There are three plant herbaria housed at the Robert Evers Laboratory: Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium (ILLS), the University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium (ILL), and the University of Illinois Crop Evolution Laboratory Herbarium (CEL).

Together, these collections contain over 1,200,000 specimens making this the second largest herbarium in Illinois and the 10th largest in the United States.


Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium (ILLS) Vascular Plants

In total there are approximately 275,000 vascular plant specimens in ILLS, all of which have been databased. Our data is accessible to the public at the Consortium of Midwest Herbaria.  Approximately 80% of the ILLS specimens were collected in Illinois, including a significant number of Illinois Threatened and Endangered species. ILLS also sizable holdings of specimens collected in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park (GSMNP) as well as Kyrgyzstan and China.

The earliest vascular plant specimen, donated by the University of Wisconsin, is Aquilegia canadensis L. collected in Decatur, Illinois by Foster Waltz on May 17, 1843. Important collections in the ILLS herbarium include G.H. Boewe, J.C. Carter, J.L. Crane, R.A. Evers, S.R. Hill, H.S. Pepoon, L.R. Phillippe, C. Robertson,  J.B. Taft, L.M. Umbach and A.G. Vestal. Incorporated herbaria include collections from Shawnee National Forest and Eureka College. During initial review of the Eureka College materials, we found early specimens collected in the late 1800’s from Gittings Seminary, Peoria High School, and the Illinois Natural History Society.

University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium (ILL) and Crop Evolution Lab Herbarium (CEL) Vascular Plants

The ILL herbarium holds approximately 520,000 vascular plants with one-third of the specimens from early Illinois; one-third from other states, largely from the west; and the last third of the specimens from outside the United States. Their total types are approximately 4,000 and include many holotypes.

The CEL herbarium has around 55,000 specimens specializing in Poaceae, particularly Andropogoneae and genera of cereals, and cultivated Fabaceae. This important crop plant collection contains many artificial hybrids of our cultivated plants and collections of their wild ancestors.

ILLS and ILL Combined Algal and Bryophytes Collections

ILLS and ILL combined bryophyte collections

In total the combined collections have 55,000+ specimens.  Within the bryophyte collections are the Musci Americani exsiccati containing 286 specimens collected by Thomas Drummond, many of which are type specimens. These were gathered during the Second Land Arctic Expedition of 1825 under the Command of Captain Franklin.  We also hold approximately 700 other bryophyte exsiccati. The earliest known bryophyte in the collection is Encalypta streptocarpa Hedw. collected in Switzerland in 1817. Other important collections include G.H. Boewe, R.R. Brinker, V.H. Chase, J. Duda, R.A. Evers, W.J. Eyerdam, T.C. Frye, S. Hattori,  E.J. Hill, S.R. Hill, Y. Ikegami, G.N. Jones, L.F. Koch, M.L. Sargent, L.M. Umbach, and W.A. Weber.

The bryophytes are currently undergoing curation as the remaining 20,000 specimens are identified, put into archival packets, and merged into the main collection. During this process, more exsiccati and type material will likely be recovered.

ILLS and ILL combined Algal collections

There are 5600+ combined algal specimens. This includes about 2600+ algae exsiccati with the most notable being a complete set of the Phycotheca Boreali – Americana, donated by Mrs. Mary S. Snyder in 1914. This collection includes about 90% of all the marine algae found on the coasts of the United States. The algae are in the process of being digitized and databased by herbarium volunteers.