An Introduction to Herbaria and Herbarium Practices

An herbarium is the home for botanical research specimens within the natural history collections community. Herbaria traditionally house specimens, and related items, from across all areas of “botany,” both living and fossilized. In today’s view of life, this includes plants, fungi, brown algae, red algae, and some bacteria and amoeba. The biological diversity across the tree of life in any given herbarium may be exceptionally high, and complicated to manage.

This webinar will provide an overview on herbarium collections. This includes covering the broad range of taxonomic organisms that may be housed in a traditional herbarium and what some of the storage options are for their many forms. Some basic schemes of organization and what a taxonomic revision means for collections will be discussed. We will briefly touch upon assessing material for incoming accessions and basic permitting guidelines. A list of some of the critical resources for understanding and maintaining these collections will be provided and gone over, and digitization will be touched on briefly. Lastly, we will talk about collections risk related to pest infestations and suggestions on integrated pest management strategies.


genevieve_tocciGenevieve E. Tocci is a Senior Curatorial Technician at the Harvard University Herbaria. Over the past 15+ years she has received hands-on training in all aspects of working with vascular and non-vascular herbaria collections, and specializes in plant mounting, cryptogamic collections, special collections, and integrated pest management. Genevieve received a certificate in Museum Studies and has nearly completed her ALM from the Harvard University Extension School. She is an active member of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and has participated in many meetings of the working group for When not working with collections already in the herbarium she likes to spend time collecting and identifying bryophytes and slime molds.

The image in the slide is from Henry David Thoreau’s Herbarium #92, Harvard University Herbaria (HUH) Flickr site.

Recorded: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Duration: 1 Hour 25 minutes


Introduction to Herbaria and Herbarium Practices PowerPoint Slides

An Introduction to Herbaria and Herbarium Practices Handout