Current Database Project

Herbarium MU currently has data for over 31,000 specimens in the database. The database program employed is BRAHMS (Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System), published by the Plant Systematics Research Group at Oxford University in England ( This system (which utilizes Microsoft Visual FoxPro) is designed specifically for use in herbaria, and is the database system of choice at many herbaria worldwide.

Users may conduct searches by typing in keywords for taxon names at rank of species, genus, and family; for geographical regions for country, state, county (or similar regional areas), and precise location; for collector, collection number, collection date; and type status. Users can download data for selected specimens as a delimited text file or Excel spread sheet to have available for their particular needs.

Our current project is the completion of data entry for North American vascular plants (ca. 120,000 specimens). This group of specimens is presently the most heavily utilized, and thus are deemed to be higher priority than other groups; data entry for the balance of the collection will be approached after this project is completed. The current database contains data entered for all vascular type specimens, all gymnosperms, some monocots (most of APG Alismatales [Alismataceae, Aponogetonaceae, Butomaceae, Cymodoceaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Juncaginaceae, Posidoniaceae, Ruppiaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Scheuchzeriaceae, Zosteraceae], and about 85% of Poaceae. Various other vascular plant/hepatic/fungal families/genera/species groups that have been sent on loan during the last 6 years are also included in the database.

Georeferencing is being done for each specimen as data are entered. Specimens entered more than 3 years ago are mostly not yet georeferenced, but this is being corrected as time allows.

Imaging of our specimens has not yet begun, but the type specimens will be imaged in the fall of 2010, and there are plans to devise a system for imaging the remainder of the collection beginning in 2012.