Herbarium ZSS

History of the herbarium ZSS

The Zurich Succulent Plant Collection was founded 1931, a few years after a local philanthropist gave the the personal collection of the cactus horticulturist Jakob Gasser to the city of Zürich. During the first 20 years of its existence, the Succulent Plant Collection was purely a display collection with greenhouses and heated frames open to the public.

Thanks to numerous good contacts to botanists and collectors, the Succulent Plant Collection over the years received voluminous and well-documented material for cultivation.

The herbarium of the Zurich Succulent Plant Collection was founded 1952, but a collection of seed samples of cacti was already started in the mid 1930ies.
The herbarium was founded by the then director of the collection, Hans Krainz, in close cooperation with the International Organisation for Succulent Plant Study (IOS), which was founded 1950 in Zürich. According to the main focus of the Sukkulenten-Sammlung on succulent plants, the herbarium was exclusively devoted to this group of plants from the beginning. In the first years of its existence, main emphasis was laid on the preparation of spirit specimens and voluminous dry specimens, but starting in the mid-1980ies, more and more conventional pressed specimens were made and incorporated. A large share of the specimens has been prepared from plants in the living collection, and this continues into the present days. In comparison with the total number of specimens, a significantly large part of them are types.