herbaria and database systems michael g simpson n.
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Herbaria and Database Systems Michael G. Simpson. What is an herbarium?. A place where preserved plant collections are kept, usually pressed and dried plant specimens attached to a sheet of paper = herbarium specimen. Function or purpose of herbaria?. Maintain plant specimens

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what is an herbarium
What is an herbarium?

A place where preserved plant collections are kept,

usually pressed and dried plant specimens attached to a sheet of paper

= herbarium specimen

function or purpose of herbaria
Function or purpose of herbaria?

Maintain plant specimens

Act as centers of plant systematics research

reference book for herbaria
Reference book for herbaria?

Index Herbariorum

Homlgren, P. K., N. H. Holmgren, and L. C. Barnett, eds. 1990. Index herbariorum, part I: The herbaria of the world, 8th ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden.

http://www.nybg.org/bsci/ih/ih.html (continuously updated)

index herbariorum
Index Herbariorum

Herbarium Year Founded Acronym Specimens

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris France 1635 P,PC 9,500,000

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York, U.S.A. 1891 NY 7,000,000

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, U.K. 1841 K 7,000,000

Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques, Genève, Switzerland 1824 G 6,000,000

Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia 1823 LE 5,770,000

Missouri botanical Garden, Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. 1859 MO 5,400,000

The Natural Hisotry Museum, London, England, U.K. 1753 BM 5,200,000

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. 1864 GH 5,005,000


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien, Austria 1807 W 5,000,000

Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden 1739 S 4,400,000

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 1848 US, USNC 4,368,000

Institute de Botanique, Montpellier, France 1845 MPU 4,000,000

Université de Lyon, Villeurbane, France 1924 LY 4,000,000

Universitatis Florentinae, Museo botanico, Firenze, Italy 1842 FI 3,650,000

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, Germany 1895 JE 3,000,000

herbarium curator
Herbarium Curator?

Person responsible for running the herbarium.

  • Maintaining collection.
  • Processing new collections to the herbarium.
  • Distributing loans.
  • Resource for plant identification.
accession number
Accession number?

Permanent number associated with each specimen.

Usually written with herbarium acronym:

SD 121596

SDSU 13655

UC 218486

storing and handling specimens
Storing and handling specimens?

Herbarium cabinet /compactor, with sealed door.

Genus folders stored,may be color-coded: alphabetical or by classification system.

Handle carefully, gen. don’t turn upside-down.

annotation label
Annotation Label?
  • Verifies or changes identity of specimen.

2) Documents removal of plant material

Different types of data?

removing plant material
Removing plant material?
  • Get Permission
  • May reconstitute in boiling water or detergent solution.
  • Flowers, pollen, ovules, tissues, DNA.
herbarium loan
Herbarium Loan?

Insect control?

data information system
Data Information System?

Inputting, organization, and accessing of information.

Data may answer questions in plant taxonomy.

data information systems fields
Data Information Systems: Fields






Habitat Description

Date of Collection

Collector: First Name

Collector: Last Name

Associate Collectors


Accession Number

Accession Source

Supplemental Information

Taxonomic Number





Species Author

Infraspecific Rank

Infraspecific Name

Infraspecific Author

Collection Number

Determination Date

Certainty of identification



types of data
Types of data?


Plant featuresFlower color, phenology, plant habit, size, etc.

Geography (specific latitude/longitude)Maps

HabitatSubstrate type, topography

Community associates


floras versus monographs
Floras versus Monographs?

Flora - treatment documenting all plants of a given region,e.g., Flora of Palomar Mountain State Park

Monograph - treatment documenting all taxa of a given taxonomic groupe.g., Monograph of the genus Tephrosia