Palaeobotanics - Herbarium and Collection of Seeds
The Museum houses a 50,000-sheet herbarium ("Schrader-Herbar") and a 30,000-item seed collection (Mai Collection) to enable the scientific comparison of fossil with recent floras (actuopalaeontology)
The recent collections for comparative studies consist of a classic herbarium (acronym BHUPM), a seed collection and a small number (around 50) of alcohol preparations.
What became known as the "Schrader Herbar“ was compiled by the Royal Prussian Chief Librarian Dr. Johann Eduard Julius Schrader between 1830 and 1881. Plants come from all over the world, with a focus on Holarctic and Neotropic plants. They have been put into systematic order and are in the process of being transferred onto acid-free paper in a modern standard format. At the same time, they are receiving new labels.
The seed collection is based on parts of collections of the former Preußisch-geologisches Landesamt (Prussian Geological Office) and is associated with the names of F. Kirchheimer and R. Kräusel. However, a consistent and comprehensive collection was compiled only in the late 1950s by H.D. Mai. The collection now consists of nearly 30,000 items, making it one of the largest in Europe. While the European part of the collection is practically complete, other parts, especially the Asian section, are in need of further additions.
What makes this collection special in scientific terms is its comprehensiveness and its close organisational links to the collection of fossil seeds - in particular of the Tertiary - which contains 15,000 items. A complete card index of the collections exists.