Herbarium

The tenth largest herbarium in the United States

The combined Herbarium of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College ("RSA-POM") is the tenth largest in the U.S. and the third largest in the western U.S., with current holdings totaling over 1,200,000 specimens.

Approximately 95 percent of the collection is composed of mounted sheets which are housed in four rooms (wings) within the Plant Science Center Building. The RSABG's herbarium is recognized throughout the world for its strength in plants of California, which constitute nearly 50 percent of the total collection. The holdings from Southern California exceed 250,000 and are unsurpassed by any other herbarium. Active collecting over many decades means that the specimens are well distributed through time as well as in their geographic origin. In recognition of its overall strength, RSA-POM has been designated a national Research Resource Collection.

The RSA-POM herbarium is an active member of the Consortium of California Herbaria. Unpaid educational internships are available in the herbarium throughout the year. 

Please contact the Herbarium staff at (909) 625-8767, ext. 244 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


THE COLLECTION

Total holdings: Over 1,100,000 specimens.

Type specimens: 6,500 specimens

Specialties: California, southwestern U.S., Mexico - especially Baja California, Australia and other arid regions.

Other specialties include: Russia and former U.S.S.R. republics; Australasia and other Pacific; Cactaceae; Crossosomataceae; Goodeniaceae; Midaceae; Poaceae; Polemoniaceae; Restionaceae; Stylidiaceae; Arctostaphylos; Astragalus; Camissonia; Ceanothus, Cupressus; Iris; Ranunculus; aquatic phanerogams

Desiderata for exchange: Worldwide, with particular emphasis on plants from California, Baja California, arid, semi-arid, and other Mediterranean regions; Worldwide collections of Acanthaceae, Burseraceae, Cactaceae, Iridaceae, Loranthaceae, Poaceae, Polemoniaceae, Viscaceae. Portulacaceae from South American and Africa. For questions regarding exchange agreements please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Important collections include: C. F. Baker, R. C. Barneby, L. Benson, S. Boyd, A. Davidson, C. Davidson, P. H. Davis, M. DeDecker, M. B. Dunkle, F. R. Fosberg, H. S. Gentry, V. Grant, R. Gustafson, G. B. Hinton, E. C. Jaeger, M. E. Jones, C. L. Lundell, Y. E. J. Mexia, P. A. Munz, E. Palmer, F. W. Peirson, C. G. Pringle, P. H. Raven, J. C. Roos, T. S. Ross, A. C. Sanders, R. F. Thorne, L. C. Wheeler, and C. B. Wolf.

Navigate to our download research forms page to download the destructive sampling policy.

If you wish to arrange a loan or arrange any destructive sampling please contact the Herbarium staff by calling (909) 625-8767 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


DATABASE

Approximately 500,000 (42%) of the 1.2 million herbarium specimen held by RSA-POM have been databased, which includes all of our California holdings as well as many records in North America and worldwide. The majority of these records are avaialbe through the RSA-POM web portal: http://rsaherbarium.org. Please direct any database queries or data requests to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

All California specimen records are also available through the Consortium of California Herbaria portal: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/

 


COLLECTION POLICY

Mission Statement:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is devoted to the collection, cultivation, study and display of native California plants and to graduate training and research in plant systematics and evolution. Through all of its programs, the mission of the Garden is to make significant contributions to the appreciation, enjoyment, conservation, understanding, and thoughtful utilization of our natural heritage.

Collection Policy:

In accordance with its mission statement, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden will develop, assemble, document and maintain preserved botanical collections (herbarium). The purpose of this document is to guide, direct and manage the development of these collections at the Garden.

Legal & Ethical Consideration:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's collections, collecting policies, procedures, and activities strive to comply with all relevant international, national, state and local laws, and trustee policies and directives regarding these collections and collecting activities (e.g., CITES, ESA, etc.). All collections and collecting activities will comply and be consistent with the Trustee approved Code of Ethics (1998 revision).

Purpose:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's herbarium collections support the Garden's mission and its programs in conservation, education, horticulture and research.

Scope of the Collections – Provenance:

The RSA herbarium holdings are defined as those specimens belonging to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and the collections formerly belonging to Pomona College. The herbarium seeks to provide as complete a representation of different vascular plant families and genera as possible. Holdings includes traditional herbarium mounts, fluidpreserved specimens, boxed or bagged cones and fruit, wood, root, and bark samples, and microscopic slides of anatomical and pollen preparations. The geographic coverage of the RSA herbarium is worldwide, however, primary emphasis is given to plants from California, Mexico, western North America, and other world areas of Mediterranean, arid, and semiarid climates.

Acquisition Policy:

The primary goal of the acquisitions policy is to guide development of the RSA herbarium as a representative world collection of vascular plant taxa by the incorporation of specimens acquired through judicious collecting, exchanges, accepted gifts, incorporation of "orphan" collections, and purchases. To enhance collections development RSA strives to maintain strong temporally consistent holdings. 

The general policies governing herbarium acquisitions are as follows:

A. RSA holdings are defined as those specimens belonging to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSA), which include various orphaned herbaria, and the collections formally donated to the Garden by Pomona College (POM).

B. Specimens from throughout the world will be accessioned.

C. Specimens in general must be of high quality, and with adequate labels; otherwise substandard material may be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or Herbarium Collections Manager.

D. An effort will be made to maintain corresponding voucher specimens for all RSABG living collection accessions.

E. An effort will be made to avoid exact collection number duplications whenever possible.

F. Precise geographic duplication is acceptable within reason, as a thorough geographic coverage documents natural variation.

