Selmar Schonland Herbarium

TThe Selmar Schonland Herbarium (GRA) was formed in 1993 by the amalgamation of the Albany Museum Herbarium and the Rhodes University Herbarium. It is named in honour of the distinguished botanist, Selmar Schonland, who did much to establish botany in South Africa, at Rhodes University and the botanical collections of the Albany Museum in the late 19th century. The herbarium is affiliated to Rhodes University Department of Botany and the Albany Museum.

The Albany Museum Herbarium began five years after the Museum itself had been founded in 1855 with a donation of 1000 specimens from Dr William Guybon Atherstone. In 1889 Selmar Schonland was appointed Curator of the Museum. With the valuable donation of the Peter MacOwan's Gill College Herbarium and other collections the number of specimens in 1913 had reached 50 000. In 1918 the Herbarium became a "Regional Botanic Station", a satellite of the Botanical Survey, falling under the Botanical Division of the Department of Agriculture, and later it was known as the Grahamstown Botanical Research Unit. Although the collection belongs to the Albany Museum it was staffed and funded by the Botanical Research Institute and its successor, the National Botanical Institute, from 1918 to 1992. Thereafter to present day it is co-managed and funded by the Albany Museum and Rhodes University Botany Department.

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