Important Collections in the Kriebel Herbarium
Famed botanists who contributed to the Kriebel include Charles C. Deam, the first State Forester of Indiana and author of the nationally renowned Flora of Indiana (Deam 1940). Of particular interest are a dozen specimens believed to have been collected by George Armstrong Custer, the 7th Cavalry general who made his famous last stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn (Shaner and Harby 2012).
The vascular plant specimens of the Kriebel Herbarium represent an opportunity to reconstruct the original flora of Indiana and the Midwestern and Great Lakes ragion of the United States in general, of which little remains largely due to agricultural development. For instance, Ralph Kriebel, who studied under Deam, was especially interested in ferns and oaks and as a result, there are important local collections available from areas where these plants can no longer be found. There is a specimen of leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) in PUL, collected by Deam in 1916 from a bog in DeKalb Co. which is now the only indication of the original natural ecology of this site, as the area has since been destroyed by peat mining.
Eli Lilly Collection
Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, Indianapolis, 1876 (Photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star)
Purdue University's Kriebel Herbarium recently accquired over 14,700 specimens from the Eli Lilly and Company Pharmaceuticals, located in Indianapolis. The company was founed in the 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly. A total of 398 type specimens of vascular plants from the Kriebel Herbarium were recently databased and imaged in 2012 as part of the Global Plants Initiative. The majority of these Isotype specimens are from the collection of Cyrus G. Pringle (1838–1911), an American botanist who is noted in the top five historical botanists for quantity of new species discovered, approximately 1,200 species and 29 genera.
The companion herbarium, the Arthur Herbarium, contains one of the world's largest collection of plant rust (Fungi: Pucciniales). Since J.C. Arthur wished that the holdings of the Arthur Herbarium to be restricted in perpetuity to the rust fungi, specimens of other fungi are kept in the Kriebel Herbarium. Amongst these are several very important collections known as "exsiccati" from around the world. Exsiccati are sets of dried specimens sent in exchange or for sale by experts, and represent very valuable reference material to the species concepts of these experts, and to species present in their geographic area.