UW Bothell Herbarium

Tall Oregon grape in blue fruit

About the Herbarium

The UW Bothell Herbarium provides a critical authoritative record of plants occurring in the campus wetland and the greater North Creek Basin. As the vegetation changes through time in the wetland it will form a reliable record to help us and future researchers understand biological and habitat change in one of our regions’ preeminent floodplain restoration projects.

The herbarium is a valuable resource for classes such as BES 490 (Pacific Northwest Plants), BBIO 471 (Plant Ecology), BES 316 (Ecological Methods), and many others. Students use the herbarium as a resource to aid in identifying plants and gain valuable skills working in the herbarium by practicing careful scientific documentation.

The UW Bothell Herbarium is already playing an important role in fulfilling the mission of the Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory: to foster research and educate students and the general public about the natural world in our region.

 

What is a Herbarium?

A herbarium (plural: herbaria) is a plant facility that functions in three ways: as a museum, a library, and a scientific lab.

Plants are collected in the field, and details are recorded such as ecology, form, size, and color. They are then pressed in newspaper, allowed to dry, and finally glued on thick paper.  The preserved plants are stored in a cabinet, and organized.  At the UW Bothell Herbarium, plants are organized alphabetically first by family, then by genus and species.  The whole process takes at least 3 weeks, but the specimens can last hundreds of years.  

Once plants are preserved, the herbarium holds them in their collection indefinitely.  Similar to a library, a herbarium can borrow specimens from another facility so a scientist can use it during research. 

Last of all, a herbarium functions as a lab for students and researchers. Students can use the specimens to help their plant identification skills and as an extension to classroom learning. Scientists can use the samples when studying taxonomy or even use the tissues from the plant for DNA and protein samples.

Opportunities

General Volunteering
  • Plant collection/lab work, Saturdays 11-1

        

Specific Projects
  • Processing donated specimens
  • Photographing and barcoding specimens
  • Digitizing collection & data entry
  • Field photography trips (February-October)
  • Produce items for fundraising (brochures, notecards, wall-art)
Academic
  • Independent Study
  • Independent Research

 

History of Herbaria

The herbarium practice formally began in the 16th century, and it was later streamlined by Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century by preserving specimens on paper and storing them in cabinets. The framework started by Linnaeus is used by modern herbaria, with a few added digital tools. To learn more visit: History and Modern Uses of a Herbarium.

 

Contact Herbarium Team

uwbherb@uw.edu