The Grinnell College Herbarium
Plant and Fungal Biodiversity -- Research and Education

"GRI" in Index Herbariorum

Grinnells students collecting

Contact: Vince Eckhart
Grinnell College Herbarium
Department of Biology
Noyce Science Center
Grinnell College
Grinnell, IA 50112
eckhart@grinnell.edu

The Grinnell College Herbarium (located on the lowest floor of the Noyce Science Center) includes a collection of over 25,000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes, and fungi. An interactive relational database documents approximately 80% of the specimens. Eventually, an interactive web-delivered database will contain records of the entire collection.

The Herbarium serves the community of scientists and scholars by providing

-- Reference specimens for plant and fungal identification, systematics, and ecology

-- Broad documentation of the flora of central Iowa (prototype web database)

-- A sample documentation of the worldwide flora

-- A resource for research and education at Grinnell College (see the following poster from the 2013 "Evolution of the Iowa Flora" course)


An 1883 gift of over 3,000 specimens from Ward's Scientific formed the nucleus of the present collection. (In 1882, a cyclone hit Grinnell College and destroyed its extensive natural history museum.) The initial gift contained plants from around the world, and the development of international collections has continued through gifts, exchanges, and faculty and student research. The main focus of the collection, however, is the flora of central Iowa. Henry S. Conard (Professor of Botany 1906-1944) used the Herbarium as source material for several editions of The Grinnell Flora, which became in later editions, first Plants of Central Iowa, and, eventually, Plants of Iowa.


Other projects that the Grinnell College Herbarium has facilitated include

-- A study of the distributions of host plants of specialist butterflies in central Iowa, by Tor Janson (2001)
-- Contributions to the Flora Mesoamericana, by Professor Emeritus L.H. Durkee
-- A historical analysis of the distribution of tallgrass prairie species in Poweshiek and Jasper Counties, by Malinda (Walter) Slagle (2000)

-- A historical study of the entry and spread of non-native plants in central Iowa, by Harmony King (2000)