Cabinet of Natural History Collections
Among the botanical collections there are 14 herbariums, some of which are of considerable value and interest.
From a scientific point of view, the herbarium that Marquise Maria Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona Paulucci (1835-1919) made over 15 years (from 1884 to 1898) stands out: she was an important figure in the panorama of naturalistic studies in Italy in the 19th century. Donated in 1902, the herbarium includes over 4200 exsiccata supplied with collection data and belonging to 1492 species. Among the plants, herbalized by the Marquise herself, there are many linked to alpine resorts, where she used to stay during summer holidays. Most of the material comes, however, from Tuscany and above all from its estates, including the villa of Torre degli Agli near Novoli, in Florence, in which numerous specimens were collected which today represent a testimony on the floristic composition of a place now completely urbanized. The study and computerized cataloguing of this herbarium, carried out between 1997 and 1998, were the subject of a publication carried out on the occasion of the IV Congress of the Italian Society of Malacology held in Florence in 1998.
The three herbaria of Count Girolamo de ‘Bardi (1777-1829) are of great importance. One was created at the end of the 17th century at the behest of the Urbino doctor Crescentino Ubaldi: it is made up of large volumes bound in leather containing over 800 samples classified according to the system of the French botanist Pitton de Tournefort.
Two other herbaria belonged to Baron Joseph Antoir (1781-1847), made up of thousands of exsiccata, including a group of exotic plants, in particular Brazilian ones, the result of the collections made by the Florentine naturalist Giuseppe Raddi in 1817 in Orinoco and Amazonia.
Other collections have been donated by illustrious figures of nineteenth-century Florence, such as prof. Adolfo Targioni Tozzetti, the Marquis Carlo Ginori and prof. Pietro Marchi. Some of them testify to the great importance given, in the institute, to the applicative value of plants; examples are the pharmaceutical technological herbarium, the small ampelographic herbarium, containing 12 varieties of Vitis vinifera and the small tobacco herbarium, consisting of 21 samples belonging to the Nicotiana genus.
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