The BHSU Herbarium, which has been housing plant specimens for research and teaching since the founding of the Dakota Territorial Normal School in 1883, has approximately 35,000 plant specimens. The Augustana College Herbarium, formerly located in Sioux Falls, has recently been added to our collection.
The herbarium, essentially a “library” of plants, preserves most specimens pressed, dried and mounted on archival paper accompanied by a label that provides the scientific name of the plant and pertinent collection data. In addition to plant specimens, the Herbarium also holds approximately 3,000 fungal specimens thanks to the recent research efforts of emeritus faculty member Audrey Gabel. The BHSU Herbarium is home to one of the largest collections of Miocene age (approximately 5 to 24 million years before the present) plant fossils from the Great Plains of North America. With more than 10,000 fossils from throughout the Great Plains, the fossils are a key to an understanding of the environment that created the Great Plains.
The Herbarium then obtained a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to database all of the plants from “West River” South Dakota and eastern Wyoming from the BHSU Herbarium and 15 additional herbaria. The grant will provide a web-accessible database with all label data from over 100,000 specimens by 2009. The NSF grant also enabled the BHSU Herbarium to double the amount of specimen holdings through the purchase and installation of a mobile storage compactor system. The Herbarium is a vital resource for the community. Staff members are often called upon to identify plants for government agencies, ranchers, gardeners, USDA Forest Service staff, Game Fish and Parks Department staff, county weed control officers, and curious citizens. Herbarium staff members are available to give presentations to a wide variety of groups including civic organizations, visiting student groups, USDA Forest Service groups or other audiences.
Visit the Herbarium Site