The Wichita State University Vascular Plant Collection includes over 4,000 specimens from the south central Great Plains region. Specimens were collected, identified, and cataloged by faculty and students of the WSU Department of Biological Sciences.
In our Virtual Herbarium, specimen-level data with associated herbarium image and/or field images are available. Specimen records include scientific name (labeled "Title"), common name (labeled "Other title"), collectors and catalogers (labeled "Authors”), date collected (labeled "Date issued"), as well as other data.
To open a specimen image, click on "View/Open" below a record. The link "Show full item record" leads to a full view of metadata including geographical coordinates (“Coverage Spacial” and “Verbatim Elevation”) and habitat information. Herbarium specimen images are zoomable, enabling study of details and characteristics.
Susan Matveyeva, Mary Liz Jameson and Leland Russell
The WSU Herbarium contains over 4,500 electronically data based specimens (as of spring 2009),
including both plants and lichens, and contributes to biological infrastructure of the state by making
specimen-level information accessible. Specimens in the collection provide data to address drivers of
ecological and biodiversity change as well as changes in climate, land use, and invasive species.
The beginnings of the modern Wichita State herbarium start with the arrival of Dr. Art Youngman to the
University in 1965. When he began teaching, the existing herbarium specimens were housed in open
cabinets in one of the teaching classrooms. Using class budgets, he acquired herbarium cabinets for the
storage of specimens. With the construction of Hubbard Hall in the late 1970’s, Dr. Youngman’s lab and
classroom facilities had ample room for a herbarium. This is where the first of the organization of the
herbarium began with specimen records on 5 x 8 index cards and a rough list of the specimens in the
collection. Some attempts were made during the 1980’s to move this information to a computerized format,
but were never completed.
After this time the herbarium was mostly neglected until the summer of 2007. Undergraduate students
James Culhane and Michele Spenser undertook an independent study with Dr. Youngman, which included
organizing the herbarium and moving all specimens to their new location. It quickly became apparent that
there was much to be done. James Culhane, and undergraduate students he oversaw, spent the next 6
semesters entering the specimens into an Excel spreadsheet, mounting and identifying stored specimens,
and updating nomenclature.
This work was the foundation for the digitalization project being led by Drs. Mary Liz Jameson and Leland