Sutton’s Vasculum

Vasculum, ‘little vessel’, a small case made of tin that botanists took out to the field for carrying freshly collected specimens. This one in the RBGE herbarium is cylinder-shaped, with a long lid opening on one side. It holds 36 different types of grasses tied with name-tags showing habitats and soil types, and 60 glass bottles containing examples of seeds. A sales kit for the seeds supplier.

Crested Dog’s-tail
for all best pastures, sheep pastures, lawns and pleasure grounds

Wood Meadow-grass
for pastures, lawns or parks overshadowed by trees

Rough Cock’s-foot
for moist places under trees, valuable for 3 or 4 year’s ley

a mischievous weed in corn crops

inferior grass, usurping place of better sorts

Marsh Foxtail
Alopecurus geniculatus… USELESS

‘I shouldered my tin vasculum, and went ashore.’ 1887 J Ball, Naturalist in South America, 128.

photograph: Sutton’s Vasculum circa 1900, RBGE Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Farmer Erlend Wood, Berridale Farm, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, August