The Herbarium

An herbarium is a museum collection of dried plant specimens. Generally, the specimens are filed according to a systematic classification system that not only permits ready retrieval but also groups specimens of closely related plants in close physical proximity. The first herbarium collection at the University of Richmond was assembled by Paul R. Merriman in the early 20th century. The collection was lost in a fire that destroyed the University’s science building in 1925, however, Merriman’s manuscript and a set of illustrations survived and went on to later be published. Robert Smart, who joined the Department of Biology in 1929, continued the collection and his work set the standard for the extensive collection the University has today, which has been managed by Dr. W. John Hayden since 1980. It is cataloged online.

The current herbarium (known in the botanical community by the acronym URV) features nearly 20,000 specimens, including 2,000 specimens of Algae, 1,450 specimens of Lichens, 1,400 specimens of Myxomycetes, 1,000 specimens of Fungi, 450 specimens of Bryophytes and 15,000 specimens of Vascular plants. The collection is accessible to students studying botany.