Today (April 10) the Arnold Arboretum launched the online component of its SHIP (Seed Herbarium Image Project) initiative, which utilizes high-resolution digital photography to document the morphology of seeds and associated fruit structures. The culmination of more than two years of planning and preparation, the project is a unique digital resource for scientists, horticulturists, and educators, particularly in propagation research and management of rare and endangered species.

This inaugural image launch includes seed images of three of the six genera comprising the arboretum’s North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC), namely Acer (maple), Syringa (lilac), and Stewartia. Images of the arboretum’s other NAPCC genera — Tsuga (hemlock), Carya (hickory), and Fagus (beech) — will soon follow. SHIP is managed by the propagation staff at the arboretum’s Dana Greenhouse, and made possible through grants from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, Cabot Family Charitable Trust, and J. Frank Schmidt Family Charitable Foundation. To access the arboretum’s herbarium page, which includes the Seed Herbarium description, searchable database, and associated images, visithttp://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/plants/herbarium.html.

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