Biology (NMC) and Animal Range (NMCR) Herbaria
NMSU herbaria resources represent the premier reference collection for the entire southern half of New Mexico, surrounding areas and elements of northern Mexico. The herbaria include more than 80% of all vascular plant type specimens housed within the state.
NMC Herbarium. Founded in 1890, the NMSU Biology Herbarium (NMC) is both the oldest and second largest herbarium in the state housing ca. 86,000 specimens rich in tracheophytes (vascular plants), bryophytes (mosses), and fungi (particularly rusts). Historical highlights from the collection are its vouchers used for the first Flora of New Mexico (Wooton & Standley 1915) and the legacy plant collections from renowned botanists E.O. Wooton, O.B. Metcalfe and C.G. Pringle. The herbarium houses an invaluable, irreplaceable type collection of 757 specimens (excluding paratypes) that serve as the basis of new species descriptions and stabilize botanical nomenclature for scientists around the world. About 80% of all vascular plant type specimens are housed within the state. In addition, NMC has comprehensive, unique, very well-curated collections belonging to numerous taxonomic groups, such as Asteraceae, Nyctaginaceae, Brassicaceae, Fagaceae (Oaks), and Poacaeae. A recent but quickly-growing subcollection of important biological soil crust cryptogams rich in lichens and algae, one of the least represented functional groups in most herbaria, is nicely complementing NMC. Specimens of NMC primarily document the floras of New Mexico, adjacent Texas and Arizona, and the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico.
NMCR Herbarium. Founded in 1956, The Range Sciences Herbarium (NMCR), with nearly 30,000 specimes, become formally active in 1979 and documents New Mexico rangelands, with particular emphasis on grasses and bryophytes from throughout the state. The NMCR moss collection is the largest of its kind in the State (2,557 currently databased records, CNABH 2017).
The specimens of NMCR document a great deal of the vascular flora of various areas of southern New Mexico, including many unique specimens without duplicate representation in NMC. Professional botanists have used NMCR specimens as the basis for a guide to the grasses of New Mexico and a series of comprehensive books on all aspects of its flora, which have become standard references for the state.
Our Mission Is To: 1. Manage and care for the collection 2. Distribute information derived from the collection 3. Train students in the importance of herbaria and herbarium management 4. Promote interest in plant biology related research.
- New Species described/recognized through research at NMC:
- Geranium dodecatheoides P.J.Alexander & Aedo
- Heuchera woodsiaphila P.J. Alexander
- Leucaena zacapana (C.E. Hughes) R. Govindarajulu & C.E. Hughes
- Rich Spellenberg's second edition Falcon Guide is out! Sonoran Desert WIldflowers
- See the "useful links" page for information on new releases by Jack Carter and Kelly Allred!
- Herbaria in the news (and related stories):
- Herbaria and potato blight
- Herbaria as tools for biogeographical and environmental studies
- Clues to the prehistoric human exploration found in the sweet potato genome
- The Pirate Botanist Returns
- Ash-Covered Forest is 'Permian Pompeii'
- The Perils of Plant Collecting
- Scientists find earliest sign of cultivated crops in the Americas
- Superstars of botany: rare specimens