G. Initiation of new exchange agreements with institutions or individuals will be on a selective basis at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

H. Donations of specimens to the herbarium (including incorporation of orphaned herbaria) will be accepted, but must meet established specimen quality criteria. Collections by staff are ”Staff Collections,” and not gifts unless collected and prepared entirely on personal time and funds.

I. Unless otherwise stipulated, all gifts become the property of RSA. In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. Donors of material should be informed of this policy, and that RSA reserves the right to dispose of any donated specimens at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

J. Collections may be acquired on a fee per specimen basis at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. All financial arrangements surrounding the purchase of specimens should be fully established and documented prior to receiving specimens, and must be in concordance with other established RSABG fiscal policies.

K. Collections of voucher specimens documenting experimental and other studies will be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

L. RSA will strive to determine that all specimens accessioned were legally collected and will not knowingly accept illegally collected material, unless deposited by a State or Federal Agency with accompanying documentation authorizing RSA to possess the specimens.

Utilization:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's herbarium collections are to be used to support the Garden's mission and other appropriate conservation, education, horticulture and research activities. Use and utilization of the Garden's herbarium collections will be consistent with the community norms and standards for each type of collection. In general, destructive sampling will be permitted only to an extent that ensures no significant reduction in the overall quality of the accession/specimen will result from such utilization (see destructive sampling policy – appendix 1). Specimens should be handled with the utmost care at all times. Failure to adhere to herbarium policies and regulations may result in revocation of access privileges, at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Access:

The content / catalog of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden herbarium collections should be as widely accessible as possible. The Garden's philosophy is to encourage and facilitate access to, and use of, the herbarium collections to the greatest extent possible. Given the sensitive nature and security issues involved with some of these collections, however, access to the collections and their associated records may be limited at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Documentation, Records & Inventory:

As collection documentation adds value to the objects in the collection documentation should be as thorough and accurate as resources allow. All appropriate records will be maintained, and periodic inventories conducted for the herbarium collections. Collection records include (but are not limited to) documentation of provenance, utilization, procedures, quality and origin of accessions, deaccessions, exchanges, gifts, purchases, and loans.

The developmentof a comprehensive, readily accessible catalogue of the herbarium collections, including archival quality digital images, is an institutional goal.

The herbarium will stay current with emerging technologies and standards in the field, including standards in digital technologies, as appropriate.

Collection Conservation and Stewardship:

RSABG’s Living Collection constitutes a significant scientific, horticultural, educational, and conservation resource for a community and region

The herbarium expects to maintain museum and other professional botanical standards and to hold it’s collections in public trust. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium will strive to fully implement and comply with the Trustee approved Long Range Conservation Plan (2002 revision).

Quality Standards for Depositing Specimens:

The RSABG Herbarium regularly receives donations of specimens that are vouchers for scientific research, have historical significance, or enrich our taxonomic or geographic representation. Donations of specimens are expected to have been collected with the appropriate permission and / or official permits. Donations are only accepted for which ownership can be transferred to the Herbarium.

1. Specimens for deposit at the RSABG Herbarium will follow the guidelines as outlined in the Acquisition Policy.

2. Specimens must be of high quality and include reproductive structures (i.e., flowers, fruits, cones, spores).

Substandard material, such as sterile material, may be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

3. Specimens acceptable for deposit must be accompanied by adequate labels printed on acid free paper.

4. Collection information for each specimen at a minimum will include determination (i.e. identification to species), collector, collection number, collection date, collection locality (political division, locality description, habitat description, geographic coordinates, elevation), and specimen description.

5. Plant specimens for deposit into the RSA herbarium must include a “Plant Specimens for Deposit” form.

6. Plant specimens mailed to the herbarium for deposit into the RSA herbarium should be packaged with care, such that little to no damage occurs during shipment.

Deaccession:

In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Accessions may be removed from the collections (deaccessioned) under any of the following conditions:

a) When they are no longer appropriate to the scope of the herbarium collection.

b) When they are damaged beyond reasonable repair.

c) When they are missing (lost, stolen, or destroyed).

d) When they no longer retain value for their intended purpose.

e) When they are unnecessary duplicates.

f) When the legal owner requests return of material on indefinite loan. All records and data relating to deaccessioned herbarium material will be maintained in perpetuity. Deaccessioning is the responsibility of Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Deaccessioned material may be disposed of in the following ways:

a) Deaccessioned material may be exchanged with an individual, corporation, nonprofit or government entity.

b) Deaccessioned material may be sold. Proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned material and/or collection assets will be used to provide for the direct care and augmentation of the affected collection.

c) Deaccessioned material may be given to an individual, corporation, nonprofit or government entity.

d) As a last resort, as in the case of irreparably damaged specimens, deaccessioned herbarium material may be physically discarded.

Decisions relating to the disposal of deaccessioned material(s) with a commercial value of up to one hundred dollars are the responsibility of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation the Herbarium Collections Manager. Disposal of deaccessioned material(s) with a commercial value in excess of one hundred dollars will be made with the consultation and documented approval of the Garden's Executive Director, or Board of Trustees.

Loans:

Loans are the formal, temporary transfer of specimens to outside researchers or institutions. Specimens from the RSA herbarium are available for use on loan to researchers at outside institutions. Similarly, the RSA herbarium is responsible for managing loans from outside institutions, which have been sent for use by Garden staff, students, and research associates.

