Vascular Plant Herbarium

The Humboldt State University Vascular Plant Herbarium (HSC) consists of 105,000 specimens, with an emphasis on the flora of northwestern California.  The Collection offers excellent opportunities to study the rich diversity of our native flora, as well as, non-native and invasive species. 

The Herbarium is a collection of mounted plant specimens, each with a label providing: species identification, collection site specifics, habitat type, and ecological details.  We are an important repository for botanical data that encompasses species distribution, morphological variation, and phenology (flowering and fruiting time).  The Herbarium functions as a plant library and database that documents species diversity across the landscape.

The Herbarium is a venue where students participate in hands-on learning and professional development in plant collecting and identification, curatorial protocols, and taxonomic research.  The Herbarium serves students and faculty, community members, and professional botanists.  HSC also participates in loan and exchange programs with other herbaria throughout the country.

Students are important contributors in helping us enhance, curate, and maintain our Collection!

The Herbarium offers several options for further study in botany by providing a venue where students participate in hands-on learning and professional development in plant collecting and identification, curatorial protocols, and taxonomic research.  Students can volunteer or enroll in a Directed Study project (BIO499, 1 unit).       

As a volunteer, students assist with mounting and repairing specimens, various curatorial tasks, and project goals for our National Science Foundation grant.  Currently, the Herbarium is working on a Digitization Project that involves specimen photography, image processing, and database management.  You can read more about our project here: http://capturingcaliforniasflowers.org.  

For Directed Study projects, students can make their own specimen collection to contribute to the Herbarium, or they may choose to be an Herbarium Intern.  Student Collection Projects are independent and self-designed, where one can focus on either a specific location or specific taxa.  Interns learn the basic protocols involved with accessioning, organizing, and maintaining herbarium specimens.  

At the Herbarium, students hone valuable career skills in field botany and collection curation, as well as, gain confidence in working with colleagues in a professional setting.  It is a wonderful place to work beside, study with, and network amongst peers, instructors, and professional botanists!

 For more information, contact the Collections Manager, Robin Bencie: mrb1@humboldt.edu

Staff

Oscar Vargas

Herbarium Director and Curator, Professor of Botany
ov20@humboldt.edu | website

Research: Plant phylogenetics and speciation; diversification in the Californian Floristic Province and the Neotropics; phylogenomics, biogeography, morphological and anatomical evolution


Robin Bencie

Collections Manager and Assistant Curator, Lecturer
mrb1@humboldt.edu

Interests: grasses, flora of northwestern California


Kjirsten A. Wayman

Professor of Chemistry, Research Associate
Kjirsten.Wayman@humboldt.edu

Research: Chemistry of floral fragrances in Trillium, the use of secondary compounds to study hybridization, flora of the western Trinity Alps, distribution of white fir (Abies concolor) and grand fir (Abies grandis) in the Klamath region.