Herbarium Holdings

General Collection

The BHSU Herbarium (our official acronym is BHSC) holds about 45,000 vascular plant specimens and is rapidly growing. The Herbarium includes the world’s largest number of specimens from the ecologically unique Black Hills, and the surrounding region. Most of the specimens are angiosperms (flowering plants) with some gymnosperms (mostly conifers). Collections date to the 1880s. A majority of the 1500 species of plants from the region are represented in our collections. Grasses are especially well represented.

Many of the early specimens of the Herbarium were collected by Frank L. Bennett, a faculty member at Black Hills State from 1917-1949. Other collectors include James Rominger, a faculty member in the late 1950s, and Myrtle Kravig, who added nearly 1000 plants to the collection. Her collection of botanical books is also housed in the Herbarium. J. R. Thomasson, a faculty member from 1977-1982 contributed a number of extant and fossil specimens. Collections by Mark L. Gabel are also present.

In addition to specimens from the Black Hills and the surrounding region, the Herbarium contains specimens from many countries throughout the world. Many plants from the Hawaiian flora were given to the collection by Otto Degener. Degener is noted for publishing Flora Hawaiiensis. Another well-known contributor is P.A. Munz, author of California Flora. 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, 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.

Fossil Plants

The BHSU Herbarium 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 individual fossils housed from throughout the Great Plains. Type collections of several fossil species from J.R. Thomasson and Mark L. Gabel are held in the collection. Grasses (Poaceae), hackberries (Celtis, Ulmaceae) sedges (Cyperaceae) and borages (Boraginaceae) are well represented.

Fungi

The mycological collection is due to the research of Audrey Gabel. The 4000 specimens of fungi and slime molds present in the Herbarium include nearly all of the state records for South Dakota.

 

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