The Grinnell College Herbarium (located on the lowest floor of the Noyce Science Center) includes a collection of over 20,000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes, and fungi. An interactive relational database documents approximately 85% 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
-- A comprehensive 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
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.
Recent projects that the Grinnell College Herbarium has facilitated include
-- 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 (2000)
-- A historical study of the entry and spread of non-native plants in central Iowa, by Harmony King (2000)
-- A study of the distributions of host plants of specialist butterflies in central Iowa, by Tor Janson (2001)