The general policies governing loans of RSA herbarium specimens to other institutions are as follows:

•  Loans are made to institutions, not individuals; therefore, the Herbarium Curator and/or Herbarium Collections Manager must submit all loan requests.

•  Institutions receiving loans must be able to ensure their storage.

•  Facilities are sufficient to provide RSA specimens an appropriate level of care and protection.

•  A loan of specimens will be authorized only after receiving a formal request for the material from the director,curator, or collections manager of the herbarium to which

the loan will be sent.

•  Loans of RSA specimens are made for one year, unless otherwise authorized by the Herbarium Curator or bydelegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Extensions of loan periods may be granted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager following receipt of formal request from the director, curator, or collections manager of the herbarium to which the loan was be sent.

•  Specimens sent on loan may be recalled at any time by the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Accessions of any given taxon will not be sent out on loan in its entirety. Loans made to receiving institutions will include a portion of a requested taxon/taxa. RSA will retain approximately 25% of its holdings of a given taxon/taxa. The remaining portion may be sent out on loan to the institution following the return of the initial portion of the loan. In cases where RSA may only have a few specimens of a given taxon, decisions to send such specimens on loan in its entirety or a portion of this are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator, or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  For taxa or specimens of extreme rarity, decisions to send such specimens on loan are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator, or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. In such cases, a high-resolution scanned image of the specimen(s) may be sent as a virtual loan. The rarest of circumstances may warrant exception.

•  Institutional need for RSA herbarium specimens supersedes any and all requests for loans to outside institutions.

•  Loans may be transferred to another institution at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager, pending receipt of formal request from both the original and new borrowing institutions.

The general policies governing loans of herbarium specimens sent to RSA from other institutions are as follows:

•  Loans are made to institutions, not individuals; therefore requests for loans must be submitted by the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Specimens received on loan must be housed according to the basic standards for all RSA herbarium specimens.

•  Loans must be returned promptly upon the expiration of the lending institutions stated loan period, or upon receipt of request for immediate return of the loan.

•  All specimens received on loan will be properly annotated prior to return.

Exchanges:

Exchanges are the formal reciprocal transfer of specimen(s), or other collection material(s) between Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and other institutions or individuals. Formal exchange programs are designed to build and augment institutional holdings. Decisions to initiate or curtail exchange agreements are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Gifts:

Gifts are the unconditional, unilateral transfer of ownership of specimen(s), or other collection material(s) between Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and other institutions or individuals. Gifts are typically given with the intent of augmenting the holdings of outside institutions, or supporting research and activities consistent with the mission of the Garden. Gifts to the herbarium collections at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden are typically accepted with the expressed intent of augmenting the Garden’s existing collections in a manner consistent with the herbarium's collection policy. Unless otherwise stipulated, all gifts become the property of RSA. In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. 

Donors of material should be informed of this policy, and that RSA reserves the right to dispose of any donated specimens at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. Collections made by staff and graduate students are “Staff Collections”, and not gifts unless collected and prepared on personal time with nothing but private funds. Gifts may be claimed as tax-exempt donations. The herbarium will give gift receipts upon request, but it is strictly prohibited from specifying the value of herbarium specimens this is left to the donor’s discretion.

Risk Management and Disaster Planning:

The herbarium will adhere to the institutional Risk Management and Disaster Plan. Collections, staff and visitors are to be protected to the best of the Garden’s ability in the event of an emergency or disaster in accordance with the Disaster Preparedness Policy.

Policy Review / Revision:

The Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager shall review the Herbarium Collection Policy not less than once every five years. The Herbarium Collection Policy must maintain consistency with the Garden’s collection policy. Any revisions to the Living Collection Policy shall be presented to and approved by the Collections Committee. If no revisions are deemed necessary the policy shall be noted as reviewed and dated.


APPENDICES:

I. Destructive sampling policy

II. Integrated Pest Management policy

III. Definition of Terms/Glossary.

Note: Appendices not included in supplemental docs due to space limitations.

Click on link for PDF version of Herbarium Policy.

DESTRUCTIVE SAMPLING POLICY

The policy outlined below is intended to help us balance the preservation of herbarium specimens with their utilization for scientific research.

The removal of plant fragments from RSA-POM specimens for genetic/morphological/anatomical studies will be permitted only to an extent that ensures no significant reduction in the overall quality of the specimen. While the value of specimens for these kinds of research is understood, the quality of the collection is undoubtedly impacted.

Decisions concerning destructive sampling will be made on a case-by-case basis. Each sheet will be assessed individually and approved if sufficient material is available and sampling will not compromise the integrity of the specimen.

Requests for removal of samples from herbarium specimens should be addressed to the Herbarium Curator or Collections Manager.

Please read this policy statement, complete the agreement outlined below, and include a list of specimens to be sampled.

Navigate to our download research forms page to download the destructive sampling policy.

 

IDENTIFICATION SERVICES

HERBARIUM: PLANT IDENTIFICATION SERVICES

As a non-profit institution that promotes botany, conservation, research, and education, an important part of the mission of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is to serve the public. 

In keeping with this mission, the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium provides plant identification services. Plant identifications include determination of plant name, geographic distribution, and if necessary, library research. A number of factors influence our ability to provide an accurate and timely identification. A complete specimen prepared according to our specifications below will be more likely to include the characteristics necessary for an efficient identification. The main focus of our specimen collection and taxonomic literature is the native and naturalized flora of California and Mexico. We are most likely to be successful in providing identifications for plants from this region. In general, we do not identify cultivated plants, which can come from anywhere in the world. In some cases, however, we may be able to assist you if the cultivated plant is also native to our focal region.

