Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Plant Collection

The Illinois Natural History Survey Plant Collection contains more than 250,000 specimens from four distinct groups of organisms: fungi, algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants. The primary emphasis is on the plants of Illinois; for example, 90% of of the vascular plants are from the state. Also included are specimens from all 50 U.S. states and 34 foreign countries. The vascular plants are the largest segment of the collection with more than 194,000 dried, labeled, and mounted plants. The fungus collection is the second largest segment with more than 54,000 dried, labeled fungi in packets. About 3,500 specimens are added annually to the plant collection, which is fully computerized to allow rapid information retrieval.

INHS botanist Rick Phillippe in the Survey Herbarium.

While the earliest Illinois collection at the Survey herbarium is a collection of Galium aparine (bedstraw) made by Foster Waltz from Macon County in 1873, the collection has had two major periods of development. During the 1940s-1960s the initially small collection was greatly expanded through the efforts of staff botanist R.A. Evers, who systematically sampled the flora throughout Illinois, adding about 100,000 specimens to the collection. The second major period of development began about a decade ago and continues today with the renovation of the facilities and expansion of staff who pursue botanical surveys both inside and outside of Illinois. Staff are focusing increasingly on the inventory and evaluation of state and private nature preserves and other high-quality natural areas and plant communities, including Site M, Savanna Army Depot, Chauncey Marsh, Momence Wetlands, Long Branch Sand Prairie, Vermilion River Observatory, and Stephen A. Forbes State Park, as well as numerous projects throughout the state associated with road projects by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Also of particular interest are the discovery and monitoring of federal and state threatened and endangered plant species, and recording and monitoring of the spread of exotic and weedy species.

Loy R. Phillippe, Kenneth R. Robertson, and Steven R. Hill, Center for Biodiversity

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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