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The Louis-Marie Herbarium

The Louis-Marie Herbarium is a collection of high-quality vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, adapted to the current needs of researchers in the fields of systematics, biogeography, ecology, genetics and molecular biology.

The Herbarium prioritizes specimens from alpine, subarctic and boreal regions in Canada and the northern hemisphere. The herbarium houses approximately of 790,000 plant specimens, mainly from Quebec and Canada.

Via HERCUL, Laval University Online Herbarium Catalogue, the collection is now more accessible to students and researchers.


Preservation of plant collections

The main objective of the Louis-Marie Herbarium is to preserve the plant collection acquired over the years, even centuries, and which reflects our plant heritage.

Expertise in plant identification

The Herbarium has a mission to provide an expertise in plant identification. In this respect, the Herbarium is an essential teaching and research tool for better understanding the world which surrounds us. It provides a service to students and professors at Université Laval, as well as to the general public, in aiding to identify and verify plant specimens.

Biodiversity as a research objective

The Louis-Marie Herbarium has also taken on biodiversity as a research objective and is currently conducting several projects in this domain. The Herbarium shares data of digitized specimens through different biodiversity websites (see links).

It is largely thanks to herbaria and other natural sciences collections that we are now able to assess Earth's most threatened biodiversity spots.


Early days

En 1962, l'Université a créé la Faculté d'agriculture qui acquiert, de l'Institut agricole d'Oka, un herbier de plus de 75000 spécimens. L'Herbier de l'Université prend alors le nom de Louis-Marie, en l'honneur du père Louis-Marie Lalonde. En 1963, l'Université fusionne les herbiers de la Faculté des sciences et de la Faculté de foresterie et de géodésie à l'Herbier Louis-Marie.

The beginnings of the Louis-Marie Herbarium goes back to the founding of Université Laval in 1852. At that time, the academics were aware of the need for a herbarium for both teaching and research.

Abbot Edward John Horan was the first to collect specimens. However, it is abbot Ovide Brunet (botany professor since 1858) who, around 1862, consolidated the herbarium and creating Université Laval's Museum of botany. At this time, the collection consisted of specimens from the Canadian territory but of plants from Europe. Collections made by Michel Joseph Ahern, Dominique Napoleon Saint-Cyr, Joseph Schmitt (Anticosti Island) and abbot Léon Provancher were then added.

Abbot Provancher published the first "Canadian Flora" in 1862 with the aid of the specimens included in the museum's collection. The original collection remained within the walls of the original university at the “Petit séminaire” in old Québec, up until the beginning of the 1980s.

Meanwhile, on the new University campus in Sainte-Foy, the Science Faculty and the Forestry and Geodesy were creating their own herbariums from specimens collected by their professors.

In 1962, the newly established the Faculty of Agriculture acquired a herbarium containing more than 75000 specimens from the Oka Agricultural Institute. The herbarium was given the name of Louis-Marie in honor of Father Louis-Marie Lalonde. In 1963, the University consolidated the herbaria of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Forestry and Geodesy into the Louis-Marie Herbarium.

photo Ovide Brunet


Father Louis-Marie, a trappist monk from the Oka monastery, became in charge of the Botany Laboratory of the Oka Agriculture Institute in 1923. At the time, the number of specimens in the collection left by his predecessors was only around a thousand. Father Louis-Marie conducted several collecting expeditions, mostly in southern Québec. One of his early trips, in 1925, was made in the company of Fathers Marie-Victorin and Rolland-Germain at the Mingan Islands and Anticosti Island.

