Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium (ILLS)


The Robert A. Evers Laboratory - photo by Paul B. Marcum, 2012.

Mailing Address:          
The University of Illinois
Prairie Research Institute
Illinois Natural History Survey
1816 South Oak Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
 Building Address:
Robert A. Evers Laboratory
1909 South Oak Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Herbarium Director:                
Andrew Miller
Collections Manager:
Jamie Minnaert-Grote
Phone: 217-244-7332
Fax: 217-244-0729
Access to the collection is available to qualified researchers and is normally available from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Friday and may be arranged by contacting the Collections Manager, Jamie Minnaert-Grote or the Director, Dr. Andrew Miller. 
Specimen Loans:                 
Specimen loans are available to qualified researchers.  Loans are generally made for a period of one year, except in the case of type specimens, which are made for six months. Loans are renewable upon request. Details of the collection policy may be seen here. The loan guidelines and destructive sampling policy form may be found here.



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History: The vascular plant collections at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (ILLS) originated shortly after the Survey moved into the Natural Resources Building on the University of Illinois Campus. Prior to that time the Survey had operated out of the basement of the Natural History Building on the University of Illinois Campus and made use of the University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium (ILL) located in that building. Upon moving to the Natural Resources Building, located about a mile south of the Natural History Building, it soon became obvious that the Survey needed ready access to its own vascular plant collections. The survey hired Robert A. Evers in 1947 to collect vascular plants and build up that much needed resource. Robert A. Evers was a field botanist for the Survey from 1947 to 1976 (nearly 30 years) and collected an amazing 114,266 specimens, nearly 4,000 specimens per year. In all, Evers collections account for about 44% of the plant collection.

Collections and Holdings: There are three plant herbaria housed at the Evers Laboratory: Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium (ILLS), the University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium (ILL), and the University of Illinois Crop Evolution Laboratory Herbarium (CEL). Together, these collections contain over 1,000,000 specimens making this the second largest herbarium in Illinois and one of the 15th largest in the United States.

In total there are approximately 259,000 plant specimens in ILLS, all of which have been databased. It is possible to search the ILLS vascular plant database at the county-level via this link: INHS Vascular Plant Collections. Approximately 80% of the ILLS specimens were collected in Illinois, including a significant number of Illinois Threatened and Endangered species, forming one of the most comprehensive records of Illinois vascular plants. ILLS also holds a sizable amount of specimens collected in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park (GSMNP) as well as Kyrgyzstan and China. The earliest plant specimen, donated by the University of Wisconsin, is Aquilegia canadensis L. collected in Decatur Illinois by Foster Waltz on May 17 1843. Important collections in the ILLS herbarium include G.H. Boewe, J.C. Carter, J.L. Crane, R.A. Evers, S.R. Hill, H.S. Pepoon, C. Robertson, L.R. Tehone, and L.M. Umbach. 

Within the ILL herbarium, approximately one-third of the specimens are early Illinois collections;one-third from other states, largely from the west; and the last third of the specimens from outside the United States.  ILL is noteworthy for its collections of Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Mimosaceae, and Viscaceae.  It also has numerous types of Piperaceae, Quercus, and Phoradendron. Their total types are approximately 4,000 and include many holotypes. The types have been scanned and their label data captured. The images may be seen at the following website: JSTOR Global Plants. The CEL herbarium specialty is the Poaceae, particularly Andropogoneae and genera of cereals, and cultivated Fabaceae. This important crop plant collection contains many artificial hybrids of our cultivated plants and collections of their wild ancestors.

Finally, ILLS and ILL combined have algae and bryophyte collections of 5600+ and 32,000+ specimens, respectively. Within the bryophyte collections are 286 specimens collected by Thomas Drummond. These specimens were gathered during the Second Land Arctic Expedition Under the Command of Captain Franklin. The 286 specimens were published in 1828 and are likely the oldest specimens held by ILL. Also included in these holdings are about 2600+ algae exsiccati and 700 bryophyte exsiccati, with the most notable algae exsiccati being a complete set in good condition of the Phycotheca Boreali – Americana, donated by Mrs. Mary S. Snyder in 1914. This collection includes about 90% of all the marine algae found on the coasts of the United States.