Does the Massey Herbarium want my specimens?

Probably! There are several kinds of specimens that are very important to our mission and given high priority here. These include: vouchers from research studies, new county or state records for a species, and type specimens from new species descriptions.

We also emphasize documenting the 1) distribution and behavior of the flora across time and space and 2) ecological interactions within the flora. This includes repeatedly collecting the same species from the same site over time to preserve observations on phenology and morphological changes. Specimens that connect with different collections are also valued—you can deposit a specimen of a flower with VPI and a specimen of its insect pollinator with the Virginia Tech Insect Collection.

As long as you have collected and properly pressed a specimen that is identifiable and has collection data, we can probably use it. An identifiable specimen is one that contains as much of the plant’s features as possible.  A small herb specimen can include the entire plant from roots to fruits. A tree specimen can include a portion of a branch with leaves and flowers or fruits. Check back later for a guide to collecting specimens!

Collection data includes: identification (field IDs are ok), collector name, collector number, collection date, location (state, county, township, road, trail, etc), GPS coordinates, and habitat (substrate, microclimate, associated species, but even simple statements like “forest” vs. “meadow” are useful).

It also helps to send us the collection data for your specimens in a spreadsheet. The CSV file below will open in Excel or Google Sheets and has several example records. Follow this format as best as you can and send us your file to greatly speed up the processing of your collections.

Banner image of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) courtesy of Virginia Wildflowers.