The University of Florida Herbarium Specimen Collections provides digital images for selected specimens from the Florida Museum of Natural History / University of Florida Herbarium. Additional images and information are available through the University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS) collections catalog is a searchable database of ca. 30,000 of the 400,000 herbarium specimens on file in the vascular plant and bryophyte and lichen collections. The catalog is cross-linked with the University of Florida Herbarium Type Specimens Catalog where type details are provided.
The University of Florida Herbarium is the oldest (est. 1891) and most comprehensive herbarium in Florida with around 470,000 specimens. It is the 4th largest herbarium in the southeastern United States. Its acronym,"FLAS", is derived from its affiliation with the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. The principal holdings of the FLAS Herbarium include approximately 240,000 vascular plants (including both pressed/mounted specimens and the seed collection), 160,000 bryophytes and lichens, 56,500 fungi, and 15,300 wood samples. The collection includes specimens from every continent except Antarctica, but the geographic focus of the collection is circum-Caribbean and Neotropical (with an emphasis on Florida, the coastal plain of the southeastern U.S., Haiti, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Brazil). In addition, the FLAS Herbarium includes a library of 5000 books, 50 serial titles, 10,000 reprints, 500 microfiche titles, 500 maps, and 1000 botanical illustrations. The herbarium's collections are actively growing; approximately 2500 plant specimens and 500 library items are added each year.
Like all museum collections, herbarium specimens are stored in perpetuity. The successful long-term storage of specimens necessitates specialized materials, procedures, and facilities. For example, mounting and label papers, folders, storage boxes, inks, and adhesives must all be archival. This means that they lack acids and other constituents that may cause the specimens to degrade over time. To further minimize degradation, specimens are stored in tightly sealed metal cabinets, which are periodically treated with an insecticidal fumigant. Maintaining a cool, dry storage environment helps reduce the risk of insect and fungal damage to specimens. All incoming plant materials, including both field collections and loans of mounted specimens, are frozen at -5° F for 7 days to kill pests.