27 Oct 2017

What is the oldest specimen in the E.L. Reed Hebarium? This humble looking specimen of Stevia salificolia was collected in 1885 in Chiuhuaha, Mexico by Cyrus Pringle. The herbarium at the University of Vermont is named after Pringle, who is known for his cross-bred potatoes (though apparently not related to the potato chip brand of the same name0. According to the UVM website, this specimen would have been from Pringle’s first trip to Mexico.

Stevia is the plant from which the sweetner of the same name is extracted, though usually from a different species Stevia rebaudiana. It is reported that the leaves of Stevia are sweet as sugar, but it is not advisable to taste this herbarium specimen, which likely was treated with Mercuric chloride.

My helpful screenshot