DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY
History of the Poaceae collections in the United States National Herbarium (US)
The grass collection began as part of the USDA, Division of Agrostology. The USDA grass herbarium was later incorporated into Smithsonian Institution Department of Botany, as the United States National Herbarium. There are now nearly half-a-million grass specimens in the US herbarium. The collection has had continuous, often overlapping, curation by Agrostologists from 1872 to present. The collection contains over 1300 type specimens. The collection is worldwide in scope, with nearly every genus represented by at least one specimen. It is comprehensive for species of North America and Mexico, and includes the vast majority of other Latin American species. For the rest of the world the collection is rich in historical material sent as gifts from European herbaria or bought in sets of exsiccatae, and a several government funded collection expedition. The collection is still growing. Peterson and Soreng have added nearly 35,000 collections since 1988, from Arctic Canada and Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Europe, Tanzania, Turkey, Russian Caucasus and Far East., Kyrgyz Republic, China, and Australia. This extensive collection makes US a focus for grass research around the world.