The Herbarium at EKU
The EKU Herbarium consists of about 75,000 specimens arranged systematically by major groups (ferns, gymnosperms, angiosperms/dicots, angiosperms/monocots), and alphabetical by family, genus, and species within these major groups. Each specimen is mounted on standard herbarium paper with glue, with an attached label that includes the following standard data: state, county, scientific name, habitat, location (lat. and long. now preferred), collector and collecting number, and date. To obtain each specimen the following steps had to be taken: sample obtained from the field, transported to the herbarium and kept fresh in moist bags/newspapers, carefully arranged in dry newspapers in a plant press, then placed in a drier and dried for 3 days, then removed from the drier and deep-frozen (-40C) for 3 days, then identified (if not done so earlier) so that a label can be typed, the specimen and label then glued to the paper, the prepared specimen then filed into its proper place in the collection. Dollar values for herbarium collections range up to $10 per specimen (for travel, work time, and materials).
The EKU Herbarium provides many functions for teaching, research, and service aspects of our department and university, including but not limited to : documentation of county vouchers for floristic work in Kentucky; maintain records of rare and endangered species and of specimens from critical or lost habitats; exchange specimens with other institutions; deposit of vouchers for various scientific or consulting studies; maintain special historical collections from particular areas or by particular collectors, provide loans for taxonomic and distributional researchers across U.S.; providing plant material for researchers conducting DNA studies; provide label data for researchers conducting GIS studies; provide storage of specimens used in teaching, providing a reference set of specimens for correct determinations requested by citizens (farmers, foresters, consultants,etc.); provide specimens for short courses to public groups such as the Kentucky Native Plant Society; preservation of type specimens; and facilitatation of exchange of scientific information through databases.