Herbarium of the Arnold Arboretum (A)

Acer specimen

The Arnold Arboretum was established in 1872, and early in its development a systematic collection was established. As with the Gray Herbarium, the collection has grown steadily over the years, but the directorships of C. S. Sargent and E. D. Merrill saw periods of particularly rapid growth. Specimens can be searched on the specimen database. The Herbarium includes an associated library collection, The Library of the Arnold Arboretum.

The Arnold Arboretum Herbarium contains approximately 1,307,084 specimens, including those of cultivated origin, which are housed in a separate herbarium in the Hunnewell Building at Jamaica Plain in Boston. The Cultivated Herbarium in Jamaica Plain contains approximately 85,000 specimens of cultivated origin, mainly woody plants Acer samara from temperate regions. Recently, the Seed Herbarium Image Project (SHIP) was launched, a searchable database with seeds of the following genera currently available: Acer, Stewartia, and Syringa.

The Herbarium of the Arnold Arboretum is especially strong in material from Indo-Malesia (India to the Philippines and Papuasia), China and eastern and southeastern Asia in general. The Chinese and Philippine collections are probably as comprehensive as any in the world. The traditional strengths in Asian studies in the Arnold Arboretum are being extended through the work of Peter Ashton, David Boufford, Susan Kelley, and Wayne Takeuchi, and formerly by Drs. Burley, Spongberg, and Stevens. The Arboretum and University Herbaria also serve as one of the five editorial centers in the western hemisphere for the Flora of China project. Dr. Anthony R. Brach, a staff member of the Missouri Botanical Garden and a Research Associate in the Arnold Arboretum, is based in the Harvard Herbaria where he edits manuscripts and maintains the Flora of China pages.

The Arboretum collection is also rich in type specimens largely due to the work of staff members such as R. A. Howard, I. M. Johnston, C. Kobuski, Merrill, E. J. Palmer, A. Rehder, Sargent, C. K. Schneider, and E. H. Wilson. Several special collections reflect the interests of former staff members; these include the McKelvey Agave and Yucca spirit collection (recently rehoused in compactor storage units in Cambridge), and the Shaw collection of the genus Pinus.