About the Herbarium
Did you ever make a leaf collection? The
Friesner Herbarium is a systematic collection of over 100,000
dried, pressed and preserved plant specimens. The Herbarium,
third largest in the state, grew out of the personal collections of
Dr. Ray C.
Friesner, Professor and Chair of the Botany Department,
1920-1952. Many students and other Butler faculty have
contributed plants through the years. The specimens, with
their carefully documented labels, comprise a reference library on
historical distribution, habitats, and timing of flower and fruit
production. The collection's voucher specimens serve to
verify plant identification.
Although the Herbarium contains plants from around the world,
the collection emphasizes plants of Indiana. The collection
has samples of 96% of the approximately 2500 taxa of native Indiana
plants. Multiple specimens are present for most plants,
providing more information than single drawings or photographs from
books to assist in learning what a plant looks like. Most of
our collections were made during the first half of the century and
now constitute documentation of Indiana's historical
vegetation. They also provide information on the habitat
(e.g., woods, swamp, prairie) where plants were collected and would
likely be found again.
The collection is of great value to professional botanists;
information can be shared through a network of exchange and loan of
specimens. Students, faculty, and staff from Butler's
Department of Biological Sciences use the Herbarium as a
reference. In addition, the Herbarium holdings are available
to enrich teaching and laboratory exercises for students in biology
classes. Read the article about Friesner
Herbarium published in Brittonia.
Recent examples of use of the Friesner Herbarium include a local
allergist who wanted to collect pollen from allergy-causing grasses
and a USDA researcher who was looking for locations for Cuphea, a
native plant with seed oil properties similar to coconut oil.
Currently there is no domestic source of coconut oil. We
helped him locate a site near Bloomington where the plant was
collected in the 1930s. He was able to find the plant still
growing on the same roadside. This summer we have helped a
junior high school teacher inventory plants in a woods on the
property of a new school building, identified shrubs in a Butler
faculty member's yard, and helped several people from the community
to identify wildflowers.
The Herbarium is open to the public by appointment. Call
(317) 940-9413 or e-mail Dr. Rebecca Dolan at email@example.com to arrange a
visit. The staff can assist with identification of plants you
bring in and can also help you to locate sites where plants you
wish to find may grow.
Be sure to visit our new
Herbarium Specimen Digital Image Collection which now contains
approx. 15,000 images and data of our Indiana specimens.
Continuing efforts are underway to collect images of all of our
nearly 46,000 Indiana holdings.
Other Indiana flora projects and community outreach work of
the Friesner Herbarium can be found under "Projects".