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Herbarium Collections


The herbarium's total holdings number over 600,000 specimens of vascular and nonvascular plants, fungi, lichens, and marine algae. The herbarium maintains a regional focus on the Pacific Northwest, covering Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. Other significant collections come from California, the rest of Western North America, and the Pacific Rim.

Our oldest specimens date to the late 1800's. Particularly active periods of growth for the herbarium occurred with the incorporation of the herbarium of J. William Thompson in 1943, collections made under the direction of C. Leo Hitchcock in the 1930's - 1950's, and field work since 2002.

Search Herbarium Database

Holotype of Prunus ×pugetensis.
Holotype of Prunus ×pugetensis.
WTU Herbarium

Database Development

WTU began databasing in early 2002 through a joint agreement between the Washington Natural Heritage Program and the Bureau of Land Management to document the county-level distribution of all vascular plant taxa in Washington. 19,000 specimens were databased, representing one specimen per species per county. Shortly thereafter, our database was brought online through a separate grant from the Washington Native Plant Society, allowing electronic access to our collections data for the first time.

In 2004 the herbarium was awarded an NSF grant (#0346624) which provided funding to database all of our Pacific Northwest vascular plant specimens. Data entry under this grant began in early 2005 and was copmpleted in 2007, at which time about 170,000 specimen records were available online.

In 2009 we began databasing our Pacific Northwest bryophyte, lichen, and fungi collections. These are now available through the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria web site. Through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin's Lichen and Bryophyte network, we will soon image a portion of these collections and expand databasing to include those outside the Pacific Northwest.

Funding from the Mellon Foundation allowed us to capture high-resolution scans of our type specimens during 2010 and 2011. The images will become available on our web site and through JSTOR.

The herbarium uses FileMaker 8.0 for backend database management and MySQL/PHP for website hosting. Our FileMaker database was originally obtained from the UCR Herbarium at the University of California, Riverside. We have since extensively modified and then rebuilt their database to suit our needs. Those interested in learning more about our database, or who wish to obtain a blank copy for their own use, should contact Ben Legler (blegler@u.washington.edu)