For over 40 years (1923-1962) Father Louis-Marie contributed to the expansion of the Herbarium. During his time the Herbarium contained around 75000 specimens. His scientific career was very active. He presented more than 50 research papers at the Annual Congress of the French-Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science (congrès annuels de l'Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences; ACFAS). His scientific writings were no less important and include “Le genre Trisetum en Amérique” (The genus Trisetum in America) (1928), “Flore-manuel de la province de Québec” (Flora Guide for the Province of Québec) (3 editions, 1930, 1951, 1959), “Le botaniste amateur en campagne” (The Amateur Field Botanist) (3 editions 1920, 1939, 1953), “Hérédité-Manuel de génétique” (Heridity - Manual of genetics) (2 editions, 1936, 1940), “Problèmes de biologie végétale” (Problems in Plant Biology) (1941), as well as several monographs published in diverse scientific journals including Rhodora.


photo Père Louis-Marie



The Louis-Marie Herbarium is a result of the fusion of two agricultural schools, those of the University of Montréal (Oka campus) and Université Laval (Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière campus, now called La Pocatière) in the early 1960s.

Lionel Cinq-Mars was the curator of the Herbarium at the Université Laval campus in Québec. Lionel Cinq-Mars, a talented botanist, had a deep knowledge of the vascular flora of southern Québec. He particularly liked the violets (Viola) and serviceberries (Amelanchier). He was so renowned for this specialization that requests for the identification or verification of plants came from all over. It was this reputatuion that allowed him to build the considerable collection of specimens that aided him in the research of his two favorite genera. In addition, it gave the Herbarium a collection of weeds that were useful for teaching.

In 1971, the Herbarium, under his direction acquired a collection of northern species from Arthème Dutilly (12000 specimens), thus setting the stage for the northern focus of the Louis-Marie Herbarium.

At a time when the Louis-Marie Herbarium was still rapidly expanding and very active, Lionel Cinq-Mars, died tragically on August 6, 1973. His 12 years of work at the Herbarium gave it the momentum required to make it one of the most respected Herbaria in Canada. At his death the collection included almost 150000 specimens.

photo Lionel Cinq-Mars



From 1973 to 2003, Robert Gauthier occupied the position of curator at the Louis-Marie Herbarium. A specialist in both the genus Sphagnum and peatland ecology, Robert Gauthier contributed many specimens to the bryophyte collection. In addition, his collaborations with French bryologists favoured specimen exchange from across the Atlantic.

The Herbarium grew with multiple collecting expeditions, with the acquisition of several important collections including those of the Musée de l'Amérique française (QPH), of the Abott Ernest Lepage (RIM), the Minisère de l'environnement (QUE), of Miroslav M. Grandtner (QEF) and of Gilles Lemieux (QFF), and with specimen exchanges with other herbaria throughout the world. The Herbarium, which contained 150000 species in 1973, grew to more than 467000 in 2003, when Robert Gauthier retired.

In addition, at the beginning of his mandate, Robert Gauthier instituted a registry to issue each specimen in the collection with a specific voucher number. He also encouraged collaborative ventures with diverse organizations including the Centre d'études nordiques and the ministère du Développement durable de l'Environnement et des Parcs. In this manner the Herbarium was enriched with many arctic and subarctic species.

photo Robert Gauthier



Since 2004, Serge Payette is the curator of the Louis-Marie Herbarium. Under his direction the Herbarium has focused on digitizing the collection and acquiring northern species from across the entire northern hemisphere.

Serge Payette is a professor of plant ecology at the department of biology at Univeristé Laval, . d'écologie végétale au département de biologie de l'Université Laval, he is chairholder at the Northern research chair on disturbance ecology (NSERC) and regular member at the Centre d'études nordiques. He is considered a leader in plant ecology, in historic ecology and in disturbance ecology. He is also the instigator of the publishing project Flore nordique.


photo Serge Payette



From Panama, Juan Carlos VILLARREAL AGUILAR completed his graduate training in the United States (Illinois and Connecticut) and postdoctoral research in Munich (Germany) and Edinburgh (Scotland). His research focuses on systematics, phylogeny, genomics and symbiotic interactions between plants (especially bryophytes) and microorganisms in tropical environments. Since his appointment in 2015, his research also addresses the boreal ecosystem, especially bryophytes and lichens.

In September 2018, he became co-curator of the Louis-Marie herbarium, then sole curator in 2022. He leads a multicultural and multidisciplinary research team that examines the biology of symbioses and the functional genomics of plants, lichens and their microorganisms.


photo Juan Carlos Villarreal A.