Claude Bernard University - Lyon 1

The Herbaria of the Claude Bernard Univsersity Lyon1 (LY) houses about 4.4 million dried specimens of significant scientific and heritage value, that have been collected all over the world by eminent specialists, since the second half of the 18th century.

The richness of the LY Herbaria comes from their exceptional state of preservation, their botanist collectors who were often travelers of the 19th or 20th century, and also the way they showcase the diversity of flowering plants, ferns, fungi, moss, and algae worldwide. In addition to their heritage value, they are living tools for scientific research, as inexhaustible reservoirs of data (morphological, molecular, taxonomical, historical…), and conservatories of the vegetal biodiversity.

There are 4 large herbaria composed by collectors who have permanently left their mark in the history of botany :

  • The Prince Roland Bonaparte Herbarium (1858-1924):

It contains 3 million specimens collected by Napoleon the 1st ‘s grand-nephew, explorer, geographer, and renown scientist acknowledged by the Académie des Sciences, and a botany enthusiast. He travelled the countryside by himself, but also commissioned naturalists’ travelers and ecclesiastics on mission, and bought private herbaria. The uniqueness of this herbarium lies in the fact that the boxes are positioned vertically like the books of a library.

  • The Abbé Michel Gandoger Herbarium (1850-1926):

It contains 800,000 specimens collected by the Abbé, son of Beaujolais winemakers, and passionate about botany from a young age. He was an especially great descriptor of the Mediterranean flora, to which he dedicated a large number of his travels and publications.

  • The Alexis Jordan Herbarium (1814-1897):

It contains 400,000 specimens gathered by this great Lyon botanist. He was renowned for his experimental garden of 1 ha located in Villeurbanne, in which, he cultivated several tens of thousands of plants to experimentally test his concept of micro-species or "jordanons". His Herbarium was deposited at LY in 2007, by the Catholic Faculty of Lyon.

  • The Georges Rouy Herbarium (1851-1924) includes in the Bonaparte Herbarium:

This collection of 500,000 specimens, was composed by a journalist who founded the plant trading counter, and held important positions in many learned or institutional societies. His herbarium is recognized by his peers as one of the richest in terms of hybrid forms and European flora. He is the author, either by himself or in collaboration with other botanists, of a flora of France in 14 volumes.

We also find numerous and rather rich “small Herbaria” like the Abbé Cariot Collection, the Hariot de Terre de Feu Collection, the parasitized plants of the Hénon Herbarium, the diatoms of Prudent, the mosses of the Touton Herbarium etc.

Moreover, thanks to the close connections between the mycology’s school of Lyon and the herbaria, numerous collections of superior fungi are also kept in LY, such as the precious Boidin Collection of 19,000 exsiccata.

Furthermore, the LY Herbaria also stand out by their unique educational collection: plant models, mural sheets, turnstiles, and campus botanical tour.

Mélanie Thiébaut :

Lectotype of Biscutella mauritanica Jord., Jordan Collection, "Moissons à Batna, M. Joinnon 1858".
© Herbiers de l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

Articulated plant model of a fruit of Atropa belladona L. (Solanaceae)
© Herbiers de l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

Piece of Pelargonium sp., géranium from South Africa, abbaye de Citeaux 1864, Brouiller Herbarium
© Herbiers de l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1