RSA-POM Herbarium

Overview    Herbarium staff 1

The combined Herbarium of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College (RSA-POM) is a museum-quality collection of vascular plant specimens. With current holdings totaling over 1,200,000 specimens, the Herbarium is the tenth largest in the United States and third largest in California.

The Herbarium is recognized throughout the world for its strength in documenting the diversity, distribution, variation, and ecology of more than 6500 species of flowering plants, conifers, and ferns in California, which constitutes nearly 50% of the total collection. The holdings from Southern California exceed 250,000 and are unsurpassed by any other herbarium. In recognition of its overall strength, RSA-POM has been designated a national Research Resource Collection.

Approximately 95% of the collection is composed of mounted sheets and filed according to a standardized system of classification. Ancillary collections that augment the collection include a cone & fruit collection, wood collection, fluid preserved collection, and pollen and anatomy slide collection.

The RSA-POM Herbarium is an active member of the Consortium of California Herbaria

Contact Information

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Collections Manager

Visiting the Herbarium

The RSA-POM Herbarium is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Special arrangement can be made with Herbarium staff if necessary. Visitors are advised to arrange use of the herbarium by contacting the Collections Manager in advance of visiting. If you are a first time visitor, please review the collections policy and protocols for handling herbarium specimens. Please be aware that destructive sampling requires prior permission.

Upon arrival, please check in at the front desk of the Administration Building in the Garden Gift Shop.


OUR HOLDINGS

Total holdings: Over 1,200,000 specimens

Type specimensApproximately 7,000 specimens

Ancillary collections: cone & fruit collection (3,000 specimens); wood collection (8,000 specimens), fluid preserved collection (3,500 specimens); pollen and anatomy slide collection (approximately 30,000 slides)

Systematic arrangement: Specimens in the collection are arranged by larger taxonomic groupings: Psilotopsida, Lycopsida, Sphenopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Angiospermae (Moncotyledons, “Dicotyledons”). Within each of these units families are arranged in alphabetical order.

Geographic arrangement: Within each genus, the collection is organized by geographic region.

Specialties: California, southwestern U.S., Mexico (with emphasis on 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

Important collections include: C. F. Baker, R. C. Barneby, L. Benson, S. Boyd, S. Carlquist, 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.


DATABASE

Nearly 500,000 (~42%) of the >1.2 million herbarium specimens held by RSA-POM have been databased, which includes all of our California holdings as well as many specimen records in North America and worldwide. The majority of these specimen records are available through the RSA-POM web portal and more will become available as new records are uploaded.

All California specimen records are also available through the Consortium of California Herbaria portal.


PROJECTS

Engaging our future to preserve our past: curation and preservation of historically significant collections through student participation

Natural history specimen collections offer a lens into the past and a means to envision the future. Collections are especially important in predicting biodiversity change with shifts in climate and land use. The RSA-POM Herbarium recently received NSF funding to process, curate, and digitize 30,000 plant specimens collected by ten significant botanists of the 20th century. Seventy percent of these were collected from 15 of 34 designated world biodiversity hotspots; thirty percent represents the California Floristic Province biodiversity hotspot alone. Several specimens have been identified as valuable type material (i.e., specimens used to describe and name species new to science). Curation of these collections will provide physical access to collections currently unavailable for study, promote discovery of species new to science, and yield new distribution and phenology data. Importantly, curation will ensure critically needed preservation. Digitization efforts will provide access of this rich source of specimen data to researchers, students, and the public. Integral to the project are activities involving participation from graduate students, undergraduates, and high school students. Notably, the Herbarium will expand on a successful undergraduate internship program by engaging underserved youth from the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. Especially targeted are at-risk and transitional aged youth at the high school level, who will be trained in a six-week summer junior intern program. All interns will participate in five workshops that will serve to connect students to collections, natural history, and biodiversity. An exhibit at RSABG will highlight the activities and student participation in the project.

Progress on this project can be found here. 

