What is the Herbarium at Black Hills State University?

The Black Hills State University Herbarium is a research/museum facility with approximately 50,000 specimens of vascular plants. The specimens are primarily dried, pressed plants mounted on archival quality paper with labels containing the scientific name of the plant, locality and date of collection, the collector's name and collection number, and often information about the habitat in which the plant was growing. The specimens are filed in insect-proof cabinets in systematic order.

The Herbarium is one of the two largest in South Dakota, including the largest collection of the distinctive vascular flora of the ecologically unique Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Herbarium specimens are essential to allow studies of plant diversity, changes of vegetation in an area over time, changes in blooming dates, comparisons of the flora of different geographic areas, and provide material for studies of morphology, anatomy, pollen, and DNA. Specimens are routinely used for the identification of plant species by workers from various organizations or private individuals. In addition to vascular plants, the Herbarium also holds collections of fungi, bryophytes, lichens, and fossil plants (see Collections).


The Herbarium Library contains hundreds of books, reprints, and journals. The Library is accessible during the hours that the Herbarium is open. Although materials are not loaned for use outside the Herbarium Library, visitors are welcome to use the materials here. For more information, or to arrange a visit, please contact the Herbarium staff.


The Herbarium is available for use by qualified individuals. Specimens are available on loan to recognized botanical institutions engaged in taxonomic research. While we frequently identify plants for private individuals at no charge, a fee-based plant identification service is provided to various companies, agencies, and individuals not part of BHSU and not involved in systematic research. For further details, contact the curator.

Mailing Address: The Herbarium
Black Hills State University
1200 University Street, Unit 9008
Spearfish, SD 57799-9008


The Herbarium is normally open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for holidays, and is subject to staff availability. To avoid any inconvenience, please contact the Herbarium staff prior to your visit.