Collections and Resources at the New York Botanical Garden
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is one of the world's largest and most important botanical and horticultural research libraries, with over one million accessioned items (books, journals, original art and illustration, seed and nursery catalogs, architectural plans of glass houses, scientific reprints, and photographs) and over 4800 linear feet of archival materials. The Library serves as both a research and a public library and as both a scholarly resource and a general plant information service. It offers a wide array of reference resources, print and electronic, and the help of an informed staff to anyone visiting the Library through the Internet or in person.
The Steere Herbarium is the centerpiece of the Garden's botanical research program. It is the fourth largest herbarium in the world, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The Starr Virtual Herbarium is the electronic gateway to the collections of the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium. The goals of the Virtual Herbarium are to make specimen data available electronically for use in biodiversity research projects; to reduce shipping of actual specimens for projects where digital representations will suffice for study; and to reunite data elements (e.g., photographs and drawings, manuscripts, published works, microscopic preparations, gene sequences) derived from a specimen with the catalog record for that specimen.
The digital collections of the Virtual Herbarium, comprising approximately 1,300,000 herbarium specimens and 225,000 high-resolution specimen images, are updated daily as the Garden pursues the goal of digitizing all of its 7,700,000 plant and fungi specimens.
The laboratory collections consist of liquid preserved specimens, a reference seed collection, the Langenheim Resin Collection, a pollen reference collection, a microscope slide collection, phytochemical research collections, and a DNA bank. The collections are used to understand plant structure and development, and are also a valuable source of material for genomic and molecular systematics studies.
The New York Botanical Garden Press is one of the largest publishing programs of any independent botanical garden in the world and provides a means for communication of research carried out by scientists at The New York Botanical Garden and elsewhere. Established in 1896, the program focuses on advancements in knowledge about the classification, utilization, and conservation of plants and fungi.
For the past three centuries, scientists have documented the earth’s plant and fungal diversity through dried reference specimens maintained in collections known as herbaria. There are approximately 3,990 herbaria in the world today, with approximately 10,000 associated curators and biodiversity specialists. Collectively the world’s herbaria contain an estimated 350,000,000 specimens that document the earth’s vegetation for the past 400 years. Index Herbariorum is a guide to this crucial resource for biodiversity science and conservation.
The Index to American Botanical Literature has provided a service to the American botanical community for over a century, published initially in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club and subsequently in Brittonia. Beginning in 1886, when Elizabeth Britton of The New York Botanical Garden was editor, the Index has provided bibliographic data both on books and articles in periodicals. In 1999, the Index went to an entirely electronic format.
Researchers at NYBG have developed open source software designed to assist in the analysis of DNA sequence data and other aspects of systematics research. The scripts are designed to reformat DNA sequence alignments so that they can be used with a variety of downstream analysis programs; identify specimens using their DNA sequences (DNA barcoding); analyze DNA sequencing chromatograms to asses their quality; and streamline the process of compiling taxonomic monographs.
Information about NYBG's Gardens and Collections, or search the living collections of The New York Botanical Garden.