Sebastian Vidal, a Spanish botanist, came to the Philippines as Inspector General in the Forestry Bureau in 1871. He was later appointed as Chief of the Commission for the Forest Flora of the Philippines in 1876. He recognized the need for a Philippine botanical library and herbarium and the necessity to compare the collection materials with extant types in various European herbaria. He collected about 25,000 specimens across the country and published more than 150 descriptions of plants. Although the herbarium in Manila was destroyed by fire in 1897, duplicate specimens of his Philippine flora collections are preserved in Europe to this day, notable Kew and at the Real Jardin Botanico in Madrid. At least 1,241 specimens of the collections he made between 1854 and 1889 were brought back to Manila and currently stored at the Philippine National Herbarium (PNH). The oldest herbarium specimen was Hypoestes cinerea C.B. Clarke collected on February 1879 in Morong, Rizal.
The Philippine National Herbarium currently has 1,249 type specimens. Type specimens are herbarium specimens or illustrations designated in the original publication where the description of a new plant species was based. Some of the type specimens in our collections include Begonia titoevangelistae, Mycetia dagohoyana, and Mycetia suedixieana. Read more about these interesting novel species: