AVF Proj. ID: 133
Year Funded: 2001
Category: Rootstocks - Breeding
Investigators: Ellen Dean, Andrew Walker

Curation of the UC Davis Viticulture Herbarium, Saving and Invaluable Teaching and Research Resource

Funding was requested to curate the UC Davis Viticulture Herbarium, which consists of two main collections. The first collection is the original viticulture herbarium, ca. 1000 specimens dating from 1885 to the 1920s (pre-prohibition era), which document an impressive number of the wine grape cultivars grown in California at that time (collected from both vineyards and agricultural stations). The second collection is that of Harold P. Olmo and his assistant Albert Koyama; their specimens were collected between the 1930s and the 1960s and document the grape cultivars that they collected from a number of countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South, Central, and North America (including California).

Herbarium specimens consist of a dried and pressed plant sample mounted on paper and a label, which includes information on the name of the plant, the location and date of collection, and the collector’s name. At the time this project was funded, the folders (and associated labels) of the original viticulture herbarium were crumbling, and we were in danger of losing the label information stating the cultivar name and location and date of collection. In addition, the collections of Olmo and Koyama had never been labeled or mounted on paper, and we were in danger of losing their collection information, due to the advanced ages of their collectors.

The project was carried out at the UC Davis Herbarium between October 2000 and March 2001. Kate Borland proved to be an excellent person to carry out the project. In curating the Olmo and Koyama collection, she communicated effectively with Olmo and Koyama, deciphered their collection notebooks, checked species and cultivar names in the appropriate literature resources, typed collection data for nearly 2,000 specimens into our Access label-generating database, generated the labels on archival-quality paper, and placed the new labels with the correct specimens. The Olmo and Koyama specimens still require mounting onto archival paper. For the original viticulture herbarium, Kate cut the original labels off their crumbling folders, xeroxed them onto archival-quality paper, and placed the new labels with the specimens. Undergraduate students then glued the new labels onto archival folders and placed the pressed specimen into the folders, securing them with linen tape. We did not glue these specimens, so that they can be used easily be future researches for both morphological and molecular studies.

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