Following the successful completion of the Clayton Herbarium database funding was sought for the digitisation of two more collections, Hans Sloane's Jamaican specimens and those of Paul Hermann from Ceylon. The Heritage Lottery Fund generously donated the necessary funds to allow the digitisation of the specimens for both these projects. Both collections consist of dried specimens mounted into large bound volumes. The Sloane collection comprises seven volumes and the Ceylon collection five, one of which contains illustrations only. The provision of digital images and a database not only makes information on these important collections much more widely accessible via the Internet but will also considerably reduce the handling of these historical volumes.
Using a large format camera with a digital scanner attachment, the images were fed directly into a computer using Photophase. The volumes are large (approx. 40cm x 50cm) and vary in the number of specimens each contains, but there are frequently several to a single page. Their different shapes and thickness have caused the pages to be uneven and rippled.
This meant that when photographing the specimens a longer exposure time needed to be used to give a greater depth of field. In some cases, the pages were so uneven that the longer exposure time could not always compensate for this, which has resulted in some areas being slightly out of focus. The images were processed using Photoshop 5.0. In cases where the specimens or drawings were larger than the actual page, and had been folded over, several images were taken and then amalgamated. All other specimens and illustrations were taken in their entirety and with no image adjustment although in a few cases the contrast was changed to enhance an otherwise faded specimen. Barcodes were placed on the pages whilst being photographed and later added to a separate list. The images were then processed in order to create thumbnails and full screen images for the web pages with a resolution of 72 dpi. All images were saved as JPEG files. The original, higher resolution images have been archived to CD as TIFF files for future use. The internet pages were produced using Dreamweaver 3.
The database and herbarium can be browsed page by page, or alternatively specific search criteria may be entered.
Where a Flora Zeylanica number is indicated, but no specimen image is provided, this means that the name was cited by Linnaeus in his Flora Zeylanica but that no specimen has been traced in the Hermann herbarium at BM. Similarly, some specimens are not annotated with a Flora Zeylanica number and cannot therefore be correlated with that work. Generally speaking these cannot be correlated with a Linnaean name either although many do carry determinations and these have therefore been indicated where relevant.
While many of the specimens carry one or more determinations, others do not. These determinations are for guidance only and no attempt has been made to verify them. Some are anonymous, often lacking an authority for the name, and these are presented here in the form in which they appear in the herbarium, even where the (apparently) correct authority appears with a second determination. Occasionally, this can result in different authorities being given for the same name. Again, all determinations and associated information have been entered exactly as they appear.
Trimen's determinations have been entered as they appear in his account of the collection (Trimen, 1887), but the authorities he gives do not distinguish between new species and new combinations (as was common at that time). Where his names clearly have a Linnaean basionym, the authority has been modified to indicate this. Trimen generally gives a determination to a specific Flora Zeylanica number, without distinguishing between the sometimes numerous specimens and illustrations associated with it. Consequently, such determinations are recorded for all such specimens and illustrations in the collection unless expressly stated otherwise by Trimen.
The names given by Linnaeus in his Flora Zeylanica are either polynomial diagnoses, or sometimes putative generic names, and have no formal nomenclatural standing as they were published prior to the Starting Point (i.e.1753) for the nomenclature of the plant groups represented here. Consequently the Flora Zeylanica names are here correlated with those valid Linnaean binomials under which they subsequently appeared as synonyms. Not all names appearing in Flora Zeylanica were later accounted for by Linnaeus. Where relevant, additional comments are provided on some of these.
Where bibliographically-correlated Linnaean binomials are indicated, a current binomial, with its family placement, is also provided. However, these current names apply to usage of the Linnaean binomial and may not necessarily reflect the correct identity of the specimen or illustration, as Linnaeus often had very broad species concepts However, where a Hermann specimen is the designated lectotype for its associated Linnaean binomial, the current name will necessarily reflect the specimen's identity.
Information on current usage of Linnaean names and the status of Hermann specimens as types of Linnaean names has been provided by the Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project which will be happy to answer any enquiries, and provide further information. In some cases determinavit slips indicate the type status of a particular specimen. In all cases, however, the database should be consulted for verification of this. Additionally where an author designating a type makes no distinction between specimens bearing the same Flora Zeylanica number mounted on the same page, these have been treated as a single gathering, i.e. in the same way as a herbarium sheet with more than one specimen mounted upon it. In some cases, the new Art. 9.15 (concerning two-stage typification) may apply but as not all names have yet been scrutinised for compliance with this, some discrepancies may exist. However, it should be noted that label type designations have no standing unless validly and effectively published (Art. 7.10).
Various fields in the database may be searched, and a search upon the Flora Zeylanica number will extract records for all specimens bearing that number. On the Results page, the volume and page information is presented in a combined standard format with the volume number first, followed by a colon and then the page number within the volume.
There are two other smaller collections of Sri Lankan material collected by Hermann in existence, one in the Rijksherbarium, Leiden, and the other at the University of Erfurt in Germany. Detailed catalogues have been published, and correlated with the Flora Zeylanica account, for both of these collections (by van Ooststroom, 1937 and Rauschert, 1970 respectively). Where such collections appear to represent duplicates of the specimens held at BM, this is indicated with the relevant volume and page for the Leiden sheets, and with the relevant page for those at Erfurt.