the journal World of Wood: pdf here [permission for use granted by Mihaly Czako, editor, email 10 March 2023]. Frederick Davis had completed his master of arts degree at UF in 1996, with a thesis titled “Archie Carr and the survival of natural history in twentieth-century America : the early years (1930-1960)”.

A card file arranged by family and species includes most, but not all, of the specimens in the collection. A volunteer has been verifying each card with the corresponding wood block and cataloging those data into a database.

Arrangement Guide

The wood collection (FLASw) of the University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS) is stored in custom wooden cabinets and SpaceSaver Viking 228 cabinets. Individual wood blocks, stems, branches, and trunks are numbered with a “permanent” marker. A card file with collection data and the wood specimen number is arranged by family and species. This card file is being databased.