Herbarium Policies (abstracted)

Lynka Woodbury, Curator of the Herbarium
Revised 1999-03-29

Visiting the Herbarium

The herbarium is open to consultation by all qualified visitors although the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden reserves the right to restrict entry to all or part of the collection to any visitor. The herbarium also reserves the right to impose requirements for use of the herbarium as outlined in this document. Permission to use the physical collections must be obtained from the Keeper of the Herbarium or the Collections Manager prior to use. All visitors are expected to sign the guestbook log on every entry. All visitors are expected to fill out a collections use log sheet for every project. Both the guestbook and use logs should be completed in archival ink. The herbarium doors should never be propped open and should remain locked whenever possible. The herbarium should not be used as a hallway to get from one end of the Research Center to the other unless the classroom is in use. Never bring food or any plant material that has not first been frozen by the herbarium staff into the herbarium, even if you are just passing through.

Use of Collections in the Herbarium

All specimens should be handled carefully and gently according to standard herbarium practice, sheets should never be bent, turned over or shuffled. Removal of plant material from a packet on a sheet is allowable as long as all material is returned to the sheet after use. Material should never be removed from more than one packet at a time. Removal of any material from a sheet other than the contents of a packet is expressly forbidden without written permission from the Keeper. Specimens needing repair or showing any type of damage by insects or abuse should be brought to the immediate attention of the staff. Visitors are expected to be fully acquainted with the organization of the herbarium and to re-file their specimens correctly after use. If there is any question as to the re-filing of specimens please leave them for a staff member to re-file. Specimens are never to be left out overnight and should never be removed from the herbarium room proper. Cabinet doors should be opened as little as possible. Never leave cabinet doors open for extended periods.


Qualified investigators are encouraged to annotate specimens in the herbarium whenever useful information can be added. Annotation is especially encouraged when a determination can be improved or updated, or when the investigator can add to the label data from information obtained from a duplicate. Every sheet of a multiple sheet collection should be annotated. Annotation labels should be typed or hand written with archival ink on acid-free paper. Note that ink jet printers do not produce archival labels and are strongly discouraged. Annotations should include the date and full name of the annotator.


The investigator agrees as a requirement for use of the collections that copies of any and all publications resulting from the use of the FTG collections will be provided to the herbarium. The investigator also agrees to cite the herbarium in all publications resulting from research that included the use of the collections.


The herbarium makes loans to qualified institutions, not individuals. The herbarium reserves the right to limit the extent and content of these loans. Accessioned material of any kind is never to be removed from the herbarium without the proper paperwork which includes a written request (on paper - not email, fax, phone etc.) and the written permission of the Curator. Loans are generally made for a period of one year and are expected to be returned after that time. Extensions may be requested in some circumstances.

Giving Specimens to the Herbarium

The herbarium accepts gifts as determined appropriate by the Keeper. All specimens must be collected and imported legally and in accordance with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Policy on the Convention on Biodiversity. Appropriate permit numbers must be included on the labels. All specimens must be dried according to standard herbarium practice. Air drying is preferable when possible. The herbarium accepts some other types of specimens as well (pickled, Silica dried for DNA etc.), if they are accompanied by standard vouchers. Labels should include all relevant information according to standard herbarium practice and should always include the latitude and longitude of the collection locality. The herbarium has Global Positioning System (GPS) units for short term loan to qualified collectors who donate their specimens to the Herbarium. Labels must either be typed on acid free paper (do not use ink jet printers or photocopies) or preferably provided to the herbarium on diskette in an electronic database compatible with the herbarium's collection database (computers with Plabel are provided in the herbarium). Please consult with the Keeper for other appropriate programs and formats. All material becomes the property of the herbarium. The herbarium does not maintain private collections.

Commercial Enterprises

The herbarium does not normally charge for use of the collections by researchers working in a non profit environment unless extraordinary amounts of staff time or resources are involved. Businesses or individuals consulting the herbarium in endeavors for profit must negotiate compensation for services with the Curator and the Director of Research prior to commencement of work.

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