The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Herbarium is one of the world’s outstanding research resources for specimens and information on bryophytes and vascular plants. The collection is limited to these two major groups of organisms. As of 1 January 2011 the collection contained 6,231,759 specimens (5,706,547 vascular plants and 525,212 bryophytes).
The Herbarium at MO is divided between two buildings. The Bryophytes, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Monocots and Dicots through the Fabaceae (family 128) are located in the Lehmann Building, at the south end of the Garden grounds, while Dicot families from Pandaceae (family 128A) through Asteraceae (family 280) are in the Monsanto Center (4500 Shaw Blvd.).
The Lehmann Building
Photo: Jack Jennings
The Monsanto Center
Photo: Jack Jennings
Visiting the Herbarium
The Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium is open to any visitor with a legitimate reason to consult the collections. However, anyone wishing to study the collections should make arrangements prior to their visit by contacting the Curator of the Herbarium or the Herbarium Secretary.
Tel: (314) 577-5169; Fax: (314) 577-0820.
Curator of the Herbarium:
Dr. James Solomon, Tel: (314) 577-9507; Fax: (314) 577-0820; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166-0299, U.S.A.
4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri, 63110
Normal working hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Special arrangements may be made for consultation of specimens and library resources at other times for visiting scholars.
Getting to the Garden
See the Map.
From Lambert Airport, take a taxi or the MetroLink light rail system to the nearest bus station.
From the Amtrak train station in downtown St. Louis, take a taxi.
For more detailed directions, please contact Mary McNamara.
Visitors should try to arrive at the Garden during normal working hours. On arrival, come to the reception area on the 2nd floor of the Monsanto Center (4500 Shaw Blvd., two blocks west of the main Garden entrance) to register with the Herbarium Secretary. A brief orientation will be made to the facilities and collections at that time. If you will arrive after-hours, please go the main entrance of the Garden at 4344 Shaw Blvd. and contact a Security Officer.
The Garden maintains inexpensive accommodations close to the Herbarium and Garden for research visitors. The Garden's guesthouses, Trelease House or Anderson House, have individual apartments that are large, comfortable, completely furnished, with kitchen facilities. The guesthouses are named in honor of William Trelease and Edgar Anderson, former directors of the Garden. Mary McNamara manages both guesthouses. Please contact her by telephone (314-577-5169), fax (314-577-0820), or e-mail for reservation information, cost and availability.
As an aid for research in molecular phylogenetics the Herbarium maintains a collection of material specifically intended for DNA extraction. Botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden collect leaf samples, preserve them in silica gel and store them at -20º C. Because the samples are carefully prepared and stored, they are likely to give better yields of higher quality DNA than herbarium material. To date, nearly 11,000 samples have been catalogued and are available for distribution. The catalog of this material is available online. Please contact the Curator of the Herbarium if you are interesting in obtaining samples for extraction.
A collection of about 4,000 accessions of liquid preserved plant parts is also available for consultation and study. These plant materials represent a diverse array of families, but are concentrated in groups that have been the special research interests of the Garden staff.
The Library is located on the 4th floor of the Monsanto Center (4500 Shaw Blvd.). The general collection consists of more than 200,000 volumes of monographs and journals. More than 800 current periodicals are received through subscription and on exchange. The main emphasis of the collection is on plant taxonomic literature, current and retrospective, collected in all languages. Other special collections include: over 3,000 reference works; 1,100 Sturtevant Pre-Linnaean volumes; 2,000 post-1753 rare books; over 1,000 folio volumes; the personal collections of Ewan (11,000 books), Steere (1,000 volumes), and Niederlander (600 volumes); 7,000 items of botanical art; map and atlas collection (over 7,000 items); and microfiche (45,000 fiche). To arrange a visit the library, please e-mail or call (314) 577-5155.
The Archives includes more than 3,000 linear feet of Garden records and publications, professional and personal papers, historic manuscripts, Garden photographs, oral histories, original artwork from Garden publications, and architectural drawings. Noteworthy are the personal papers of Henry Shaw, including letters, account books, diaries, and legal papers documenting his business transactions and the development of the Garden. The George Engelmann Papers, numbering some 5,000 letters and 30 boxes of botanical notes, are resources for the history of nineteenth-century botany and exploration of the West. Other important collections include the papers of Peter H. Raven, Alwyn Gentry and Julian Steyermark. An appointment to consult the Archives can be made by contacting Andrew Colligan at (314) 577-5158.
The publishing arm of the Science and Conservation Division is MBG Press. The Press produces Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Novon, Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, as well as numerous floras and other botanically related publications.
In 1999 the Garden created a new fellowship program for Latin American botanists, the Elizabeth E. Bascom Fellowship for Latin American women in the plant sciences. This program provides travel grants for one to six months of study at the Garden. To find out more about this fellowship and to apply, please go to the website.
This page was revised 02/18/11.