The herbarium’s official visiting hours are 9:30 a.m. – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and closed all federal and state holidays. Directions and a map are provided here. Any member of the public is welcome to use the herbarium. If you have not visited the herbarium previously, we ask that you make an appointment with us by calling us at (404) 727-4865 or emailing the collections manager.

Prior to your first visit, we ask that you review our GEO Policies. Of special note, incoming plant material must be dried and frozen in the workroom (Room 102) prior to being added to the herbarium cabinets in room 100D. This is critical for pest control and safety of the collection. We have a plant drier and a -40C freezer available in the workroom to be used for this purpose. All new specimens should also be accompanied by a completed Excel spreadsheet template that contains label information such as the date of collection, botanical name of the plant (if known), location of collection, and etc. Contact the collections manager for a copy of the template.

Viewing and Handling the Herbarium Specimens

First time visitors are required to receive a short training session on the proper handling of herbarium specimens prior to being given access to the physical collection. Some general rules to follow are that:

  • All specimens must be stored in herbarium cabinets when not in use.
  • When looking through the specimen folders, please do not turn herbarium specimens over like book pages. All specimens should be kept face-up.
  • Please keep track of where you take specimens from in the cabinets and re-file them carefully. The misfiling of specimens can result in the specimens being lost for decades.
  • No food, drinks or live plants are permitted in the herbarium. See our GEO Policies for more information.

Plant Identification Services

Following introductory training on safe handling of the collections,  anyone can use our facilities to identify plants they have collected, and we are happy to assist you by pointing you to the correct family or genus, showing you how to use the microscopes and collections, and providing you with appropriate identification keys. Fresh plant material can be examined in our identification lab (Room 102). Dried material needs to be frozen for one week, before it can enter our main collection and plant identification lab. Please email the collections manager, Dr. Tharanga Samarakoon to make arrangements for freezing specimens.

If you need our staff to identify plant samples for you, we ask that you leave your sample with us along with the completed Excel spreadsheet template (available by email from the collection manager) containing the label information. Samples that are dropped off in person for identification can be fresh or dried. Plants mailed to us for identification should be flattened in folded newspaper or taped to paper and securely fastened between two cardboards and sent in a padded envelope or box. Plants placed in plastic bags and sent through the mail often mold. With any sample, please include as much information as possible and your contact information (email preferred).  Note that plant identification (specimen taxonomic identification) and processing services are fee-based (Emory: $50/hr; Non-Emory: $75/hr). Please refer to the Policies and Fees page for more information.

Researchers Wishing to Press, Dry, and Donate Plant Specimens

We have plant presses that can be checked out by Emory users for several months at a time. If you need a plant press for a year or longer, it is best to purchase your own. We are happy to instruct you in correct plant press use and specimen preparation, and we have a plant drier that you can use, pending space availability, in room 102. For Emory Users, we request a $50 deposit for use of the press, refundable upon return.  For Non-Emory Users, a $50 deposit is also required (refundable upon return) in addition to a monthly rental fee of $15. Contact the collections manager if you have any questions about renting a press.

Use of the Herbarium Library

The herbarium has a modest reference library that is available for use by herbarium visitors. Please note that no books may be checked out or removed from the Herbarium Library. Guests are welcome to use the library during our normal visiting hours.

Consulting for Educators

As a part of the GEO outreach mission, we are able to provide some limited consulting and training in botanical lesson plans to educators and schools (K-12 and college students). Some of these services may be subject to a fee, but each is determined on a case-by-case basis pending staff resources and availability. If you would like assistance with how to incorporate botany into your lesson plans, or would like to schedule an educator training workshop, please contact the curator, Dr. Cassandra Quave by email: cquave [at] emory [dot] edu

Education and Research Grant Proposals

Herbarium staff are available to assist with grant proposals that will incorporate either use of the herbarium collection or staff services (i.e. depositing, processing, and identifying new specimens, digitizing specimens, reviewing the existing collection, etc). We encourage you to contact the curator (cquave [at] emory [dot] edu) early in the grant writing process.