Plant identification fees:

•  Plant identifications are free of charge to researchers from non-profit and public sector institutions, government organizations at all levels, and the general public.

•  For-profit organizations that wish to use our services, fees are determined on an hourly basis, with a 1-hour minimum charge of $50. Fees charged for plant identification services are used to improve the Herbarium and its ability to serve the public.

Specimen preparation:

•  Please remove all dirt from roots. Please include the roots of herbaceous plants, when possible.

•  Each specimen should consist of a stem with attached leaves, basal leaves (if any) and flowers and/or fruits, when present.

•  Include information on where the specimen was collected, including habitat information, county, nearest town or major landmark, and approximate elevation.

•  Additional information about the plant is often critical in its identification. Include whatever commentsor facts that you think may be useful: time of flowering; flower and/or fruit color, size, fragrance; etc.

•  Please number each specimen collection if more than one plant specimen is submitted for identification.

These numbers will then be used for reference in our reply to you.

Send specimens by mail:

1. Plant specimens mailed to us for identification should be flattened between a fold of newspaper and securely fastened between two pieces of cardboard and sent in a padded envelope or box. Please do not crumple up the specimen.

2. Never send plants in plastic. Do not send them in a plastic-lined mailer. Plants placed in plastic bags and sent through the mail often mold.

3. Include the following contact information: name, address, telephone number, and email address.

4. Mail specimens to Mare Nazaire, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium, 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711-3157.

•  Upon arrival at the Herbarium, dried specimens will be frozen for 48-72 hours before they are examined.

•  Once the plant specimen(s) have been identified, you will be contacted. The specimens, a list of determinations, and an invoice will be mailed to you.

Payment will be due within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.

Use our convenient drop in service:

1. Please call and schedule an appointment with Mare Nazaire (909) 625-8767 ext. 268 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. Samples dropped off in person for identification can be fresh or dried. Depending on the number of specimens dropped off for identification (e.g., one or two specimens) and availability of herbarium staff for identification, you may be able to wait for identifications. 

3. When you come to the Herbarium, please bring with you the specimens and all of the information requested above.

For more information, please contact Mare Nazaire (909) 625-8767 ext. 268 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Click on link for PDF version Identification Services.

The tenth largest herbarium in the United States

The combined Herbarium of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College ("RSA-POM") is the tenth largest in the U.S. and the third largest in the western U.S., with current holdings totaling over 1,200,000 specimens.

Approximately 95 percent of the collection is composed of mounted sheets which are housed in four rooms (wings) within the Plant Science Center Building. The RSABG's herbarium is recognized throughout the world for its strength in plants of California, which constitute nearly 50 percent of the total collection. The holdings from Southern California exceed 250,000 and are unsurpassed by any other herbarium. Active collecting over many decades means that the specimens are well distributed through time as well as in their geographic origin. In recognition of its overall strength, RSA-POM has been designated a national Research Resource Collection.

The RSA-POM herbarium is an active member of the Consortium of California Herbaria. Unpaid educational internships are available in the herbarium throughout the year. 

Please contact the Herbarium staff at (909) 625-8767, ext. 244 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


THE COLLECTION

Total holdings: Over 1,100,000 specimens.

Type specimens: 6,500 specimens

Specialties: California, southwestern U.S., Mexico - especially Baja California, Australia and other arid regions.

Other specialties include: Russia and former U.S.S.R. republics; Australasia and other Pacific; Cactaceae; Crossosomataceae; Goodeniaceae; Midaceae; Poaceae; Polemoniaceae; Restionaceae; Stylidiaceae; Arctostaphylos; Astragalus; Camissonia; Ceanothus, Cupressus; Iris; Ranunculus; aquatic phanerogams

Desiderata for exchange: Worldwide, with particular emphasis on plants from California, Baja California, arid, semi-arid, and other Mediterranean regions; Worldwide collections of Acanthaceae, Burseraceae, Cactaceae, Iridaceae, Loranthaceae, Poaceae, Polemoniaceae, Viscaceae. Portulacaceae from South American and Africa. For questions regarding exchange agreements please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Important collections include: C. F. Baker, R. C. Barneby, L. Benson, S. Boyd, A. Davidson, C. Davidson, P. H. Davis, M. DeDecker, M. B. Dunkle, F. R. Fosberg, H. S. Gentry, V. Grant, R. Gustafson, G. B. Hinton, E. C. Jaeger, M. E. Jones, C. L. Lundell, Y. E. J. Mexia, P. A. Munz, E. Palmer, F. W. Peirson, C. G. Pringle, P. H. Raven, J. C. Roos, T. S. Ross, A. C. Sanders, R. F. Thorne, L. C. Wheeler, and C. B. Wolf.

Navigate to our download research forms page to download the destructive sampling policy.

If you wish to arrange a loan or arrange any destructive sampling please contact the Herbarium staff by calling (909) 625-8767 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


DATABASE

Approximately 500,000 (42%) of the 1.2 million herbarium specimen held by RSA-POM have been databased, which includes all of our California holdings as well as many records in North America and worldwide. The majority of these records are avaialbe through the RSA-POM web portal: http://rsaherbarium.org. Please direct any database queries or data requests to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

All California specimen records are also available through the Consortium of California Herbaria portal: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/consortium/

 


COLLECTION POLICY

Mission Statement:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is devoted to the collection, cultivation, study and display of native California plants and to graduate training and research in plant systematics and evolution. Through all of its programs, the mission of the Garden is to make significant contributions to the appreciation, enjoyment, conservation, understanding, and thoughtful utilization of our natural heritage.

