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Digital Herbaria

An herbarium is useful only to the extent that it is cared for and made available to researchers. Under the best circumstances, specimens have lasted hundreds of years. This care is invariably provided by a paid scientist at some museum, university or other institution. Lacking that, it is a diamond in the rough, a treasure that lies in wait for recognition.

Many small regional herbaria across the country are without curators and are little used. Combined, these collections could provide several decades of information about plants found in different regions of the country: the distribution of natives, the changes in their growing environments, their ability to survive in drastically changing landscapes among non-native invaders, and more. We hope that making small regional herbaria available electronically will spur new interest in these collections, resulting in their rehabilitation and housing within institutions committed to their care and use. Please contact the Native Plant Information Network Director, if you know of such a collection.

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Harry T. Cliffe Bexar Regional Herbarium - The Bexar Regional Herbarium was created by the San Antonio Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas in the 1990s. In support of the 1986 Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration, the chapter compiled “A Plant List for Bexar County, Texas,” from existing literature, combining lists and updating botanical names, which garnered a certificate of recognition from the governor of Texas. In the process, participants discussed verifying the presence of the listed plants by finding and identifying what actually existed in the Bexar and contiguous counties. Knowledgeable botanists advised the group to physically collect, press, identify, mount, and label specimens. During the period Sep 1990-July 2000, 1,137 specimens, representing over 800 species, were collected. For a decade, the herbarium was cared for primarily by Harry Cliffe, who led the project and is credited with its scientific quality. The San Antonio River Authority has contributed many hours to provide the high quality specimen images available here, as well as a grant to prepare the images for hosting by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Special thanks to Wildflower Center volunteers Jimmy Mills, Barbara Medford and Terry Lieberknecht for their work editing and transferring label data into the herbarium database. The herbarium itself is now housed in the Biology Department at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

Wildflower Center Herbarium - The Wildflower Center's Herbarium serves as a repository of voucher specimens for the gardens and grounds of the Wildflower Center, a teaching collection representing the local flora.

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