Take a look at some of our Current Projects
and see if you might enjoy Volunteering!
Documenting the Cultivated Plants of the U.S. National Arboretum Living Collections
A major duty of the herbarium is to permanently document the collections,
research and plant breeding work at the National Arboretum. We are constantly
checking National Arboretum collections, preparing herbarium specimens
for our collection and (in some cases) verifying the identifications.
Click here for information about volunteering in the U.S. National Arboretum Herbarium.
Some recent projects include:
Native ferns -- We are working with the Native Plant Curator and
the Plant Records Curator to document the ferns of our Native Plant
Garden, verify their identifications, update the planting maps, and
prepare herbarium specimens.
Syringa (Lilac) -- From the breeding work of Dr. Margaret Pooler
and Ruth Dix.
Pelargonium (Geraniums) -- From the National Herb Garden of
the U.S. National Arboretum and the collection of Dr. James Graig, noted
Penn State University Pelargonium plant breeder.
Narcissus (Daffodils) -- From the collection of Brent and Becky
Heath and the extensive, U.S. National Arboretum Collection.
-- From the extensive U.S.National Arboretum collection which includes
a broad selection of National Award winners.
Review of the Herbarium's Nomenclatural TYPE Collection|
Work is continuing on verification of the type status of sheets in this
collection. Data accumulated will later be merged with the Herbarium's
BGBASE files to better manage the Type specimens.
We have initiated the development of an Imaging Center to capture digital
images of herbarium specimens at both archival and "web" quality.
This project will facilitate "virtual loans" and provide to
the public, gardeners, and the scientific community a means of accessing
In an effort to make its holdings more accessible, the herbarium is
imaging and databasing approximately 1,000 turf grass specimens currently
on deposit at the National Arboretum Herbarium. Included are rare collections
from Iran and Afghanistan.
The Herbarium has been involved in collecting all over the world. One
current field project is collecting U.S. native plants of ornamental
interest growing in the wild. The first site selected was Philpott Lake
in south central Virginia. One hundred and nine specimens were collected
for deposit and exchange by the USNA. We are also actively documenting
the cultivated ornamentals grown in the southwestern U.S. to augment
our existing collections.
Invasive Species Inventory
In order to help as a resource in understanding and controlling the
introduction and spread of invasive species, we have started databasing
all known ornamental plants which are listed on selected state and regional
invasive species lists. We are using the Mid Atlantic region as our
first target. The list has been compiled by staff of the National Arboretum.
The U.S. National Arboretum Natural Plant Checklist
Oliver M. Freeman, former Botanist and Curator of the Living Plant Collections,
published the Annotated List of Plants Growing Naturally at The National
Arboretum in 1953. We are continuing to expand the list and to document
all plants growing without cultivation at the U.S. National Arboretum's
D.C. campus. A current listing will be added to this site soon.
Documenting U.S. National Arboretum Asian Plant Explorers
Work continues on databasing the work of NA and USDA scientists in Asia.
These explorers include Frank N Meyer, Roland M. Jefferson, John L. Creech, Fredrick Meyer,
Theodore "Ted" Dudley, Sylvester, Skip March, Barry Yinger,
Lawernce Lee, Thomas Elias, Alan T. Whittemore, Carole Bordelon, and
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania Gift
We are currently processing a gift of approximately 3,500 herbarium
specimens from the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.
The gift included 390 herbarium specimens of Joseph Rock , all of which
have been databased. This gift is also notable for additional collections
of R.R. Stewart, A.D.E. Elmer, Henry
Skinner and Edgar Wherry.