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.”
The 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. 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.
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.
The wood collection (FLASw) of the University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS) is located at 379 Dickinson Hall in the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus.
Hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 12 noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., except for holidays and subject to staff availability. This collection is available for consultation by researchers only by appointment. Please contact the Collection Manager to arrange for consultation of specimens prior to your visit.
University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)
Florida Museum of Natural History
379 Dickinson Hall, 1659 Museum Rd.
PO Box 117800
Gainesville, FL 32611-7800 USA
Telephone: (352) 273-1990
Dr. Lucas C. Majure
Curator of the Herbarium
Correspondent for administrative and grant-related matters
Phone: (352) 273-2102
Alan R. Franck
Manager of the Collection
Correspondent for loan, exchange, and collection database matters; scheduling a visit)
Phone: (352) 273-1984
Marc S. Frank
Correspondent for the Plant Identification and Information Service and volunteering
Phone: (352) 273-1994
Important collections include:
- Duplicate specimens (ca. 3,800) from the Smithsonian Institution, e.g., partial or full sets of collections by R.M. King, B.A. Krukoff (Brazilian), G.H. Pickels, W.L. Stern, J.W. Thieret and A.F. Wilson.
- Commercial Woods Used in the U.S.
- Commercial Woods (U.S. National Lumber Association).
- Commercial Woods of Brazil, Chile, Surinam, and Japan.
- Japanese Taiwanian Woods
- A.F. Wilson miscellaneous woods and Woods of Korea
- Milton F. Scott wood collection (ca. 6,700) – a carefully documented, diverse assemblage of specimens.
- G.C. Bucher, Sr. wood collection (ca. 1,930).
- New York State College of Foresty at Syracuse University, Project I wood samples.
In 2019, we improved access to the collection by investing in new cabinets and rearranging the collection and room. Our future goals for this collection include:
- Clean up / organize the database and create a version for our Web site.
- Correlate the specimens with vouchers in our collection and at other collections (such as the Smithsonian, Yale and Syracuse).
- Update the nomenclature and/or identifications for the specimens. Some of this can be done by crosswalking the names via synonymy and by checking the current identifications for vouchers.
- Digitize the extensive correspondence files, particularly those of Milton F. Scott.
- Catalog the prepared slides and wood blocks that are not in the card file.
- Digitize the prepared slides.
The UF Wood Collection administrators are open to collaborations and grants to improve the access to and usability of the collection with a goal to increase the collections contributions to research projects.
- IAWA : International Association of Wood Anatomists
- IWCS : International Wood Collectors Society
- Lamb, Samuel H. and Alan B. Curtis 2005 A guide for developing a wood collection Rev. ed. Forest Products Society for the International Wood Collectors Society, Madison, WS. vi, 42 p.