Collection Policy:

In accordance with its mission statement, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden will develop, assemble, document and maintain preserved botanical collections (herbarium). The purpose of this document is to guide, direct and manage the development of these collections at the Garden.

Legal & Ethical Consideration:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's collections, collecting policies, procedures, and activities strive to comply with all relevant international, national, state and local laws, and trustee policies and directives regarding these collections and collecting activities (e.g., CITES, ESA, etc.). All collections and collecting activities will comply and be consistent with the Trustee approved Code of Ethics (1998 revision).

Purpose:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's herbarium collections support the Garden's mission and its programs in conservation, education, horticulture and research.

Scope of the Collections – Provenance:

The RSA herbarium holdings are defined as those specimens belonging to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and the collections formerly belonging to Pomona College. The herbarium seeks to provide as complete a representation of different vascular plant families and genera as possible. Holdings includes traditional herbarium mounts, fluidpreserved specimens, boxed or bagged cones and fruit, wood, root, and bark samples, and microscopic slides of anatomical and pollen preparations. The geographic coverage of the RSA herbarium is worldwide, however, primary emphasis is given to plants from California, Mexico, western North America, and other world areas of Mediterranean, arid, and semiarid climates.

Acquisition Policy:

The primary goal of the acquisitions policy is to guide development of the RSA herbarium as a representative world collection of vascular plant taxa by the incorporation of specimens acquired through judicious collecting, exchanges, accepted gifts, incorporation of "orphan" collections, and purchases. To enhance collections development RSA strives to maintain strong temporally consistent holdings. 

The general policies governing herbarium acquisitions are as follows:

A. RSA holdings are defined as those specimens belonging to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSA), which include various orphaned herbaria, and the collections formally donated to the Garden by Pomona College (POM).

B. Specimens from throughout the world will be accessioned.

C. Specimens in general must be of high quality, and with adequate labels; otherwise substandard material may be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or Herbarium Collections Manager.

D. An effort will be made to maintain corresponding voucher specimens for all RSABG living collection accessions.

E. An effort will be made to avoid exact collection number duplications whenever possible.

F. Precise geographic duplication is acceptable within reason, as a thorough geographic coverage documents natural variation.

G. Initiation of new exchange agreements with institutions or individuals will be on a selective basis at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

H. Donations of specimens to the herbarium (including incorporation of orphaned herbaria) will be accepted, but must meet established specimen quality criteria. Collections by staff are ”Staff Collections,” and not gifts unless collected and prepared entirely on personal time and funds.

I. Unless otherwise stipulated, all gifts become the property of RSA. In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. Donors of material should be informed of this policy, and that RSA reserves the right to dispose of any donated specimens at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

J. Collections may be acquired on a fee per specimen basis at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. All financial arrangements surrounding the purchase of specimens should be fully established and documented prior to receiving specimens, and must be in concordance with other established RSABG fiscal policies.

K. Collections of voucher specimens documenting experimental and other studies will be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

L. RSA will strive to determine that all specimens accessioned were legally collected and will not knowingly accept illegally collected material, unless deposited by a State or Federal Agency with accompanying documentation authorizing RSA to possess the specimens.

Utilization:

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's herbarium collections are to be used to support the Garden's mission and other appropriate conservation, education, horticulture and research activities. Use and utilization of the Garden's herbarium collections will be consistent with the community norms and standards for each type of collection. In general, destructive sampling will be permitted only to an extent that ensures no significant reduction in the overall quality of the accession/specimen will result from such utilization (see destructive sampling policy – appendix 1). Specimens should be handled with the utmost care at all times. Failure to adhere to herbarium policies and regulations may result in revocation of access privileges, at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Access:

The content / catalog of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden herbarium collections should be as widely accessible as possible. The Garden's philosophy is to encourage and facilitate access to, and use of, the herbarium collections to the greatest extent possible. Given the sensitive nature and security issues involved with some of these collections, however, access to the collections and their associated records may be limited at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Documentation, Records & Inventory:

As collection documentation adds value to the objects in the collection documentation should be as thorough and accurate as resources allow. All appropriate records will be maintained, and periodic inventories conducted for the herbarium collections. Collection records include (but are not limited to) documentation of provenance, utilization, procedures, quality and origin of accessions, deaccessions, exchanges, gifts, purchases, and loans.

The developmentof a comprehensive, readily accessible catalogue of the herbarium collections, including archival quality digital images, is an institutional goal.

The herbarium will stay current with emerging technologies and standards in the field, including standards in digital technologies, as appropriate.

Collection Conservation and Stewardship:

RSABG’s Living Collection constitutes a significant scientific, horticultural, educational, and conservation resource for a community and region

The herbarium expects to maintain museum and other professional botanical standards and to hold it’s collections in public trust. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium will strive to fully implement and comply with the Trustee approved Long Range Conservation Plan (2002 revision).

Quality Standards for Depositing Specimens:

The RSABG Herbarium regularly receives donations of specimens that are vouchers for scientific research, have historical significance, or enrich our taxonomic or geographic representation. Donations of specimens are expected to have been collected with the appropriate permission and / or official permits. Donations are only accepted for which ownership can be transferred to the Herbarium.

