The Arboretum herbarium houses more than 186,000 dried plant specimens and 17,000 lichens, many from Illinois and Missouri. The herbarium’s strongest collections are its (1) active and nearly comprehensive contemporary collection of the flora of the 24-county Chicago region and (2) broad collection of woody plants of the northern Temperate zone, both cultivated and spontaneous. Our Chicago region collections are available online through vPlants, and through funding from IMLS we have developed an online portal for all of our collections. Other important collections include:

  • More than 20,000 specimens collected by Erwin Evert from the area of Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding mountains in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
  • Most of Gerould Wilhelm’s collection of plants from the western panhandle of Florida and southern Alabama counties
  • A portion of E. J. Palmer’s collection from the early 1900’s
  • The vouchers of Vauquelinia, which William Hess monographed, and the genera Nolina and southwestern Yucca that Hess studied for the Flora of North America
  • The vouchers of the plants collected in the United States for the National Cancer Institute’s anti-AIDS and cancer testing program
  • Approximately 1,500 genotyped oak specimens from our current research in Quercus biodiversity

Herbarium opportunities

The herbarium depends on our more than 30 active volunteers, who collect plants, mount specimens, file and accession, make labels, enter data, image specimens, develop databases and aid in nomenclatural research, and assist in many other tasks. The herbarium is a lively and enjoyable place to work. If you are interested in volunteering with us, you can contact Andrew Hipp, Plant Systematist and Herbarium Director, Marlene Hahn, Research and Herbarium Assistant, or Lindsey Worcester, Research and Herbarium Assistant, to discuss possibilities.