The George Safford Torrey Herbarium (CONN)

Aquatic angiosperm systematics

The plant collection has been indispensable for systematic studies of aquatic flowering plants conducted by Dr. Les and his students. The preserved materials serve as a critical source of taxonomic information, species distributions, species imperilment and invasive species data. Preserved specimens also are used extensively as teaching materials. While examining a portion of the collection in a study of Hydrocharitaceae, Dr. Les discovered a specimen that turned out to be a Connecticut record for Hydrilla verticillata, a seriously invasive aquatic plant previously unknown from all of New England. A field survey directed by information provided by the specimen verified that an invasive population of Hydrilla indeed had established in Connecticut, a discovery that prompted extensive control efforts. Additional discoveries of other invasive aquatic species (e.g. Egeria densa, Myriophyllum aquaticum) have been made during similar routine research activities. Dr. Les and his students deposit aquatic plant specimens as vouchers for their taxonomic and molecular studies. Many aquatic plant specimens from North America, Europe and Australia have been added to the collection as a result of their research activities.

Collections Manager: Dr. Robert S. Capers
Director: Dr. Don Les