Jurassica Museum


As unique records of the flora of past centuries, herbarium collections are invaluable resources for research in botany, ecology and natural history. For example, these days herbaria are used by research scientists to illustrate and understand variations in biodiversity and the impact of climate change on these variations.

JURASSICA has a large collection of herbaria representing the biodiversity of Switzerland’s flora and, more specifically, that of the Jura. We are currently working with three herbaria in particular, assembled locally in the 19th century by renowned botanists, including Jean-Amédée Watt (1775–1834), Jules Thurmann (1804–1855) and François Joseph Bonanomi (1823–1892). We do not yet have a full inventory of these plant specimens; our use of these herbaria is still in its very early stages and more analysis and conservation work is required.

In a project begun in the spring of 2023 thanks to funding from the Swiss Academy of Sciences, we are restoring a selection of plates, revising the taxonomy, and drawing up a full inventory of the plant specimens in these three herbaria. We are digitising samples at high resolution and hope to publish online the resulting databases of more than 9,000 new specimens.

Our aim is to ensure that these invaluable herbaria are preserved both physically and digitally and that they can be viewed and accessed by both the scientific community and the general public in future. A small number of digitised plates from herbaria illustrating flora from the Jura are on display in the entrance hall of the Botanical garden’s greenhouses.

Herbaria Digitising equipment

Herbaria Deciphering handwriting

Herbaria Digitised herbarium plate

Herbaria Digitised herbarium plate

Herbaria Digitised herbarium plate

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