The herbarium at the University traces its origin to 1927 when the renowned plant ecologist, E. Lucy Braun asked her student, Margaret H. Fulford, to organize a few hundred specimens that she had accumulated. Since then, the herbarium has grown through the activity of collectors at the University of Cincinnati, and through the acquisition of several large private collections. The largest, and most important of these are the herbaria of Curtis Gates Lloyd and Cincinnati Society of Natural History. Following her retirement, the Herbarium was renamed in honor of its founder, Dr. Margaret H. Fulford, a Cincinnati native who studied at both University of Cincinnati and Yale and became the world authority on Latin American liverworts.

Among the vascular plants are several notable collections. The herbarium holds collections of the UC ecologist Dr. E. Lucy Braun (1889-1971), which represent specimens that form the basis of her groundbreaking 1950 book, Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America (Braun 1950). The 25,000-specimen herbarium of Curtis Gates Lloyd (1859-1926) comprises plant specimens originating locally and from around the world in the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, collected and purchased by Curtis Gates Lloyd. Curtis collected raw materials for extraction by the Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists, Inc. (1870–1938), and the collections includes numerous plants of medicinal importance. The Lloyd collection also includes the first large collection of Samoan flora (A. Whistler, pers. com.) that Curtis personally collected in 1904-1905, and that formed the basis of his Flora of Samoa (Lloyd and Aiken 1934). CINC holds the herbarium of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History, which was founded in 1870 (Stuckey 1984).  This collection includes Robert Buchanan’s (1797–1879) vouchers, collected as early as 1923, from his 1938 checklist of Cincinnati plants (included in Atwater 1938). As such, CINC contains a rich representation of the flora of the Cincinnati area from just a few decades after Cincinnati was settled, to another period of intense local collection from 1910-1960 by Dr. Braun, to yet another period of intense local collecting by local botanists Daniel Boone, Dr. Denis Conover, and Dr. Vic Soukup from ca. 2000 to the present. With very few exceptions, these historic collections are all unicates. In addition to collections mentioned above, the vascular plants include numerous collections by C.G. Pringle from the desert southwest and Mexico, O. Degener from Hawaii, and H.Y. Liang from China.

The non-vascular plant collection (hornworts, liverworts, and mosses) was accumulated by two former curators and respected experts, Drs. Margaret Fulford (1094–1999) and Jerry Snider (1937–).  Fulford was one of the premier hepaticologists of the mid 20th century, who published pioneering studies on American hepatics (Fulford 1963, 1966, 1968, 1976, Fulford and Sharpe 1990), and trained many students, whose voucher collections are also represented in CINC. All but two Latin American countries (Belize and French Guiana) are represented in among the CINC liverworts. The moss collection grew considerably during the tenure of curator Dr. Jerry Snider through his prolific collecting and active exchange program.  Under Snider’s watch, the moss collection grew from a few hundred to over 17,000 specimens. The moss collection is especially rich in North American Sphagnum, and includes collections by L.E. Anderson, F. Bowers, E.L. Braun, A.W. Cusick, J.A. Snider, and many others.  Lichens at CINC comprise 7062 specimens and include a large number of A.E. Evans’ Cladonia specimens.  Evans published the most important of the early American works on this genus.  Both bryophytes and lichens collections are especially rich in Appalachian and regional specimens from Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. The bryophyte collection includes specimens from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, all provinces and territories of Canada, 27 of the 31 states of Mexico, as well as 119 of the 195 UN-recognized countries, plus Antarctica.

The holdings of the herbarium also include fungi, algae, a small carpological collection, a collection of raw pharmaceuticals from the Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists, Inc., and a small xylarium of ca. 1000 specimens from Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Cincinnati area.

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