Black Hills State University Herbarium (BHSC)

Collections and Area of Taxonomic and Geographic Concentration

The Herbarium has about 45,000 specimens and is one of the two largest herbaria in South Dakota.  BHSC features the world’s largest collection of the distinctive vascular flora of the ecologically unique Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.

The collection contains vascular plants, algae, bryophytes and lichens. In addition, the collection consists of approximately 4000 specimens of fungi and slime molds, which include nearly all of the South Dakota state records. 

Important Collections

The extant vascular plant collection includes a limited number of specimens from around the world; including collections by A. Eastwood, P.O. Schallert, L.S. Rose, J.A. Calder, B.C. Tharp, W.H. Duncan, A.E. Radford, J.M. Gillet, C.G. Pringle, O. Degner, P.A. Munz, E.J. Palmer, K. Biswas, and B. Rosengurtt. Other important collections include those of F.L. Bennett (former BHSC Curator) and M.L. Kravig (Orchidologist).

BHSC is home to one of the largest collections of Miocene age plant fossils from the Great Plains of North America, with at least 10,000 fossils housed from throughout the Great Plains. Type collections of several fossil species from J.R. Thomasson and M.L. Gabel are held in the collection. Grasses (Poaceae), hackberries (Celtis, Ulmaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae) and borages (Boraginaceae) are well represented.

Another significant collection is comprised of several hundred specimens of vascular plants from Hawaii. These vouchers represent valuable collections that include federally designated endangered and rare plants. These species can no longer be legally collected and the herbarium is one of the few places where samples for these plants can be studied.


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


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

Mailing Address:
The Herbarium
Black Hills State University
1200 University Street, Unit 9003
Spearfish, SD  57799-9003 


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

Staff (for more information please visit the Research and People Section)

Curator: Mark L. Gabel 

Herbarium Manager: Grace Kostel

Mycologist: Audrey Gabel

Database Manager: Curtis Card


In support of research and curatorial activities, the herbarium maintains a computer database of the flora of western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Please visit the Database section for more information.

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