A herbarium is a research collection of pressed, dried, and labeled plant specimens arranged by a classification scheme. Herbarium specimens are references for plant identification and document plant locations, habitat, abundance, and flowering/fruiting periods. The herbarium as a "library" of plant specimens are loaned and traded ("exchanged") with other herbaria worldwide.
The University of Georgia Herbarium [GA], founded in the 1920s, is one of the largest herbaria in the southeastern United States with over 267,000 sheets of vascular plants from around the world. Emphasis is on plants from the Southeast, particularly those from Georgia. The GA Herbarium is a facility within the Plant Biology Dept.
Uses of the collection
The operations of the herbarium are local, national, and international in scope. Graduate and undergraduate students with interests ranging from the agricultural sciences to zoology use herbarium material to identify plants and determine plant locations. Tours are conducted for numerous school groups, clubs, and other organizations. In addition, students volunteer or enroll in internships and independent studies to work directly with herbarium staff. The herbarium staff provides plant identification and information requests from private individuals through state extension and other governmental agencies. Researchers at UGA and neighboring institutions also extensively utilize the collection. Besides loans to and from qualified institutions, the GA Herbarium is host to visiting scientists who visit to examine specimens and consult with the staff.
Collection development and maintenance
Dr. Wendy Zomlefer, Curator, and Steven Hughes, Collection Manager, are responsible for the collection. Graduate and undergraduate students assist with some curatorial duties as independent study, internship, or volunteer projects. The collection is stored in metal storage units in an electronic compactorized system. Digitization and imaging of specimens is currently underway.
The collection grows steadily through local field work and donated material. Students at UGA, especially those involved with floristic work, deposit their voucher sets for their projects at the Herbarium. In addition, the Herbarium participates in an exchange program with other herbaria worldwide to obtain several thousand specimens per year.
The Herbarium website is currently being rebuilt. For more information, please contact: