May 11, 2010

Wisconsin InfoLink: The Herbarium

Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources compiled by Ron Larson. Each week on the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to one of these gems.

I’m going to start things off on a softer, calmer side of Wisconsin. Let’s save the hard-hitting topics relating to the economy, politics and crime for later.

The environment seems appropriate, since we just celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in April. Plus, this season we have experienced a very early spring with plants and trees way ahead of schedule.

Today I’d like to take you to one of the greenest library collections in the state, the Wisconsin State Herbarium, located on the UW-Madison campus. As stated on its website, the Herbarium, founded in 1849, is a museum collection of plants of state, national and international importance. It contains the world’s largest collection of Wisconsin plants, about one-third of the Herbarium’s 1 million specimens.

Featured link: Wisconsin InfoLink – Environment > Wisconsin State Herbarium

Once at the Herbarium’s website, you will find all sorts of neat and interesting data, facts and photos relating to Wisconsin flora. In fact, my favorite part of the Herbarium website is the link named “Wisflora.” After clicking on that, I recommend starting with “What’s Blooming.”

Here you can choose the month to see all of the variety of plants and wildflowers that will be blooming. Each plant selection will provide a wealth of information. It’s a great site for you plant lovers — but also for those of us who want to identify a plant or flower we just saw on a walk or bike ride.