75th Anniversary

The Emory Herbarium has grown to approximately 25,000 specimens, making it the 3rd largest herbarium in Georgia. Its holdings are diverse, particularly rich in plants from the Southeastern United States, fungi, and lichens. Additionally, it boasts significant collections that reflect research beyond Georgia and from other countries. The Emory University Herbarium houses special collections honoring the legacy of Dr. Thorn and Dr. Eyles, and it safeguarding the collections inherited from the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. The Emory University Herbarium was founded in 1949 at the urging of the Chair of the Emory Biology Department, Prof. William D. Burbanck, has served as the first Director. The roles of the Herbarium have significantly expanded over time.

Initially, specimens were collected and prepared to document mostly local studies and were subsequently used for on-campus research and teaching. In 2012, a new revitalization effort was launched under the direction of Dr. Cassandra Quave with the aim of supporting Emory University’s active research community, though now with a primary focus on establishing and supporting a Collection in Medical Botany. Eventually, the Herbarium became part of a global network of herbaria after digitizing its collection and publishing data in the SERNEC portal. The Emory Herbarium is a dynamic place, having hosted Emory students and researchers for medicinal, taxonomical, and climatic research. It also sends specimen loans to researchers elsewhere and requests loans from various places.

Today, the Emory Herbarium participates in four consortia (Plants, Bryophytes, Lichen, and Fungi) that support specimen digitization (imaging and databasing), making specimen information globally available. Specimens serve as both a source and documentation for molecular research projects that would have been unimaginable to our early botanists. The Emory Herbarium is celebrating 75 years of contributing to botanical research. In this anniversary year, we aim to present our research and other activities to the public.

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