The Herbarium (ALA) contains more than 260,000 specimens of non-vascular and vascular plants and is the only major research herbarium in Alaska. The collection also includes plants from other states, Canada, Greenland, Fennoscandia, Japan, and Russia and provides a basis for teaching and research. Our botanical collection can be viewed and searched through the database ARCTOS.
The systematic collection of dried plants is a permanent physical record of Alaska's flora. Specimens are labeled with information about where, when, and by whom each specimen was collected as well as notes on its ecology. These data are computerized, allowing rapid access to information pertaining to the geographic extent, habitats occupied, and associated plants for any species.
The Herbarium consists of three main plant collections and several ancillary collections. Roughly two-thirds of the specimens are vascular plants (gymnosperms, fern and fern allies, flowering plants) and one-quarter are cryptogams (bryophytes and lichens). The remainder are marine algae and a small collection of fleshy fungi. The specimens have been dried, labeled, mounted, and filed according to widely accepted, international standards. They constitute permanent, physical records of the flora of Alaska, and are the basis for research on the taxonomy, ecology, and geography of Alaskan plants. Exchanges with other herbaria have provided comparative material from other parts of the circumpolar north.
Supporting collections derived from these specimens are 1) seeds, 2) pollen slides, and 3) microscope slides of plant parts (non vascular plants). Additionally there is a library of reprints, books, and journals in hard copy and fiche. Documentation of these collections are being entered in the computerized database, which is now the primary tool of herbarium management and research.
The collection serves teaching, research, and public service in Alaska and research at other similar institutions worldwide through a program of loans and exchanges. Students and faculty as well as visiting scientists work in the collection. It is our policy not to charge all faculty, staff, and students from universities, colleges, and museums from any state or country; staff of state and federal agencies; and qualified amateurs. We reserve the right to assess user charges to representatives of not-for-profit organizations and private industry at the discretion of the Curator(s) and with the approval of the Director of the Museum. However, we have not yet developed a policy covering such charges.