Irving Biodiversity Collection
K. C. Irving Environmental Science Centre, Acadia University
32 University Avenue, Wolfville, Nova Scotia B4P 2R6

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History of the Herbarium

KCIC Garden AreaThe Acadia Herbarium began as an initial gift to Dr. H.G. Perry of a small collection made by G.U. Hay of St. John, New Brunswick. Included in this collection were a few plants collected by J. Fowler of New Brunswick before he went to Queen's University. These first specimens were collected between 1868 and 1880. Some of the plants were cultivated and some were from the United States.

Subsequently, in these early years, the additions were made chiefly through the work of Dr. H.G. Perry and his students. No records were available until the collection numbered some 6,000 sheets. Included in the 6,000, however, are a number of sheets from the Gray Herbarium Expeditions to Nova Scotia in 1920 and 1921.

Cataloguing Herbarium SpecimensOf the specimens above the 6000 count, the majority have been added by the work of Dr. M.V. Roscoe and her students from 1928-1940 and Dr. H. P. Banks and his students from 1940-?.

In 1946 a large collection was being assembled by Mr. David Erskine, who catalogued the flora of Wolfville and vicinity.

During Dr. E.C. Smith's tenure at Acadia, from 1947-1971, the number of specimens grew from 20,000 sheets to over 70,000. In 1970, Acadia University's Board of Governors announced that the department's excellent collection of plants would be named the E.C. Smith Herbarium as tribute to him for his contributions to the collection.

Now, the E.C. Smith Herbarium contains over 200,000 specimens, including vascular plants, bryophytes, and fungi. It is the largest herbarium in Atlantic Canada and the first Canadian herbarium to have digital database with scanned images of the collection.