National Herbarium of Ukraine (KW)


Head: N.M. Shiyan


The National Herbarium of Ukraine occupies a prominent position among world’s herbaria according to its representation of the flora and mycobiota of the Globe, its richness, scientific and historic value of its collections. According to Index Herbariorum (1990), the KW Herbarium is listed among the 40 largest herbaria of the world, holdings of which contain 1 million or more specimens (herbarium units). Collections of the KW herbarium document the taxonomic treasures of the plant and fungal kingdoms of all phytogeographic regions of Ukraine. Collections from the territory of the former USSR and many floristic regions of the world are also well represented. Especially valuable are memorial collections of M.S. Turchaninov (N. Turczaninow), W.G. von Besser, I.F. Schmalhausen, O.S. Rogovich (A. Rogowicz), V.M. Chernyaev (V. Czernjaev), J.E. Gilibert, M.V. Klokov and other prominent botanists. Each of these collections combines both historic and scientific values and importance.

The KW herbarium holds numerous type specimens of species described from Ukraine and other regions of the globe. These taxa were described by famous botanists associated with Ukraine. Exsiccates of herbarium specimens of vascular plants were published and distributed by the herbarium (1935, 1961, 1993). Distribution of exsiccates of lichens of Ukraine started recently; three issues were released in 1993, 1994, and 1995. Holdings of the herbarium are characterized by high-quality standards of taxonomic treatment and identification, the collections are constantly under attention of monographers of some families and genera, the taxonomists of the Institute of Botany, Ukraine, and other states. We should mention the names of such famous plant taxonomists as O.V. Fomin, E.I. Bordzilovsky, D.K. Zerov, M.V. Klokov, M.I. Kotov, A.M. Oxner, O.D. Visyulina, S.F. Morochkovsky, M.Y. Zerova, A.I. Barbarych, Y.M.  Kondratyuk, D.M. Dobrochaeva (Dobroczaeva), V.G. Hrzhanovsky (Chrzhanovsky), H.F. Bachuryna, Y.M. Prokudin, O.M. Dubovik, V.V. Protopopova, S.P. Wasser, N.V. Kondratyeva, N.P. Masyuk (Massjuk), V.P. Heluta (Geljuta) (Ukraine), M.M. Iljin (Il’in), M.O. Minyaev, N.N. Tsvelev (Tzvelev), R.V. Kamelin, A.K. Skvortsov (Russia), E. Gabrielyan (Armenia), A.L. Kharadze, M. Ivanishvili (Georgia), Y. Sujko-Lazza (Hungary), A. Cronquist (USA), M. Brooker (Australia) and others, who in their “Notae criticae” (identification labels) expressed their understanding of many taxa.

The invaluable treasures of the herbarium’s collections were created by efforts of several generations of botanists, who, starting from the 18th century, organized numerous expeditions in Ukraine and various regions of Europe, Asia and other continents, performed their tireless exploration of nature, and maintained the constant exchange of specimens with their colleagues. Their knowledge of ecological, zonal and regional peculiarities of the investigated territories, their taxonomic experience, creative scientific ideas and erudition are reflected in the herbarium specimens, critical notes, and label records.

We should acknowledge the role of K.M. Sytnik, Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in the process of development of the KW Herbarium. His 30-years activity as Director of the Institute of Botany is associated with his permanent attention to and care of the KW Herbarium.

A great contribution to the scientific status and technical equipment of the herbarium was made by S.P. Wasser, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

During its 80 years of functioning, the herbarium acted as a scientifically reliable documentary base for compiling such fundamental works as the Flora of the Ukrainian SSR, Manual of Higher Plants of Ukraine, Vascular Plants of Ukraine: A Nomenclatural Checklist, Flora of Hepatics and Mosses of Ukraine, Flora of Mosses of Ukraine, Flora of Lichens of Ukraine, Manual of Freshwater Algae of the Ukrainian SSR, Flora of Fungi of Ukraine, and Fungi of Ukraine. A preliminary Checklist, which contributed to the glory of the Institute of Botany. Specimens of the herbarium were also used in preparing the Flora of the USSR, Flora of East Europe (formerly Flora of the European Part of the USSR), Flora Polska, Flora Europaea, and many other fundamental works on vascular plants, cryptogamic plants, and fungi of various territories.

The KW Herbarium acts as a consultation and coordination center for activities of Ukraine’s herbaria; it is also a leading center for the maintenance and preservation of collections of plants and fungi in Europe.

In 1999 the KW Herbarium officially received the status of a National Heritage collection. The present-day KW Herbarium is a complex that includes the herbarium of vascular plants (1 million and 700 thousand specimens; curator – N.M. Drapaylo), bryological (34,000 specimens; curator – V.M. Virchenko), lichenological (47,000 specimens; curator – S.Y. Kondratyuk), and mycological (62,000 specimens; curator – I.O. Dudka) collections, the collection of algal samples (27,500 samples; curator – P.M. Tsarenko), and the palynotheca (5,000 pollen samples; curator – V.D. Savitsky).

Each department of the KW Herbarium maintains its everyday work, the basic aim of which is to guarantee the high functioning level of scientific collections, their improvement, replenishment and preservation.

In the herbarium of vascular plants, the inventory of the collection of the world flora has been completed. A revision, systematization, and maintenance of the former USSR flora specimens are being continued. In lichenological and bryological herbaria, modernization of mounting of specimens is being continued, and separation of duplicate specimens is underway. A database of fungal specimens of the KW Herbarium is continued at the mycological herbarium.

In all departments of the Institute’s Herbarium, special attention is paid to replenishment of collections, since the total number of herbarium specimens is the main parameter of assessing herbariums collections at the global level. For the last ten years, the herbarium added more than 100 thousand specimens.

Catalogization of collections, preparation of centuria (exsiccates), and typification of taxa described from the territory of Ukraine is performed at KW.



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