1. Specimens for deposit at the RSABG Herbarium will follow the guidelines as outlined in the Acquisition Policy.

2. Specimens must be of high quality and include reproductive structures (i.e., flowers, fruits, cones, spores).

Substandard material, such as sterile material, may be accepted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

3. Specimens acceptable for deposit must be accompanied by adequate labels printed on acid free paper.

4. Collection information for each specimen at a minimum will include determination (i.e. identification to species), collector, collection number, collection date, collection locality (political division, locality description, habitat description, geographic coordinates, elevation), and specimen description.

5. Plant specimens for deposit into the RSA herbarium must include a “Plant Specimens for Deposit” form.

6. Plant specimens mailed to the herbarium for deposit into the RSA herbarium should be packaged with care, such that little to no damage occurs during shipment.

Deaccession:

In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Accessions may be removed from the collections (deaccessioned) under any of the following conditions:

a) When they are no longer appropriate to the scope of the herbarium collection.

b) When they are damaged beyond reasonable repair.

c) When they are missing (lost, stolen, or destroyed).

d) When they no longer retain value for their intended purpose.

e) When they are unnecessary duplicates.

f) When the legal owner requests return of material on indefinite loan. All records and data relating to deaccessioned herbarium material will be maintained in perpetuity. Deaccessioning is the responsibility of Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Deaccessioned material may be disposed of in the following ways:

a) Deaccessioned material may be exchanged with an individual, corporation, nonprofit or government entity.

b) Deaccessioned material may be sold. Proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned material and/or collection assets will be used to provide for the direct care and augmentation of the affected collection.

c) Deaccessioned material may be given to an individual, corporation, nonprofit or government entity.

d) As a last resort, as in the case of irreparably damaged specimens, deaccessioned herbarium material may be physically discarded.

Decisions relating to the disposal of deaccessioned material(s) with a commercial value of up to one hundred dollars are the responsibility of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation the Herbarium Collections Manager. Disposal of deaccessioned material(s) with a commercial value in excess of one hundred dollars will be made with the consultation and documented approval of the Garden's Executive Director, or Board of Trustees.

Loans:

Loans are the formal, temporary transfer of specimens to outside researchers or institutions. Specimens from the RSA herbarium are available for use on loan to researchers at outside institutions. Similarly, the RSA herbarium is responsible for managing loans from outside institutions, which have been sent for use by Garden staff, students, and research associates.

The general policies governing loans of RSA herbarium specimens to other institutions are as follows:

•  Loans are made to institutions, not individuals; therefore, the Herbarium Curator and/or Herbarium Collections Manager must submit all loan requests.

•  Institutions receiving loans must be able to ensure their storage.

•  Facilities are sufficient to provide RSA specimens an appropriate level of care and protection.

•  A loan of specimens will be authorized only after receiving a formal request for the material from the director,curator, or collections manager of the herbarium to which

the loan will be sent.

•  Loans of RSA specimens are made for one year, unless otherwise authorized by the Herbarium Curator or bydelegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Extensions of loan periods may be granted at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager following receipt of formal request from the director, curator, or collections manager of the herbarium to which the loan was be sent.

•  Specimens sent on loan may be recalled at any time by the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Accessions of any given taxon will not be sent out on loan in its entirety. Loans made to receiving institutions will include a portion of a requested taxon/taxa. RSA will retain approximately 25% of its holdings of a given taxon/taxa. The remaining portion may be sent out on loan to the institution following the return of the initial portion of the loan. In cases where RSA may only have a few specimens of a given taxon, decisions to send such specimens on loan in its entirety or a portion of this are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator, or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  For taxa or specimens of extreme rarity, decisions to send such specimens on loan are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator, or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. In such cases, a high-resolution scanned image of the specimen(s) may be sent as a virtual loan. The rarest of circumstances may warrant exception.

•  Institutional need for RSA herbarium specimens supersedes any and all requests for loans to outside institutions.

•  Loans may be transferred to another institution at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager, pending receipt of formal request from both the original and new borrowing institutions.

The general policies governing loans of herbarium specimens sent to RSA from other institutions are as follows:

•  Loans are made to institutions, not individuals; therefore requests for loans must be submitted by the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

•  Specimens received on loan must be housed according to the basic standards for all RSA herbarium specimens.

•  Loans must be returned promptly upon the expiration of the lending institutions stated loan period, or upon receipt of request for immediate return of the loan.

•  All specimens received on loan will be properly annotated prior to return.

Exchanges:

Exchanges are the formal reciprocal transfer of specimen(s), or other collection material(s) between Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and other institutions or individuals. Formal exchange programs are designed to build and augment institutional holdings. Decisions to initiate or curtail exchange agreements are at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

Gifts:

Gifts are the unconditional, unilateral transfer of ownership of specimen(s), or other collection material(s) between Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and other institutions or individuals. Gifts are typically given with the intent of augmenting the holdings of outside institutions, or supporting research and activities consistent with the mission of the Garden. Gifts to the herbarium collections at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden are typically accepted with the expressed intent of augmenting the Garden’s existing collections in a manner consistent with the herbarium's collection policy. Unless otherwise stipulated, all gifts become the property of RSA. In all cases, the ultimate disposition of the specimens will be at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. 

Donors of material should be informed of this policy, and that RSA reserves the right to dispose of any donated specimens at the discretion of the Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager. Collections made by staff and graduate students are “Staff Collections”, and not gifts unless collected and prepared on personal time with nothing but private funds. Gifts may be claimed as tax-exempt donations. The herbarium will give gift receipts upon request, but it is strictly prohibited from specifying the value of herbarium specimens this is left to the donor’s discretion.

