As one of the leading botanical gardens and research institutions in the world, The New York Botanical Garden has a responsibility to make our resources available, useful and relevant. For more than 100 years, we have endeavored to document plant and fungal diversity, and share the insights we have gained with scholars and the general public.
Plants and fungi are fundamental to human life, providing us with oxygen, food, water, shelter, clothing and medicine. Despite two and a half centuries of work, botanical science still has an incomplete knowledge of the breadth of plant and fungal diversity, and of the factors that govern their growth. This is even more important at a time of rising concern about environmental issues such as conservation and climate change.
It is our goal to present information about plant and fungal diversity resulting from the collections and research programs of The New York Botanical Garden to a wide audience for the purpose of furthering research and increasing biodiversity literacy among students and the general public.
The C. V. Starr Virtual Herbarium is the electronic gateway to the collections of the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium. The Virtual Herbarium contains all specimens that have been digitized since 1995 and new specimen records are added daily. 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.
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."
Through the addition of descriptive text, identification keys, digitized photographs, publications, and field observations, staff members have started to construct electronic floras and monographs as a means of documenting the plants of a given region, or of a particular evolutionary group. These data are often linked to specimen records and images, literature references, gene sequences, and ethnobotanical uses, creating a comprehensive profile for the species that have been studied in depth by NYBG scientists.
French Guianan e-Flora Project
Vascular plants of Las Orquídeas National Park (Colombia)
The Lecythidaceae Pages
Lichens of the Ozark Ecoregion
Lichens of the Southeastern Coastal Plain
PBI Miconieae Project
Plants and Lichens of Saba
Plants and Lichens of St. Eustatius
Vascular Plants of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
The World Flora Online (WFO) is the first goal of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, an ambitious plan adopted by the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity to halt the loss of plant biodiversity around the globe by 2020. WFO@NYBG brings together all the resources the Garden is compiling from NYBG Press publications and Garden scientists for this ambitious project. The WFO will be an invaluable tool for plant scientists and researchers, who will use it as a primary reference, and for conservationists and policy-makers, who will consult it for information about rare and endangered species and to understand what plants grow where.
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. The Index contains entries dealing with various aspects of extant and fossil American plants and fungi, including systematics and floristics, morphology, and ecology, as well as economic botany and general botany (publications dealing with botanists, herbaria, etc.).
The Botanical Garden's DNA Bank is a centralized repository of frozen plant, algal, and fungal tissue and extracted DNA (a self-replicating material that is the carrier of genetic information) for use in analyzing plants at their most essential levels. DNA Bank collections are a primary resource for research carried out in the Garden’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics and Genomics Program. Extracted DNA and tissue collections of the DNA Bank are authoritatively identified, properly documented, cross-referenced to specimens in the Garden’s William and Lynda Steere Herbarium and other herbaria, and managed on the model of traditional museum collections.
Structural botany investigates the form and function of plants. It complements and aids other plant research by shedding light on the very specific characteristics used to identify and classify plants, determine how they grow, and determine their evolutionary pathways. The Structural Botany Collections consist of liquid-preserved, seed and resin collections and microscopic slide collections.
Compiled by Scott Mori and collaborators, the Glossary for Vascular Plants is illustrated guide to plant terminology.