AUB 's Post Herbarium is the only herbarium in Lebanon, and it is listed in The Herbaria of the World, 8th edition. There are no known herbaria in Syria or Jordan, although there are other herbaria elsewhere in the Middle East (in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran).
The Herbarium contains more than 20,000 plant specimens belonging to 177 families and 955 genera of the flowering plants and ferns of Lebanon and adjacent regions. Each of the plant species described in the Flora of Syria, Palestine and Sinai, by Dr. George Post, is represented. The Flora was published in English by the American University of Beirut in 1883 and again in 1896. In 1932, a two-volume edition, revised and enlarged by John E. Dinsmore of the American Colony, Jerusalem, was published by the AUB Press. This handbook remains the standard reference work for the flora of Lebanon.
All the herbarium holdings collected from Lebanon & and the Middle East are entered in a data base and only type specimens are scanned and stored on CD-ROM. All the species names have been updated using Med Check list.
The Post Herbarium is very rich in type specimens. We were able to locate 220 of Post’s types. All type specimens are identified and placed in red folders, within which is included a photocopy of its published description (Musselman & Sinno- Saoud 2004 , Sinno- Saoud & Jury 2009).
In 1866, shortly after the establishment of the Syrian Protestant College, now the American University of Beirut, Reverend Dr. George E. Post began collecting plants from the Eastern Mediterranean region. This allowed him to write his book “Flora of Syria, Palestine and Sinai” which was published by the College between 1883 and 1896. In this work and its revision by John Edward Dinsmore of the American Colony, Jerusalem, published by A.U.B. in 1932-33, the classification of plants in the Flora follows that of Boissier’s Flora Orientalis. During the 1960s, Mrs. Winnie Edgecombe organized the whole herbarium, cabinets and contents, strictly following the text of the Flora. Dr. C. Abou Chaar joined the Biology Department in 1975 and took care of the Post Herbarium until his retirement in 1985, after which the herbarium was properly mantained by different faculty members.
In 2001, through the support of the Kew-AUB Darwin Project, a major recuration of the Post Herbarium was being undertaken by Dr Nada Sinno-Saoud, the curator of the Post Herbarium. The plants in the Post Herbarium have been traditionally arranged and numbered as they appear in the text of the Flora. The curator proposed that species within each genus be segregated geographically according to present day national boundaries of countries formerly included in the large area covered by the flora in the latter part of the19th century. This segregation would be more meaningful to present day researchers when one thinks that Sinai (now Egypt), Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and southwest Turkey, are all broadly included in the title of the Flora. The species vouchers under each genus were segregated in to the following geographical: 1.Lebanon, 2.Rest of the Middle East, 3.Europe, 4.Africa, 5. Rest of the world ( Talhouk & el 2002)
- Sinno- Saoud, N & S. Jury, 2009. Type specimens of G.E. Post in Beirut and Natural History Museum. . Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 2009, 159.
- Musselman.L.J. & N. Sinno-Saoud. 2004. Types of George Post in the Post Herbarium (BEI) of the American University of Beirut and the Botanical Garden of Geneva (G).Turk. J. Bot. 28: 155-160.
- Musselman.L.J.& N. Sinno -Saoud. 2002. George Post and the Post Herbarium at the American University of Beirut. VI. Plant Life Southwest Asia Symposium.
- Talhouk, S.N, N. Sinno- Saoud & Jury, S.L. 2002. Work on the Post Herbarium at the American University of Beirut- Bocconea 14:000-000.