Utah Valley University Herbarium
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History

Photo of Yellow Flower
Erythronium grandiflorum
Dogtooth-violet
Photographer: Renée Van Buren

The Utah Valley University Herbarium (UVSC)
was established in 1987 as a research and teaching facility. The initial herbarium collection consisted of botanical specimens collected by Dr. James G. Harris, Professor of Biology, whose research focuses on a wide range of habitats including the deserts of the San Rafael Swell, high elevation mountain peaks (i.e. Mt. Timpanogos, Mt. Nebo, and the Deep Creek Range), as well as arctic regions of North America and Greenland. Currently the herbarium houses over 17,000 accessioned herbarium sheets, with an average of 1,500 specimens being added to the collection each year.

From 1999 until 2007, Donna Barnes, the former curator, added an extensive and valuable collection of specimens to the herbarium from nearly all ecoregions in Utah. During her tenure as curator, she added over 4700 specimens representing 2160 different taxa distributed across all plant families in Utah - over 57% of the nearly 4000 taxa, introduced and native, found in Utah. Her indelible contribution will remain unmatched for many years.

The current curator, Dr. Jason A. Alexander, is a specialist in desert floras, specifically the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin, and the genus Astragalus (milkvetches) in the family Fabaceae.

Teaching and Research

The herbarium has become a significant resource for identification, and is actively used as a teaching tool. Important information such as geographic and ecologic distribution, diversity of species, flowering and fruiting periods, phenotypic characteristics, and genetic information can be obtained from a herbarium specimen, making it useful for research in phytogeography, systematics, taxonomy, ecology, and evolution.

One of our primary goals is the acquisition of representative specimens of all plant species growing in Utah and surrounding areas, further enhancing and broadening the teaching capabilities of the collection. We also actively support research conducted by students and faculty. Currently, specimens are added to the herbarium collection via:


Collections

Vouchers from several research projects have been added to the herbarium including: a complete collection of specimens obtained from a vegetative study of the Box-Death Hollow wilderness area (Garfield county, Utah) conducted by Janet Cooper, endangered plant study vouchers from southern Utah conducted by Dr. Renée Van Buren, and a set of herbarium vouchers for the book, Woody Plants of Utah, by Renée Van Buren, Janet G. Cooper, Leila M. Shultz, and Kimball T. Harper.
Our herbarium collections include: