SHIP (Seed Herbarium Image Project) Initiative

Betula specimen

The Arnold Arboretum recently launched the Seed Herbarium Image Project (SHIP) initiative. The culmination of more than two years of planning and preparation, the initial installment upload of digital images to the Arnold Arboretum's website marks the arrival of a significant new resource for horticulturists around the world. This inaugural image launch includes seed images (captured by Julie McIntosh Shapiro) of three of the six genera comprising the Arboretum's NAPCC (North American Plant Collections Consortium) collections, 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). Dana Greenhouse staff will continue adding a number of other taxa to the seed herbarium database, including interesting seed comparison images.

Betula specimen

The unveiling of the online component of the SHIP initiative is credited to the collaboration of many individuals, including photographer Julie McIntosh Shapiro, Tom Ward, Kyle Port, Kathryn Richardson, Jack Alexander, Irina Kadis, Bob Famiglietti, Michael Dosmann, Sheila Connor, Beth Bayley, Donna Tremonte, Andrew Hubble, Andrew LeBlanc, interns Eric Youngerman and Reni Driskill, volunteers Penny Caponigro and George Hibben, and the guidance and support of deputy director Richard Schulhof. This extraordinary and groundbreaking work will have global reach to support scientists, horticulturists, and educators in their efforts at seed identification.

SHIP is also made possible through the generous support of the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, Cabot Family Charitable Trust, and J. Frank Schmidt Family Charitable Foundation. Kerry Walter of BG-BASE (UK) Ltd., Michael O'Neal of BG-BASE, Inc., and Dr. Martin Pullan of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh participated through the use of their collections information management tool, BG-BASE™.