The Barneby Catalogue

The Barneby Legume Catalogue holds data from the subset of the legume collection that includes specimens of the 33 genera (see List on this page) that were monographed by the late, world-renowned taxonomist Rupert C. Barneby (1911-2000) and his collaborators, Howard S. Irwin and James W. Grimes, in “The Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden.” In total, 3368 species and varieties of these “Barneby genera” were treated in these monographs. The specimens in this subset are exceptionally well curated, accurately identified, and greatly enriched due to Barneby’s extensive monographic studies and fieldwork. In fact, the 88,700 specimens constitute ca. 25% of the legume collection. About 43,000 of them (mostly from Brazil and the Intermountain region of the Western USA) have been catalogued already and are available through the Specimens tab of this Catalogue.

The Catalogue consists of three parts. The Specimen Catalogue contains label data from the >82,000 specimens and digital images of >32,900 specimens representing all taxa. The Digital Monograph (or Species Pages) consists of identification keys; the treatments of each genus, species, and variety (i.e., synonymy, description, discussion), and illustrations extracted from the published monographs. The website provides distribution maps generated upon request from georeferenced specimen records in the Catalogue. In addition, a biographical section comprises correspondence and photos in the Archives of the Mertz Library.

The Barneby Genera

The specimens of the Barneby genera in the Steere Herbarium provide unmatched geographical and taxonomic coverage of these genera. Narrowly distributed and rare taxa are relatively well represented due to Barneby’s own focused collecting and that of a long series of NYBG field programs in areas that are centers of diversification for several of the Barneby genera (e.g., the Intermountain Region of the Western USA, the Guyana Shield, the Brazilian Planalto, eastern Brazil, and the Brazilian Amazon). Many of the taxa in the Catalogue are ecologically and economically significant. Astragalus and Dalea, for example, are important components of Mediterranean, arid, and semiarid habitats throughout much of the American West and Mexico, whereas Chamaecrista and Calliandra are equally diverse and important in the drylands and “campo rupestre” of South America, particularly in the Brazilian Planalto. Mimosa is abundant and diverse in both regions. Many species ofAstragalus and Mimosa are often restricted in distribution, some to specific substrates of particular mineral composition. Species of these and several other genera treated by Barneby have numerous medical applications and are used for soil stabilization, fertilizer, and as livestock forage. Sometimes becoming serious weeds, some species of Astragalus, known as locoweeds, are poisonous to livestock. Species of Albizia, Dalea, Calliandra,Cassia, Mimosa, Pithecellobium, Samanea, and Senna are commonly cultivated ornamentals, while Cassia and Samanea have species that yield commercially important timber.


Funded in part by theĀ National Science Foundation (DBI-0955567), Jacquelyn Kallunki, P.I., and Benjamin Torke and Melissa Tulig, Co-P.I.s


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number (DBI-0955567). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation