The great significance of the zoological research of Giacomo Doria has sometimes overshadowed the fact that he focussed on plants even before animals; as a matter of fact, his brothers’ tutor, Ferdinando Rosellini, drew him to the realm of botany when he was still a boy. He set up his herbarium but in 1860, when his zoological interest took over, he gave his plants away, leaving the Museum without a botanical collection at its foundation in 1867.
Doria resumed collecting plants only in 1892, forming the “Herbarium Camillae Doriae” dedicated to his daughter Camilla, which he increased until his death, gathering upwards of 20,000 specimens.
Nearly fifty years passed before herbaria made their official appearance in the Museum. Francesco Baglietto, a friend of Doria’s, inaugurated the series of donations. His herbarium, consisting of some 20,000 specimens, came to Museum in 1913. That same year, Giacomo Doria passed away and the Museum inherited his herbarium.
In 1935, the Museum inherited from the “Pedagogical Museum” (dissolved in 1934) a series of important herbaria (though not conserved in an optimal manner). Among these, the Durazzo and Brignole herbaria are of great interest. The former, implanted by Marchioness Clelia, daughter of Giacomo Filippo III Durazzo, is the oldest in the Museum; the latter, with 3,500 Italian and foreign specimens, also includes various types.
Over the years, other herbaria of famed botanists were acquired, including that of Camillo Sbarbaro (poet, writer and botanist), which comprises 2,000 specimens of lichens donated in 1963 and 1964.
Since 1980, the Mycological Herbarium (which gathers fungi) started developing, gradually increased thanks to the donations of Francesco Orsino, Mido Traverso, Mirca Zotti and others, as well as the activity of Fabrizio Boccardo.
Overall, the botanical collections include about 60,000 specimens.