The New York Botanical Garden



Scientific collections—resources from and about the natural world—are primary objects for discovering and understanding past and present life on Earth, and for conserving life into the future. Repositories of collections are a fundamental part of scientific infrastructure with recognized importance at local, national, and international levels. The professional staff who collect, care for, and manage collections and their repositories are governed by respect for the scientific, historical, physical, cultural, and aesthetic integrity of each specimen or artifact and its associated data.

The New York Botanical Garden’s collections of plants and fungi are key resources for Garden scientists as well as an international community of scientists, students, and scholars. They receive hundreds of professional visitors each year.

William and Lynda Steere Herbarium

The William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, containing more than 7,300,000 plant and fungal specimens, is among the four largest herbaria in the world, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, and a National Systematics Research Resource Center. Although all areas of the world are represented in the Steere Herbarium, since 1891 the emphasis of acquisitions has been on the plants and fungi of the New World. The Herbarium grows at the rate of 30,000 to 50,000 specimens each year, through collections made by staff members and collaborators, exchange, and accession of orphaned herbaria.
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LuEsther T. Mertz Library

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is the largest and most comprehensive botanical library at any botanical garden in the world. Known for the breadth of its collections, the Mertz Library holds books, journals, and electronic media in plant and fungal studies, including systematics, floristics, genomics, and economic botany. Since 1899 the Library’s collections have grown through the negotiation of hundreds of publication exchange agreements with other research institutions, adoption of botanical book collections from important academic and research libraries and private collections, and broadscale purchases.
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Living Collections

The living collections on the Botanical Garden’s grounds and in its several acres under glass are important resources for work in plant and fungal studies, including systematics, plant development, ecology, and conservation. The collections range across the plant and fungal kingdoms, from algae, mosses, and ferns to gymnosperms and flowering plants. They include species growing in various wetlands and in the 50-acre, old-growth Northeastern deciduous forest within the Garden’s 250-site. They also include representatives of lowland and upland tropical rain forests as well as New World and Old World deserts.
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Laboratory Collections

Diverse laboratory collections housed in the Garden’s Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory complement vouchered collections in the Steere Herbarium and are valuable resources for plant and fungal research at the Garden. Amassed by Garden researchers or adopted from academic or private collections, these include DNA collections, resin collections, liquid-preserved collections, microscope slides, seed collections, and phytochemical collections.
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