Exotic Plant Depository Aids in Research and Identification

The Huntington Botanical Gardens Herbarium (HNT) was founded in the 1960s by Myron Kimnach, director of the Botanical Gardens from 1962 to 1986. It is a depository of mostly exotic plant specimens used in research and teaching. The purpose of these specimens is to serve as documentation for research projects and as a resource for plant identification. With over 10,000 specimens, it is an archive of vascular plants from around the world, with particular emphasis on plants from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Important collections include those of F. Boutin, J. P. Folsom, D. R. Hodel, D. de Laubenfels, M. Kimnach, and R. Moran. Plant families well-represented include Arecaceae, Cactaceae, Crassulaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and desert plants worldwide. In addition, the herbarium receives and provides loans of plant specimens used in active systematic research.

Huntington Herbarium Collection Statistics

  • 12,071 specimen records
  • 3,122 (26%) georeferenced
  • 8,644 (72%) identified to species
  • 265 families
  • 1,468 genera
  • 3,756 species
  • 4,090 total taxa (including subspecies and varieties)

Herbarium Field Program

The Huntington Herbarium continues to grow in part through a field program that was founded in 1966. The program’s primary purpose is to develop the living collection, as well as to support research and conservation efforts. Herbarium specimens are collected as part of the documentation of wild collected plant material and deposited at HNT. Much of the work is grant-funded and recent work has focused on magnolia, oak, ash, and walnut. While the Southwest is the main geographic focus, the program has also included Tennessee, Georgia, and Puerto Rico domestically, and Taiwan internationally.

Herbarium Acquisitions

In 2009, The Huntington received the Pasadena City College herbarium (PASA) on permanent loan. It encompasses roughly 3,000 specimens, mostly collected in the early 19th century in North America. In 2010, the de Laubenfels research collection was donated to the Herbarium, representing one of the finest research collections of Southern Hemisphere conifers in the world.