Fossil Plants

The paleobotany collection is small (slightly more than 5000 specimens) but includes a large proportion of type specimens of taxa described by a number of important authors. Of particular interest is the collection of Henry Steinhauer (see Lendemer 2003, in press) that includes material described in the first North American publication on fossil plants (Steinhauer, 1818). Several of these specimens are types of taxa later validated by Adolphe Brongniart. A large suite of specimens from the Bristol Institute that well documents the British Carboniferous flora were donated by J. P. Wetherill (Wood, 1860). This was fortuitous in that the Institute was later destroyed by an incendiary bomb. A small collection of Cretaceous plants from Yorkshire, England was also acquired by J.P. Wetherill from R.E. Griffith. Horatio C. Wood Jr. was the first (and only) official curator of the collection and thus the type material of taxa named by him (Wood 1860, 1861, 1869) are found here. Soon after the collection was transferred to Botany from Paleontology in the 1970s, William C. Darrah and William Gallagher catalogued the collection for the first time.

As discussed by Lendemer (2002) a large portion of the fossil plant collection given to the Second Pennsylvania Geological Survey by Leo Lesquereux also survives in ANSP. The collection has been cross-referenced against Lesquereux’s published index to the collection and all specimens have been labeled citing their published data. All of the specimens described by MacNeal in his monograph of the Cretaceous flora of the Woodbine Sands can also be found in the collection (Spamer 1988, Spamer & Lendemer, 2000) as well as many specimens from the collection of Wilhelm Bock that had previously been assumed to be lost (see Lendemer, 2002). A large amount of unlabeled and undetermined material from the Bock collection requires study by paleobotanical experts. The most recent additions to the collection are Devonian material collected by Walt Cressler, Ted Daeshler, and others in Pennsylvania. This suite of specimens likely represents the best documented Devonian flora known (Daeshler, pers. comm. to J. Lendemer).