Emory University Herbarium is open to visitors of all types: professional, amateur botanists, students, and the general public. However, the use of specimens, equipment, and facilities is strictly governed by the following policies and procedures. Anyone needing access, it is strongly suggested that you contact before coming to the herbarium.

  • Hours of Operation:

The Herbarium is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The herbarium is closed all federal and state holidays.

Open Visitation Hours: Visitors may drop-in between the hours of 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Thursday. However, to ensure that your needs can be met, you are strongly encouraged to contact the GEO Collections Manager ahead of your visit.

After-hours access: Unless special arrangements have been made with the Curator, only researchers with a key may be in the herbarium after hours. Before leaving the facility, after-hours users have the responsibility to switch off all lights and lock all doors.

  • Visitation Policies:

Visitors must enter and leave through the herbarium workroom (Rm 102) and sign the guest book near the door each day. Smoking, pets, and food or beverages are prohibited in the herbarium facilities. Live plants should be brought to the herbarium workroom (Rm 102) only after notifying and receiving permission from herbarium staff. Live plants are prohibited in the herbarium permanent collections (Rm 100D). Field clothing, including outerwear and field shoes, should not be worn in the herbarium permanent collections (Rm 100D). Bags and hats are prohibited in the herbarium permanent collections (Rm 100D) and may be safely stored in the herbarium workroom (Rm 102).

  • Acquisitions

New acquisitions result primarily from 1) local and regional field collections by the Emory University faculty, staff, students and professional botanists, permanent and visiting research scholars 2) standing exchange programs with other herbaria worldwide, 3) specimens sent as gifts for determination to Emory University researchers, 4) gifts from non-academic professionals and native plant enthusiasts.

All collectors associated with the GEO are expected to obtain legal permits before undertaking any collection program. The herbarium has a CITES scientific exchange permit and a Plant Import Permit (APHIS).  We have a blanket permit from the Georgia DNR allowing designated staff and associated students to carry out collection programs in all Georgia State Parks and Natural Areas.

  • Gifts & Exchange

Many specimens are acquired by exchanges and gifts through our exchange program with other herbaria. The herbarium also acquires an orphaned herbarium or donated personal collections

GEO accepts almost all materials received as exchanges, gifts, or project vouchers, and encourages new contacts and the opening of new exchange accounts. We have exercised on occasion, however, the right to discard, return, or relay to more appropriate institutions material deemed unsuitable for GEO or of greater interest or utility elsewhere. Our acquisition policy reflects the research aims of the staff and the needs of the state, region, and nation.

  • Use Policies:

Use of Online Collections Data: Data from all specimen databases are freely accessible via a number of websites. The information on all vascular herbarium specimen is available via the SERNEC portal (https://sernecportal.org/portal/) and iDiGBio portal (https://www.idigbio.org/). Data from special collections located on partner websites; lichen specimens are available through The Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH) website [http://lichenportal.org/portal/], bryophyte collection through The Consortium of North American Bryophyte Herbaria (CNABH) website Specific locality data from specimens of endangered, threatened, and special concern species is not available via the web site. Requests for these data require prior approval from Georgia Department of Natural Resources (https://gadnr.org/).

On-site Collection Use: Individuals wishing to use the herbarium collection on-site must make prior arrangements with herbarium staff to have a training session to ensure proper removal and replacement of specimens in collection cabinets. Specimens must be kept in the permanent collection room (Rm 102) unless expressly permitted by Curator or Collections Manager.

  • Do not bend or tear the folders or specimens, and do not flip the specimens upside down, nor slide the specimens across each other. Do not turn them over like pages in a book.
  • Please close herbarium cases when not in use.
  • Material such as pollen, leaves, and wood must not be removed from herbarium specimens without prior written consent; refer to the Loan and Destructive Sampling Policy for details.
  • Dissections or loose plant fragments should be put into packets attached to the sheet. Additional packets are available from the staff.

Visiting specialists are encouraged to annotate specimens using permanent ink on annotation labels. Pens and labels are available from the herbarium staff. Please provide the name of the investigator and date of annotation. Clip annotation labels to packets or sheets and the staff will glue them. Alternatively, leave the determinations on the top of the stack of specimens and the staff will make and attach the annotation labels.

Loans: Specimens will only be loaned through another herbarium. Individuals desiring specimen loans should make arrangements to receive and return the loan through their local herbarium. Local herbaria may  contact Collections Manager to process specimen loans, unless researcher desires destructive sampling, which requires Curator approval. All loan requests should be accompanied by a detailed description of loan use. All loans to GEO must be requested through the Collections Manager or Curator. Refer to the Loan and Destructive Sampling policy for details.

Destructive Sampling: All requests for destructive sampling of specimens must be approved by the Curator. Users will be expected to provide a detailed project description and justification for desired sampling. Refer to the Loan and Destructive Sampling policy for details.

Equipment Use: Researchers may contact herbarium staff to arrange use of GEO equipment, including field presses and pressing supplies, books, scopes, herbarium computers and imaging station, etc. All equipment users are required to schedule a training session with the Collections Manager.

Copyrights: The data and images presented on this website are copyrighted by the Emory Herbarium (GEO), which shall remain the sole and exclusive owner of all rights, title, and interest in and to all specifically copyrighted information created and posted.  Use and reproduction of these data and/or maps is authorized for educational or other noncommercial purposes without prior permission from the copyright holder, but acknowledgment must be given to the Emory Herbarium.  Use or reproduction of the data and/or maps for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written permission of the copyright holders. Please e-mail the Herbarium Curator for permission requests or questions about use of these digital data.

Publication and Acknowledgements: All specimens used in publications must be cited to GEO in the sampling table and text. Any use of GEO facilities that enabled the publication must be acknowledged in the “Acknowledgements” section. All researchers must provide one free electronic copy of any publication using GEO collections or facilities to herbarium staff.

  • Deaccession Policy

Specimens are rarely deaccessioned and are culled while being reviewed by a curator prior to data basing and barcoding. Only those specimens with no locality and collection data, and are not of historical importance, are selected for culling. Where appropriate (flowering or fruiting) the specimen is transferred to the GEO Botany teaching herbarium.