Risk Management and Disaster Planning:

The herbarium will adhere to the institutional Risk Management and Disaster Plan. Collections, staff and visitors are to be protected to the best of the Garden’s ability in the event of an emergency or disaster in accordance with the Disaster Preparedness Policy.

Policy Review / Revision:

The Herbarium Curator or by delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager shall review the Herbarium Collection Policy not less than once every five years. The Herbarium Collection Policy must maintain consistency with the Garden’s collection policy. Any revisions to the Living Collection Policy shall be presented to and approved by the Collections Committee. If no revisions are deemed necessary the policy shall be noted as reviewed and dated.


APPENDICES:

I. Destructive sampling policy

II. Integrated Pest Management policy

III. Definition of Terms/Glossary.

Note: Appendices not included in supplemental docs due to space limitations.

Click on link for PDF version of Herbarium Policy.

DESTRUCTIVE SAMPLING POLICY

The policy outlined below is intended to help us balance the preservation of herbarium specimens with their utilization for scientific research.

The removal of plant fragments from RSA-POM specimens for genetic/morphological/anatomical studies will be permitted only to an extent that ensures no significant reduction in the overall quality of the specimen. While the value of specimens for these kinds of research is understood, the quality of the collection is undoubtedly impacted.

Decisions concerning destructive sampling will be made on a case-by-case basis. Each sheet will be assessed individually and approved if sufficient material is available and sampling will not compromise the integrity of the specimen.

Requests for removal of samples from herbarium specimens should be addressed to the Herbarium Curator or Collections Manager.

Please read this policy statement, complete the agreement outlined below, and include a list of specimens to be sampled.

Navigate to our download research forms page to download the destructive sampling policy.

 

IDENTIFICATION SERVICES

HERBARIUM: PLANT IDENTIFICATION SERVICES

As a non-profit institution that promotes botany, conservation, research, and education, an important part of the mission of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is to serve the public. 

In keeping with this mission, the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium provides plant identification services. Plant identifications include determination of plant name, geographic distribution, and if necessary, library research. A number of factors influence our ability to provide an accurate and timely identification. A complete specimen prepared according to our specifications below will be more likely to include the characteristics necessary for an efficient identification. The main focus of our specimen collection and taxonomic literature is the native and naturalized flora of California and Mexico. We are most likely to be successful in providing identifications for plants from this region. In general, we do not identify cultivated plants, which can come from anywhere in the world. In some cases, however, we may be able to assist you if the cultivated plant is also native to our focal region.

Plant identification fees:

•  Plant identifications are free of charge to researchers from non-profit and public sector institutions, government organizations at all levels, and the general public.

•  For-profit organizations that wish to use our services, fees are determined on an hourly basis, with a 1-hour minimum charge of $50. Fees charged for plant identification services are used to improve the Herbarium and its ability to serve the public.

Specimen preparation:

•  Please remove all dirt from roots. Please include the roots of herbaceous plants, when possible.

•  Each specimen should consist of a stem with attached leaves, basal leaves (if any) and flowers and/or fruits, when present.

•  Include information on where the specimen was collected, including habitat information, county, nearest town or major landmark, and approximate elevation.

•  Additional information about the plant is often critical in its identification. Include whatever commentsor facts that you think may be useful: time of flowering; flower and/or fruit color, size, fragrance; etc.

•  Please number each specimen collection if more than one plant specimen is submitted for identification.

These numbers will then be used for reference in our reply to you.

Send specimens by mail:

1. Plant specimens mailed to us for identification should be flattened between a fold of newspaper and securely fastened between two pieces of cardboard and sent in a padded envelope or box. Please do not crumple up the specimen.

2. Never send plants in plastic. Do not send them in a plastic-lined mailer. Plants placed in plastic bags and sent through the mail often mold.

3. Include the following contact information: name, address, telephone number, and email address.

4. Mail specimens to Mare Nazaire, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium, 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711-3157.

•  Upon arrival at the Herbarium, dried specimens will be frozen for 48-72 hours before they are examined.

•  Once the plant specimen(s) have been identified, you will be contacted. The specimens, a list of determinations, and an invoice will be mailed to you.

Payment will be due within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.

Use our convenient drop in service:

1. Please call and schedule an appointment with Mare Nazaire (909) 625-8767 ext. 268 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. Samples dropped off in person for identification can be fresh or dried. Depending on the number of specimens dropped off for identification (e.g., one or two specimens) and availability of herbarium staff for identification, you may be able to wait for identifications. 

3. When you come to the Herbarium, please bring with you the specimens and all of the information requested above.

For more information, please contact Mare Nazaire (909) 625-8767 ext. 268 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Click on link for PDF version Identification Services.

Plant Identification Request Form

 Plant Identification Request Form

 Click on link for PDF form Plant ID Request Form

Specimens for Deposit

Specimens for Deposit

Click on link for PDF form Specimens for Deposit Form

Click on link for specimen excel template Template for Botanists

RSABG HERBARIUM HISTORY

When Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden was founded in 1927 at the original location in Santa Ana Canyon, botanists J.T. Howell and later Carl B. Wolf, with the help of Ernest Johnson, set about building the holdings of the newly established herbarium. Because RSABG is a native plant garden, collections were initially made only in California, but soon expanded to include the western U.S. By the mid-1940s, the collection had grown to over 30,000 specimens.

