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:
- Field collections made by staff, faculty and students.
- Gifts and exchanges from other herbaria.
- Voucher specimens associated with research.
- Gifts from regional botanists.
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:
- a lichen and bryophyte collection
- a vascular plant collection (ferns and fern allies, gymnosperms, monocots, and dicots)
- a complete set of mounted specimen images of the Linnaean Herbarium (integrated into the main collection)
- a collection of rare botanical books, a library of floras and monographs, and maps for use by staff, faculty, students