Jun. 21, 2017
Lake Huron tansy, Tanacetum bipinnatum
The first postage stamp was issued in 1840. The first one in the United States was in 1847. By the 1860s, there were thousands of stamp collectors. Before then, collecting plant specimens was very popular. But plant specimens need very careful treatment. Humidity needs to be controlled. Moth balls or some other form of predator control is a constant concern. Handling the brittle specimens is unwise. Now, most people who find and create plant specimens turn them over to institutional herbaria. Mine go to the University of Michigan. Thomas Nuttall collected the first specimen of Lake Huron tansy at the Straits of Mackinac in 1810. Collections made by plant explorers in that time often wound up in private plant collections. The arrival of postage stamps and the growth of large institutional herbaria are roughly concurrent. The University of Michigan's dates to 1847, Harvard to 1864. Collections of stamps are a lot easier to manage than plants. This tansy grows in AK, ME(SC), MI(T), WI(E), AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK(V), and YT. Emmet Co MI, 7/13/11.