From Plant Press, Vol. 19, No. 4, October 2016.
By Janelle M. Burke, Howard University and Howard University Herbarium
In August 2016, Howard University received a donation of ten herbarium cases from the Smithsonian’s Department of Botany. These custom-built cases will replace the previous cases that were no longer functional. The donation will be used to continue to keep the specimens well-preserved and serve as a source for many student projects.
Howard University graduate student Kirstie Grant (left) and undergraduate student Morinne Osborne at work in the Howard University Herbarium. (photo by Janelle Burke)
The Howard University Herbarium (HUDC) is a collection of ca. 15,000 plant specimens housed in Just Hall on Howard University’s main campus in Washington, D.C. The HUDC herbarium has strengths in collections from the Caribbean (especially Trinidad), District of Columbia and surrounding environs. Collection strengths include the DC Metropolitan region, the Loasaceae and pteridophyte collections.
Janelle Burke (Smithsonian Research Associate) serves as the Director of the Herbarium. Since her arrival at HU in 2013, Burke has been actively contributing to the collection, through local and international expeditions. The collection is a source for several active student projects, including a comparative study of the Flora of Wheaton Park (Maryland) and a synopsis of the Caribbean flora collection.
Burke recently received an award through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to digitize the mid-Atlantic specimens of this collection as part of the Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis (MAM) Project. This project will digitize, image, and database the ca. 3,000 mid-Atlantic specimens housed at HUDC.