Herbarium

Herbarium

A herbarium is a museum of preserved plants that are used for botanical research. Each herbarium specimen is made up of a dried plant, mounted on archival paper, and affixed with a label providing descriptive data. Herbaria across the globe provide a permanent record of the diversity of the Earth's flora.

Staff

Peter Fritsch, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research / Director of the Herbarium

Tiana Franklin Rehman

Herbarium Collections Manager

Joe Lippert

Digitization Coordinator

The BRIT herbarium is open for public use by appointment, from 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday through Friday. Please contact us beforehand to make sure someone will be available to orient you and assist you if necessary. BRIT is closed on most national holidays.

Recent Articles

Holiday Botany: Poinsettia

The poinsettia is a quintessential part of typical holiday decor. Its bright red, burgundy, or white foliage are common sights in locations both private and public throughout the winter months, from apartment balconies and church altars to bank lobbies and coffeehouses. And as you can see in the specimen image below, not even time can wipe away the bright colors on the bracts, still distinguishable after 22 years in a cabinet. But do you know the history of poinsettias, the namesake of this most festive member of the Spurge Family? Before they were known as poinsettias, Euphorbia pulcherrima was known as cuitlaxochitlI to the Aztecs, who used the plant as a source for dyes and fever-reducing medicine. Following the arrival of Spanish influence in Mexico and Guatemala, the red blooms became...
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Botanical Research Institute of Texas Rescues Orphaned Herbarium at the University of Louisiana-Monroe

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (July 3, 2017) - The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is pleased to announce the nonprofit has been selected to receive almost half a million plant specimens that have been orphaned by the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). This acquisition will increase the total number of specimens housed by the institute to more than 1.3 million and will place BRIT’s herbarium among the top ten (in specimens housed) in the United States. The ULM collection represents more than 99 percent of the species in Louisiana’s vascular flora and is considered to be the state’s most complete record of plants. “BRIT’s herbarium was designed to house over two million plant specimens,” said Ed Schneider, president and executive director of BRIT. “Orphaned herbarium collections suc...
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The New Zealand Kauri

The New Zealand Kauri – Agathis australis – is a truly magnificent tree, revered in New Zealand by the native Maori and Europeans alike. The Kauri’s ancestors lived over 130 million years ago – making it one of the most ancient trees in the world! And the gargantuan trees can reach heights of over 160 feet tall and a diameter of over 66 feet across. The ancient Maori (native people of New Zealand) used Kauri wood to build boats, make carvings, weapons, and jewelry, and to build houses and public structures. The gum was used for many purposes as well, and the felling of one of these magnificent giants was usually accompanied by rituals. Having lived in New Zealand briefly, I was thrilled to discover that BRIT’s own herbarium has a specimen of one of these amazing trees! The specimen was col...
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Botanical Specimens with a Mysterious Past!

“Wow!” is the most frequent comment from visitors viewing the two oldest plant specimens in the BRIT Herbarium, both of which were collected by Dr. Thaddeus Haenke in 1791.
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Frontera, Texas

It's 1852 in the newly-formed Republic of Texas. A devoted botanist collects a Cryptantha oblata specimen in the forgotten town of Frontera...
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Youth Range Workshop 2016

Just imagine trying to keep up with 25 energetic, enthusiastic, inquisitive high school students for a week in the middle of a hot, dry summer in the semi-arid country around Junction, Texas. Well, I accepted that challenge even though it had been 35 years since the last time I did it!
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BRIT’s Computer Vision(aries)

High school students from Trinity Valley School spent their summer break utilizing their computer science skills to create a quick and easy way to determine the fullness of our herbarium cabinets.
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Survey of BRIT’s Tarrant County Bryophyte Collection

By Hanna Liebermann, Hendrix College biology student / BRIT intern, & Charles Gardner, bryophyte specialist / BRIT Research Associate A tiny world of wonder! (taken with an iPhone 6 through the microscope eyepiece) Bryophytes, defined by their lack of vascular tissue, are a category of smaller plants that include the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. With the exception of the few specialists who hold these groups dear and recognize their miniature complexity, the “bryos” are generally an unsung category of botanical study. Nevertheless, they are an extremely valuable section of BRIT’s collection, representative of local and global vegetation. While the majority of BRIT’s bryophyte collection has been scanned and the packet label information entered into the Symbiota database, little had b...
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