Independently, and starting as early as 1904, the herbarium of Pomona College was established upon the large private herbarium of Charles Fuller Baker. Starting in 1917, under the guidance of Philip A. Munz, the Pomona collection blossomed. The highlight was the incorporation of another large private herbarium, that of Marcus E. Jones. Jones was a major force in botany of western America during the late 1800s and early 1900s who described many new species based on specimens in his collection.

After a full career at Pomona College, Munz became director of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in 1946. Among his visions were to bring the Garden to Claremont and to eventually integrate the Garden's herbarium with that of Pomona College to form one larger, stronger, more encompassing collection. In 1951, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden moved to the Claremont site, and the Pomona College specimens were brought to the Garden to be housed nearby, but they still remained separate from those of RSA. It was not until the mid to late 1960s that his dream was fulfilled with the complete integration of the two collections.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of considerable growth of the RSA holdings under the guidance of curator emeritus, Robert F. Thorne. Thorne worked toward the expansion of the worldwide emphasis to include all flowering plant families, but was also very active in building the California holdings. Growth continued in the 1980's, highlighted by the acquisition and incorporation of the seed plant collections from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LAM). Included among these were the former holdings of University of Southern California (USC) and Alan Hancock Foundation (AHFH) herbaria. These specimens were especially rich in historic specimens from southern California and were an invaluable addition to the Garden's holdings.

The rapid growth experienced during the 1980s necessitated expanding and upgrading the facilities and space-saving "compactor" systems were installed with the assistance of grants from the National Science Foundation. Unfortunately, we have now maximized all available space for specimen storage and growth of the collections must be carefully monitored until a new herbarium wing is built. Current growth is about 10,000 specimens per year, mounted largely by volunteers. At this rate, there is comfortable room for fewer than 10 more years of growth.

Today the herbarium maintains a small synoptic collection of Lichens donated by Kerry Knudsen (UCR), however the main collection is restricted to vascular plants. Macrofungi, algae, lichens, and bryophytes from RSA - POM (about 25 000 specimens) were transferred to Los Angeles Museum in the 1980’s and from where they were transferred to Berkeley (UC). Research specimens of Dr. R. K. Benjamin research (Laboulbeniales and Zygomycetes) transferred to Harvard University (FH).

During the last decade, the herbarium has incorporated the orphaned collections of: California State Polytechnic University of Pomona (CSPU) in 2000 (ca 4,500 vascular plant specimens); Los Angeles Museum (LAM) in 2003 (ca 9,300 vascular cryptogams); and Santa Ana College in 2004 (ca 5,500 vascular plant specimens).

Today the herbarium is increasingly becoming an electronic resource as well as a physical resource. Herbarium specimen data is available through the Consortium of California Herbaria. We are also working on the digitization of our Type specimens (see projects tab). Herbarium staff continue the tradition of active floristic research in Southern California.

Projects

Projects

RSA-POM Specimen Database: We have now completed databasing our specimens from Southern California (the southern 10 counties). These data greatly enhance accessibility to the herbarium's collection. It is relatively easy to extract data for a particular mountain range or county. Search out southern California records online via the California Consortium of Herbaria.

Digitization of Type Specimens: In 2008 the Mellon Foundation funded the digitization of our typical specimens as part of the Latin American Partners Initiative (LAPI). This project includes five other local institutions from the southern node of the Consortium of California Herbaria whose type specimens will be scanned here at RSA: Huntington Botanical Garden (HNT), San Diego Natural History Museum (SD), Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG), University of California Riverside (UCR), University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Read more about the digitization project on the Garden news blog.

Georeferencing: In 2008, working as a southern node for the Consortium of California Herbaria we began georeferencing specimens of invasive species from Southern California herbaria. This project was funded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Click Here to learn more about RSABG Georeferencing

LAM Ferns: In February of 2004, the vascular cryptogamic collection of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum herbarium (LAM) was transferred and integrated into the collection at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSA-POM). Some 9400 specimens were integrated in this transfer. Along with the specimens, came two websites once hosted by LAM. These now reside on the RSA-POM herbarium website, care of Kenneth Wilson.

Staff

Herbarium Staff

To reach the herbarium please call (909) 625-8767, ext. 244.

Staff with direct extensions are listed below.

Mare Nazaire, Herbarium Collections Manager, (909) 625-8767, ext. 268

Duncan Bell, Field Botanist, (909) 625-8767, ext. 219

Kitty Blassey, Curatorial Assistant I

Grace Cho, Curatorial Assistant I

Joy England, Curatorial Assistant II, (909) 625-8767, ext. 207

Naomi Fraga, Director of Conservation Programs, (909) 625-8767, ext. 231

Forrest Freund, Curatorial Assistant I

Erika Gardner, Herbarium Workroom Manager, (909) 625-8767, ext. 233

LeRoy Gross, Senior Curatorial Assistant, (909) 625-8767, ext. 264

Rachel Poutasse, Curatorial Assistant I

Hannah Vasilis, Curatorial Assistant I

Annie Yenni, Curatorial Assistant I

VISITORS

The RSA-POM Herbarium is open to the public Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you are a first-time visitor it is recommended that you call (909) 625-8767, or contact the Herbarium staff before your visit. Please visit the overview of our collection and collections policy. Please be aware that destructive sampling requires prior permission.

Upon arrival please check in at the front desk of the administration building in the gift shop. Special arrangements can be made by the Herbarium staff when necessary. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.