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Nepenthes type sheets at NYBG

NYBG has at lest parts of its herbarium collection online at:


(try searching for family nepenthaceaea)

Most impressive are the high quality scans of the sheets when taking into mind that taxonomists do have to work with this material! Some sheets are even without a single pitcher...

Easy to recognize Isotype of N. campanulata:


(in big: http://image.nybg.org/herbim/1300/v-130-00039332big.jpg )

It looks like a dried up octopus!

It's amazing that this was the way people kept track of plants before cameras and tissue culture were invented.
Very interesting site-thanks for cluing us in!
Hi Josh,

this is the material scientists work with today! - Not joking at all.

That is at New York botanical gardens? In the USA?

Yeah, Joachim is right, just check out the date that it has on the bottom left corner; it says 1995.

I'm curious though, what is an isotype? Is it like the archetype specimen that's used to caracterize a species?

Well I'm no specialist in this area - maybe Tray may help as there do exist sheets with his name on it.

When establishing a new plant name you do have to describe it formally and you do have to take samples of the plant press and dry them as herbarium material - this results in a type sheet. One of the type sheets is the holotype which is the reference for all further work with this special plant. Normally more type sheet is made, the isotypes. These go into other herbariums than the holotype and so in case of loosing the holotype there are others left. One of these will be declared as lectotype (~ new holotype) in such a case.

Try a search for 'holotype isotyp nomenclature' at google to find more precise references to plant nomenclature.

@nepenthes gracilis: Yes, right. (And I don't have to write your name in bold undererlined, etc. because its obvious I mean you personally
- The plant Nepenthe gracilis would have a family name starting with an uppercase character and a species name starting with a lower case character...

Nepenthes is the genus name... Nepenthesae is the family name...
Sorry... I couldn't help my self...
huh! I thought when I zoomed in it said 1895...! In my defense I didn't get much sleep in the past few days.

When I think of herbarium books I always think of books several hundred years old. I would have figured they keep "living records" these days or at least like DNA strands of it or something