About the Herbarium

History

The Claude E. Phillips Herbarium (DOV) was founded in 1977 by Norman H. Dill and Arthur O. Tucker, two former professors within the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Delaware State University. Starting with only two cabinets of plant specimens, DOV is now the largest herbarium within Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the only public one on the Delmarva Peninsula. Through continuous enrichment efforts, it has become a center for documentation, education and research within the region. Incorporated collections are 50,000 specimens from DELS (University of Delaware) formerly from the Society of Natural History of Delaware, transferred to DOV in 1980; E. Tatnall collection from COCO (Colorado College), sent on permanent loan to DOV in 1980; Delmarva specimens, Apiaceae and Lamiaceae from LCU (Catholic University of America) donated to DOV in 1986; and 24,500 bryophytes and lichens from W.J. Hoe’s collection transferred to DOV in 2002.

Mission

By preserving, studying, and providing access to its collections, the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium (DOV) seeks to promote and share knowledge about plants for the well-being of people and their environment and supports documentation, education, research, and extension activities on wild and cultivated flora of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Notable Collectors

Collections at DOV are the results of the cumulative efforts of many botanists from the 18th century through the 21st century. Significant contributions are from: R.M. Austin, H.R. Baker, W.M. Canby (and his correspondents), A. Commons, N.H. Dill, W.J. Hoe, C.O. Houghton, F.M. Jones, W.D. Longbottom, W.A. McAvoy, R.F.C. Naczi, H. O’Neill, J.P. Otis, J.T. Pennypacker, C.E. Phillips, P.J.D. Redmond, A.V. Smith, W.S. Taber, E. Tatnall, R.R. Tatnall, I.F. Tidestrom, and A.O. Tucker.

Types and historically important specimens

Type specimens are the most valuable specimens in any herbarium and the relatively high number of types at DOV is one indication of the scientific and historic riches of the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium. So far, 834 of DOV’s specimens have been authenticated as types, of which 25 are bryophytes and lichens and 809 are vascular plants. Sixty-four other specimens are possible types, types of unpublished names, or types of homonyms and 141 specimens are paratypes. Of the 809 authenticated type specimens of vascular plants, 366 alone are from C.G. Pringle’s collections. Other notable collectors include A.H. Curtiss (41 types), W.C. Cusick (48 types), A.A. Heller (126 types), and G.V. Nash (75 types).

DOV houses a wealth of historically important specimens and a few noteworthy ones are Teucrium pyrenaicum (Lamiaceae, mint family), collected in 1799 by Niels Hofman-Bang in the Pyrénées (France) and the oldest specimen at the herbarium; Verbascum blattaria (Scrophulariaceae, snapdragon family), collected in 1827 by William Hodgson Jr. in Darley Road (northernmost Delaware) and the oldest specimen from Delmarva at DOV. Other historically important collections include the complete and unbroken exsiccatae of H.P. Sartwell, a physician of the mid-1800s in New York and an avid collector of sedges, who assembled two sets of specimens (1st set: 70 specimens [1848]; 2nd set: 88 specimens [1850]).