 

Harnessing the power of herbaria to understand the changing flora of California: A biodiversity hotspot in peril

This project, supported through an NSF grant, is a collaborative endeavor among more than 21 institutions that are part of the Consortium of California Herbaria to database ~400,000 specimens of California plants and to georeference >500,000 specimens. The flora of California is one of the most imperiled on Earth and, with climate change added to the perils, vouchered specimen data are invaluable to predict, monitor and understand the effects of climate change on the state’s plants. At RSA-POM, we have responsibility for both data entry and georeferencing, as well as oversight of the work of six other participants (UC Riverside, Cal State San Bernardino, San Diego Natural History Museum, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, UC Los Angeles, Cal State Sacramento). RSA-POM’s commitment was to database and georeference 72,384 and 107,189 specimen records, respectively. The databasing of all of our California holdings was completed in Augsut 2014, with 426,744 specimens databased. As of November 2015, 149,411 records have been geo-referenced, of which 88,044 records were target taxa (rare, threatened, endangered, alpine taxa, or ecological dominants including woody plants and grasses). A recent supplement has enabled the RSA-POM Herbarium with several other Consortium institutions to add ~20,000 records of rare, threatened, endangered, and endemic taxa of the California Floristic Province (CFP) in Baja California.

 

Digitizing the collections and archives of Marcus E. Jones

Marcus E. Jones (1852–1934), geologist, mining engineer, and self-trained botanist, became one of the most prominent botanists of the American West. Most active during the late 19th century into the early part of the 20th century, Jones traveled extensively throughout the western United States and Mexico, collecting thousands of plants, and photographing and recording detailed notes of the regions he traveled in. Jones’ plant collecting at the turn the turn of the century provided an early comprehensive characterization of the flora of the West; he collected in areas that were poorly known, some of which have since been developed. Jones also described hundreds of new species, many of which are represented as type specimens. Jones’ influence on botany is great, and his works and supporting materials (i.e., specimens and archives) are continually sought. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG), the locus of Jones’ archives and plant specimens, receives frequent requests to view and study Jones’ photographic slides, notebooks, and plant specimens.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has received support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize and make available the most botanically and historically significant components of the archives and collections of Marcus E. Jones. Prioritization of the project focuses on the archives and plant collections associated with several trips that Jones made to Mexico (1892, four trips during 1926–1930) and Baja (1882), and collecting notebooks and other written materials from field trips that emphasize plants or collecting.

Following the established protocols of the Global Plants Initiative, we have databased, barcoded, and digitized more than 3000 herbarium specimens from Jones’ 1892 and 1926-1930 trips to Mexico and 1882 trip to Baja California. At present we are databasing and imaging his collections from western North America (excluding CA), and thus far have digitized >5000 of these collections.


POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS

Collections Policy

Loan Policy

Destructive Sampling

Handling Herbarium Specimens

Specimens for Deposit

Template for Botanists


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 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 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 download and follow the specimen preparation instructions and submit this identification request form.


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

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

Rachel Poutasse, Herbarium Workroom Manager, (909) 625-8767 ext. 233

Joy England, Curatorial Assistant II, (909) 625-8767, ext. 242

Jill AzzoliniProject Manager, (909) 625-8767, ext. 244

Curatorial Assistant I

Grace Rice

Sierra Sutton

Lauren Tucker

For volunteer and internship opportunities, please inquire with the Herbarium Collections Manager.

Collection Policy

Acquisitions | Loans 

 

 

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Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium Policy

 

(Revised, 2 October 2013)

 

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.

 

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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 development

 

of 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 where species and habitat loss are critical issues.

 

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.

 

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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 by

 

delegation, Herbarium Collections Manager.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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-1940's, 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 1800's and early 1900's 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 1960's 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 1980s, 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. 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). The herbarium maintains a small synoptic collection of Lichens donated by Kerry Knudsen (UCR), however the main collection is restricted to vascular plants.

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 our own online database and through the Consortium of California Herbaria. We are also working on the digitization of our type specimens (see projects tab).

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