In order to conserve plant species, it is necessary to identify the plants that exist in a region and know where rare species are located. Taxonomy is fundamental to all other research efforts.
The Garden's Nancy Poole Rich Herbarium is a reference collection of preserved plants serving these functions:
The Garden's herbarium has the capacity to house 33,000 herbarium specimens. Currently it houses about 12,000 specimens. This includes specimens from the following:
With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Garden, in partnership with The Morton Arboretum and the Field Museum of Natural History, is making its herbarium database and images of representative specimens available on vPlants: The Chicago Regional Virtual Herbarium.