Herbarium Generale

In historical context, the scientific botanical material of the present Hungarian Natural History Museum was based upon the invaluable herbarium of Pál Kitaibel. The establishment and subsequent increase of the herbarium was conducted by József Sadler and, especially, by Lajos Haynald. The Sadler Herbarium, containing approximately 32,000 sheets, was purchased by the Museum in 1839. Lajos Haynald, cardinal and archbishop of Kalocsa, was the most significant sponsor of the Hungarian botany. Via extensive purchases and herbarium exchanges Haynald possessed one of the largest private herbaria in Europe. By receiving his outstanding botanical legacy in 1892, the collection of the Botanical Department of the Museum (founded in 1870) became one of the greatest and most valuable herbaria in Europe. Through the Haynald Herbarium, the museum also received many specimens of outstanding botanists, such as the Austrian Theodor Kotschy and Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, as well as the Italian Luis Sodiro.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the flowering plant collection was divided into two parts. Specimens collected in the Carpathian Basin joined the collection Herbarium Carpato-Pannonicum, and the remaining ones form the Herbarium Generale that contains more than 700,000 specimens from all over the world. As only a small part of this collection has been revised by experts, the majority of the potential type material is, as yet, unrevealed.

Staff
Senior curator: Lajos Somlyay
Curator: István Rácz (Collection of Gymnosperms)
Preparators: Ackermann Jánosné, Judit Esztergályos

Remarkable collections
Apart from the collections of the botanists mentioned above, the most valuable materials preserved in the Herbarium Generale are the specimens gathered by Lajos Biró in New Guinea, by Ernő Csiki in Russia and Asia, by László Hollós in the Caucasus, by Emanuel Weiss in eastern Asia. We also retain a particularly rich Balkan collection, mainly from Imre Frivaldszky, János Frivaldszky, Viktor Janka, József Andrasovszky, Árpád Degen, Sándor Jávorka, Béla Kümmerle, Antal Pénzes and József Ujhelyi. The most recent contributions are the materials gathered by Tamás Pócs in Vietnam and Africa, specimens collected by Attila Borhidi in Cuba, Béla Jankó’s material from Mongolia, the outstanding dendrological collection of Zsolt Debreczy and István Rácz (from all parts of the northern hemisphere), and the Albanian herbarium of Zoltán Barina and his colleagues.
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Availability
A minor part of Herbarium Generale is preserved in the building of the Botanical Department (Blvd. Könyves Kálmán), the majority of them is housed in the basement of the building “Ludoviceum” stored in special cabinets.

No database of the specimens of Herbarium Generale is available at the moment. The material can only be investigated at our location, with supervision and help of the flowering plant researchers of the Botanical Department.
To discuss your request, please contact our curator: somlyay@bot.nhmus.hu.