I had never heard of herbaria until a few years ago, and when the word first floated across my desk, I didn’t much think about what one was. Then I met my friend Julie, who works at one, whom I interviewed for this podcast, and the more she told me about her work, the more it blew my tiny little mind.
Picture an explorer trekking through a 19th-century jungle, machete in hand. He comes upon a clearing full of exotic, never-before-seen flowering plants, and carefully plucks one to send back to his homeland for research, pressing it in with notes for his assistants on his own diploma, the only paper he has. That, my friends, is what you find in a herbarium.