In the first herbarium established after the proclamation of the Republic of Türkiye, situated in the capital Ankara, approximately 250,000 species of dried plant samples are being meticulously preserved through pressing and storing.
The “ANK Herbarium” was founded in 1933 by the German botanist Kurt Krause and his assistant Hikmet Birand within the Faculty of Agriculture of Ankara University.
The unit, with a rich history encompassing 90 years, stands out as a guide for botanical researchers and students with a vast number of collected plant specimens.
Tuğrul Körüklü, the lecturer in charge of Ankara University Herbarium, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Türkiye is among the geographies with the wealthiest plant diversity in the world.
Körüklü emphasized that this plant diversity sheds light on a significant treasure, mentioning that there are 60 herbariums throughout Türkiye, and the largest herbarium in terms of collection size and diversity is the one located at Ankara University.
Explaining that the plants are dried without losing their characteristics and that they are preserved by the pressing method after they are fixed on cardboard, Körüklü said, “There are around 250,000 plant specimens belonging to approximately 10,000 species here.”
“Some 4,000 plants out of this number are endemic. The plants’ specimens that are systematically classified here, are stored in 556 steel cabinets,” he added.
The oldest specimen preserved in the herbarium is believed to be approximately 200 years old.
Recorded plants must be identified, said Körüklü, explaining that the dried sample containing its label carries information such as which plant family it belongs to, where, by whom and when it was collected.
“Looking at the current records, the oldest specimen in the herbarium was collected by a German pharmacist in Istanbul in 1844,” he said.
Noting that some plant specimens are currently extinct although they are in the herbarium, Körüklü pointed out that like this, it is possible to see how urbanization and global climate change can affect people.
Körüklü concluded by saying that a newly discovered plant species entered the literature after they are proven by an academic article, underlining Türkiye’s abundance in this regard.