Herbarium


Note: The BBG research program is currently on hiatus and access to the institution's herbarium is limited while BBG makes plans for a new building to house its science programs and collections. Access may be granted to qualified researchers by appointment. Researchers seeking information or access to Herbarium resources are encouraged to contact Director of Plant Collections Tony Morosco (tonymorosco@bbg.org) for more information.


The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Herbarium includes over 300,000 specimens of preserved plants. The collection is worldwide in scope, with concentration on plants of the greater New York area and cultivated plants.


The original collection was formed by uniting the herbaria of the Brooklyn Lyceum, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and the Long Island (NY) Historical Society. Among these collections are specimens collected by J. Torrey, W. Darlington, A. Gray, and C. S. Rafinesque.

The herbarium also incorporates a number of historically important collections including:

  • The personal herbarium of A.A. Heller, rich in types from the western United States.
  • The personal herbarium of Camillo Schneider, which formed the basis for his monograph on woody cultivated plants, Handbuch der Laubholzkunde.
  • A rare bound set of Australian algae and useful sets from the Whitney South Seas expedition and the Mulford expedition.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Herbarium houses over 300,000 specimens of preserved plants. These collections are not only valuable resources for researchers—they often have a story behind them as well. Whether brought back by a trailblazing expedition, cataloged by a pioneering scientist, or assembled by ordinary individuals with a love of nature, the Herbarium collections are tangible testimony to the human quest for knowledge.

The original collection was formed in 1914 by combining the herbaria of the Brooklyn Lyceum, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and the Long Island (NY) Historical Society. The herbarium also incorporates a number of historically important collections including the following:

The Mulford Expedition to Bolivia
Collections made by O.E. White, M. Cardenas, and H.H. Rusby during the Mulford Expedition to Bolivia in 1928. The collection includes many isotypes of the species Rusby described from the expedition.

North American Graminae and Cyperaceae by Asa Gray
A bound set of North Americn grasses and sedges distributed by Asa Gray in 1834 and 1835 and a few loose specimens from another set

The Personal Herbarium of A.A. Heller 1896–1913
A set of Heller's collections from the western United States including types for most of the species he described in the journals Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club and Muhlenbergia

The Astor Expedition to the Galapagos Islands
Types and other collections made by H.K. Svenson during his trip in 1930

The Whitney South Seas Expedition
A set of the collections made by Jones, Beck, and others during the Whitney Expedition to the South Pacific in 1922

The Rocky Mountain Expedition of 1862 by C.C. Parry, E. Hall and J.P. Harbour
Collections made in 1862, including isotypes of species described by A. Gray

The Personal Herbarium of Camillo Schneider, 1915-1919
A collection of 6,000 cultivated plant specimens, mostly from the Arnold Arboretum

Mauritius Ferns of Nicolas Pike
Collections made by Pike while he was the U.S. Consul to Mauritius (1866–1876).

Musci boreali-americana by Sullivant and Lesquereux
A complete set, unbound, of both editions

Musci Appalachiani and Hepaticae boreali-americanae exsiccatae by C.F. Austin
Complete, unbound collections of these early works on mosses and liverworts

John Macoun's Canadian Mosses
Mosses collected by Macoun on his journeys across Canada, including isotypes for many of the moss species described by N.C. Kinderberg in 1892

Phytotheca boreali-americana by Collins, Holden, and Setchell
A complete, bound copy

Algae and Corallines of New York Bay by C.F. Durant
A complete bound set, published by G.P. Putnam, 1850

Algal Herbarium of John Hooper
Originally part of the Long Island Historical Society collection, which formed the basis for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden collection

American Algae by Josephine Tilden
One of 25 complete sets

Algales by W.H. Harvey
A bound collection of algae, sent as a gift from the great British algologist, William Harvey, to his friend, Col. Nicolas Pike, subtitled "Seaweeds mostly collected between Ballycastle and Fairhead on the northern coast of Ireland." Bound with a pencil sketch of the locality.

Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences Collection
Collections of Rev. George Hulst and Rev. Stephen Calverley, 19th-century Brooklyn naturalists who helped found the academy

The Garden also houses interesting smaller collections by W. Suksdorf (Washington State 1894–1903), C.G. Pringle (Mexico 1889–1897), E.J. Wright (Eclipse Expedition, 1889), J. Torrey (Hoboken, New Jersey 1818; Orange Co., New York 1836), and W. Darlington. There are also a few specimens from the Darlington herbarium reputed to be collected by Rafinesque.

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