The Herbarium at Amistad National Recreation Area
ABOUT THE HERBARIUM
Amistad National Recreation Area (AMIS) maintains a herbarium collection on-site in its museum building, storing the plant collections that have accumulated through field work carried out by park personnel and other researchers. The scope of the herbarium collection encompasses vascular plants found within AMIS.
The purpose of the herbarium collection is to document species occurrence within the park to aid park scientists and botany researchers with an on-site reference collection for plant identification, distribution, and abundance.
There are over 700 documented species on the park’s vascular plant list. The goal for the herbarium is to have a representative collection of each species of plant that is on the park’s list, in the form of a voucher specimen. A voucher specimen will meet herbarium standards including adequate plant material (flowers and/or fruits as well as stems, leaves, and sometimes roots) and complete collection data. The plant collections are prepared for permanent storage following standard herbarium protocols.
Of special interest for collection efforts are species with historic records (from over 50 years ago) and no recent vouchers. There are plants documented from the vicinity of AMIS from as long as 150 years ago.
STATUS OF COLLECTION
As of the fall season of 2016, the AMIS herbarium houses representative collections of over 400 species in 268 genera and 81 families. The best represented taxa documented in the herbarium are:
- The Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), with 44 species in 35 genera
- The Grass Family (Poaceae), with 35 species in 22 genera
- The Legume Family (Fabaceae), with 31 species in 19 genera
Other well represented families include the Verbena Family (Verbenaceae), the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae) and the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae).
In addition to the AMIS herbarium, the A. Michael Powell Herbarium (SRSC) at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas has been the principal repository for duplicate collections, with additional collections stored at the Plant Resource Center at UT Austin (TEX).
Altogether, there are over 1,500 plant collections in the park’s museum records.