The herbarium of the Tropical Research Center (CITRO) of the University of Veracruz, is a collection of specimens of plants collected in the field, pressed, dried and duly identified, which support the scientific activities of their researchers and students related to floristic, ecological and ethnobotanical research work, and that give coherence to the work of dissemination of the collection of the herbarium on the website Conociendo las plantas de mi localidad (Knowing the plants of my locality).
In 2008, thanks to the financial support of the State of Veracruz Commission for the Commemoration of the National Independence and the Mexican Revolution obtained by Dr. Arturo Gómez-Pompa, the project «The Endemic and Remarkable Flora of Veracruz» was initiated in CITRO, which gave guidelines for the publication of the book «Atlas of the Flora of Veracruz, a natural heritage in danger» among other scientific publications, as well as for the creation of the website of scientific dissemination “Conociendo las plantas de mi localidad” and above all to the foundation in 2010 of the CITRO herbarium in its old facilities within the Ex-Hacienda Lucas Martín in Xalapa, Veracruz, which subsequently and towards the end of 2017, was moved to the current location of the Tropical Research Center.
The facilities of the herbarium are separated into three sections:
Drying area, here we find the material for field explorations (presses, cartons, newspaper, etc.), as well as the dryer and a work table.
Common workspace, here the revision of specimens, use of microscopes and freezer for sterilization of copies is allowed. The capture of information about the specimens in the herbarium database is also carried out on this area.
Collection storage area, where only herbarized and sterilized specimens, incorporated in the database and containing a label with complete information of the specimen, are preserved.
The herbarium has limited space, so it has a small and representative collection with a small number of specimens mounted on cards, which serve as support for various projects, educational materials and support in identifying species. Currently, the collection houses examples of vascular plants in general, collected in the framework of the project «Endemic and Remarkable Flora of Veracruz». In addition, it has a high number of pteridophytes and epiphytic plants (Araceae, Bromeliaceae, Orchidaceae, Peperomia, among others). On the other hand, it stores specimens of thesis works related to botanical activities, carried out by postgraduate students.
Most of the specimens are periodically distributed as CITRO donations to other national or international herbaria (BR, CIB, CIIDIR, GENT, IBUG, MEXU, MO, SEL, UAMIZ, UC, XAL and XALU), where they serve as reference specimens to support scientific publications derived from research projects, or to ensure their preservation, public dissemination or achieve taxonomic identification by specialists. However, all the taxonomic field information of all specimens is stored in the CITRO herbarium database.
In the herbarium database there are registered 4,773 specimens with collection numbers, made by a total of 91 people, 20 of them being main collectors and the other associated collectors. These specimens have been obtained from 678 collection sites, mainly from the state of Veracruz.
The permanent collection of CITRO herbarium has 1,537 specimens; in addition, more than 9,060 specimens have been distributed to different herbaria, either as single specimens or, in most cases, as duplicates of collected specimens.
Among the collections made by researchers and students of CITRO, several type specimens stand out, which form the basis of the descriptions of new species for science. For example, during the botanical explorations of the Project «Endemic and Remarkable Flora of Veracruz», the following species were discovered: Agave gomezpompae Cházaro & Jimeno-Sevilla, Monstera florescanoana Croat, T. Krömer & Acebey.
In addition, the taxonomic revision of the Peperomia genre within the framework of a master’s thesis (Vergara-Rodríguez, 2013) carried out in CITRO’s postgraduate program revealed these new species: Peperomia chazaroi G. Mathieu & T. Krömer, Peperomia zongolicanaJimeno-Sevilla & Vergara-Rodríguez.
Several new records of ferns and orchids for the state of Veracruz have also been made in the herbarium.