Presented here are some of the older herbarium collections, kept by our museum. Due to their sensitivity to light and humidity, the collections themselves must be cowries abalone shells sea ears BOTANICAL SHOWCASE kept in the museum depositories, while in the exhibition rooms they can be presented only through words and pictures. Here is also exhibited a part of the wood collection that was on display as early as in 1831 during the museum's celebration opening. This is one of the oldest natural history collections of the first museum in Slovenia. The wood samples are sawn in the shape of book spines, and the names on them are inscribed with golden letters as book titles. Herbarium is a collection of dried and systematically arranged plants. The name originates from Latin: the word herba denotes a plant. Herbariums are kept for learning and research purposes.
The older herbarium collections are part of our cultural heritage, part of the history of botanical science in our country. In them, the country's botanical memory is hidden.
The old herbariums kept by the Slovenian Museum of Natural History comprise some 50,000 sheets. Among them is the oldest known herbarium in Slovenia. Carrying the year 1696, it was created by Janez Krstnik Flysser, a physician from Ljutomer. This is a 45 x 31 cm large book with wooden covers, bound in leather. The herbarium comprises 204 pages. On each of them, four or five dried plants are pasted, 993 in total. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the initials of the used names, which are of course pre-Linnaean. In the first place, there is the Latin name used at that time, to which the German name was added in most cases. In the herbarium, no data on the plants' natural sites can be found. The great majority of the plants is characteristic of our places as well, from the Adriatic coast to the Alpine peaks, while some are ornamental species. Herbariums from the second part of the 18th and 19th centuries are classical collections of separate pages and sheets, on which the dried plants are usually pasted. They are equipped with tags on which at least Latin names are inscribed. The Slovenian Museum of Natural History keeps the collections of numerous natural historians, who gathered plants on our soil, the most valuable among them being those of Balthasar Hacquet, Karl Zois, Franc Hladnik, Henrik Freyer, Valentin Plemel and many others. Baron Karl Zois was the younger brother of the mineralogist Žiga Zois. He studied the fauna of the Slovenian Alps, and thus discovered many a new species. After him, Zois' Bellflower and Zois' Violet were named, as well as Zoysia, the genus of tropical grasses.
A special attraction are the dried (exsiccate) herbarium collections, which were published in several copies, equipped with printed tags. The author or editor of the collection sent the sheets in centuria, in batches of a hundred. In collections of this kind , various botanists participated. One of the first collections of this kind was the German Dried Flora (Flora Germanica exsiccata), made during the 1830-1845 period. It comprises 2,600 sheets, and in its making several Carniolan (Slovenian) botanists also took part. The Slovenian Museum of Natural History keeps one of the rare complete copies of this prominent collection.