Located in the heart of a research center, CIRAD (Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development), the ALF herbarium is a relatively recent collection but of particular interest. Indeed, it covers very specific botanical (Agrostology, Malherbology...) and geographical fields. It is still today a resource for research and is continuously enriched with new specimens collected worldwide by scientists.

The Cirad Herbarium is registered under the name ALF in the Herbariorum Index. It comprises various collections made by researchers at the IEMVT (Institute of Livestock and Veterinary Medicine of Tropical Countries) and subsequently by other CIRAD teams. It contains nearly 70 000 specimens, including 60 types, representing nearly 5 500 species.

Botanical collections carried out in Africa in the 1950s by agropastoralists formed the original basis of the IEMVT Herbarium then based at Maisons-Alfort. This general herbarium was relocated from the Paris region to Montpellier in 1995, where it is currently kept on the CIRAD site at Baillarguet (Montferrier).

The general herbarium comprises nearly 50 000 specimens. This collection is quite specific to the African dry tropical zone from Mauritania to the Red Sea. Although representative, in particular, of the steppes and savannas of the Sudanian and Sahelian domains, it also includes herbaceous and woody plants from the Guinean domain. The basis of the collection has been realized from work and research carried out on the large breeding and transhumance areas of Africa by the agropastoralists of IEMVT and then EMVT. In addition to these harvests there is Hubert Gillet's Herbarium, donated in 1989 and carried out as part of his thesis in Chad between 1954 and 1964. Finally, Pierre Poilecot's Zimbabwe Herbarium has enriched the collection of specimens from southern Africa. Nearly 50 countries are thus represented in the collection, which was built up by the work of more than 300 collectors, both from the North and the South.

Since 1995, the ALF Herbarium has been home to the Amatrop collection of Malherbology, created by Thomas Le Bourgeois and Pascal Marnotte, who continue to enrich it through their research work. The CIRAD Amatrop herbarium is a collection specifically dedicated to weeds in tropical crops. This collection was initiated in the 1970s by the Research Institute for Cotton and Exotic Textiles (IRCT). This herbarium currently comprises nearly 7000 parts covering 2650 species from different regions of the tropical world, mainly West and Central Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Caribbean. This collection also includes 25000 photos, a seed bank of more than 1000 samples, and 212 botanical plates drawn.

The ALF herbarium is regularly enriched by new specimens. Samples, collected during recent missions, make it possible to extend the geographical regions covered by the herbarium and to increase the number of species in the collection.


Samantha Bazan