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.