Antonius Münchenberg's
Herbarium vivum

Botanical History
Department of Phanerogamic Botany
Swedish Museum of Natural History (S)

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Title page

The oldest dated collection of plants at the Swedish Museum of Natural History is that of Antonius Christophori Münchenberg, a set of native and cultivated plants mainly collected in Gotland 1701 and 1702. Most plants, about 300 species, were collected in Central Gotland, where Münchenberg served as a private teacher in a vicarage, but a large number were also collected in the Academic garden in Uppsala, probably in 1699, when Münchenberg studied under Olof Rudbeck fil. The collection is an example of a pre-Linnean herbal, a Herbarium vivum of which very few have been preserved to the present day. Münchenberg's herbarium was donated to the Swedish Museum of Natural History in 1857, by S. O. Lindberg.

The collection consists of small plant parts mounted in a small volume together with extensive notes in Latin, Swedish and German. It has the titel Arborum, fruticum et herbarum flores et folia in insula Gothlandia collecta annis 1701 1702 ab A. Münchenberg. The herbarium is interesting as it gives a unique insight in the flora, both wild and cultivated, in Gotland 40 years before Linnaeus made his famous journey to the baltic islands Öland and Gotland. The plants in Münchenberg's Herbarium vivum are still identifiable, as shown by the two sample pages from the collection which are shown below.

Sample page
The first sample page includes the following plants, from top left to bottom right: Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Wild Basil (Satureja vulgaris), Rye Brome (Bromus secalinus), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Knotted Pearlwort (Sagina nodosa), and Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).

Sample page
The second page shows a mint (Mentha), Smooth Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Dewberry (Rubus caesius), Garden Pea (Pisum sativum), Hop (Humulus lupulus), and Forking Larkspur (Consolida regalis).

Petterson, B. 1948. Antonius Münchenbergs herbarium vivum. Botaniska Notiser 48: 223-269.

Latest updated: 22 September 1998
Comments about this page: Arne Anderberg
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