The specimen was collected from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during Darwin’s famous voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle from 1831–1836.
The ‘Type’ specimen of Amphiroa exilis, a species of red algae, was discovered as part of an ongoing curation of the Foreign Collection.
A ‘Type’ specimen means that this is the first of its species to ever be formally collected and recorded.
This finding puts the National Herbarium of Victoria in a small and prestigious league of overseas herbaria who hold collections made by Darwin on this voyage.
“Discovering a specimen hand-collected by such a celebrated natural scientist is an honour and a privilege” says Professor Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
“As our scientists curate the 1.5 million specimens held in the collection, they are continually unearthing secrets and stories that are just waiting to be told.”