Peter Fritsch, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research / Director of the Herbarium

Tiana Franklin Rehman

Herbarium Collections Manager

Diego Barroso

TORCH TCN Project Manager

Ashley Bordelon

Digitization Coordinator

Tessa Boucher

Herbarium Digitization Technician

Rachel Carmickle

Herbarium Technician

Kelly Carroll

Herbarium Digitization Technician

Jessica Lane

Herbarium Assistant

Joe Lippert

Digitization Coordinator

Natch Rodriguez

Herbarium Digitization Technician

The BRIT Herbarium contains approximately 1,445,000 plant specimens from around the world, making it one of the largest herbaria in the United States. More can be found about the collections by visiting the About the BRIT Herbarium page.

The BRIT Herbarium is open for public use by appointment, from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday 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. 

Read more in the thumbnails below the video.



Recent Articles

Muir, Muir...In Our Halls

It was 1875, and John Muir was a busy man. He was already well-known for his journeys through central and northern California. His writing was published in newspapers and magazines around the country. But he still had time to help someone else. Portrait of John Muir in about 1880 (Credit: Taber and Boyd, Wikimedia) A colleague, John Redfield, wrote to Muir asking for specimens to add to his collection. John Muir wrote back in May of 1875 and promised to collect in a few weeks. True to his word, Muir collected plant specimens in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and sent them to Redfield for study later that year. They continued to correspond about the collections and other scientific pursuits for the next few years. Dryopteris arguta specimen collected in California by John Muir in 1875 Joh...
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Encounters with Plants that BITE!

In late 2018, the BRIT Philecology Herbarium received funds from the National Science Foundation Grant: “Endless Forms most beautiful and most wonderful” to digitize collections of species across 15 plant families that have unique adaptations and morphologies. These plants may live in extreme and highly specific environments that face elevated risks of extinction in the rapidly changing climate that we’re seeing today. Dozens of herbaria across the United States are digitizing their collections representing these peculiar families in an effort to aid in research about their evolutionary history, ecology, conservation tactics, and more. Some of the groups of plants that fall under this grant include epiphytes (such as orchids), succulents (cacti and some euphorbs), and carnivores! The carni...
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Ferns & Lycophytes of the BRIT Herbarium

Ferns and lycophyte specimens in the BRIT herbarium. Many herbaria in the world are represented by curators and research communities that are very familiar with the character and content of their collections, but very few of these have access to accurate numbers and specimen inventories. Digitization funding is a game changer that will provide us with the means to better preserve the collections we hold in public trust. A digitized specimen is a tool that allows access to scientific vouchers and observations that span hundreds of years – an essential component to research that deals with past environmental change and future models. The Philecology Herbarium at the Botanical Research Institute is one of 36 herbaria and museums throughout the U.S. representing the Pteridopytes Collections Co...
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Will the real four-leaf clover please stand up?!

There are many plant species bearing the iconic clover look in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The true lucky clover is believed to be the white clover of the legume family - Trifolium repens . Although Trifolium is derived from the Latin words tres (three) and folium (leaf), a unique genetic mutation causes some plants to grow an additional leaflet! A simple Google search will tell you the likelihood of a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. However, it was not until 2017 that a study was conducted by enthusiasts to see if this number was accurate. They found the frequency to really be 1 in 5,076 ! This is not the only surprise this species brings to the table. Some of these plants across the world not only grow one extra leaflet, but sometimes up to 8 leaflets. There is even a Guinness Worl...
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(En)TADA! The herbarium holds specimens of the LONGEST legumes in the world

The BRIT Philecology Herbarium is composed of a melting pot of several orphaned collections across the south and southeast. In addition to those large collections, we also receive specimens through active exchange programs with more than one hundred herbaria across the world. Each of our large collections - BRIT/SMU (Southern Methodist University), VDB (Vanderbilt), and NLU (University of Louisiana at Monroe) - complete one another by filling in geographical and taxonomic gaps of their holdings. Sea hearts ( Entada) These heart-shaped seeds were found in a wood collection acquired from Houston Public Museum. The seeds come from plants in the genus Entada in the legume family (Fabaceae). These plants are typically woody vines, or lianas, that establish themselves along beaches and rivers. T...
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Rows (and Rose) of Wood!

The BRIT herbarium has acquired a unique collection of wood specimens (a xylarium) that curators have been organizing over the past few months to make it accessible to researchers and the public. These specimens come in all shapes, cuts, sizes, and varieties of woody plants from across the world! Seven of these specimens that bore no labels or data were brought to curators’ attention and were a complete mystery until more investigating and research was done. The mystery specimens were uncovered to be host roots for Dactylanthus taylorrii – a fully flowering parasitic plant found only in New Zealand. This “wood rose” attaches itself to the roots of trees and shrubs and warps the bark into a rose-like appearance. Read more about the xylarium and this curious specimen...
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A Ferntastic Day with NLU

On Sunday, February 25th, BRIT staff had the pleasure of hosting members of the Southwestern Fern Society, our local chapter of the American Fern Society, for a volunteer day. Six volunteers worked hard to organize and sort ferns and lycophytes from the recently acquired University of Louisiana at Monroe’s (NLU) herbarium collection. Ferns and lycophytes (once referred to as “fern allies”) are two special groups of plants that do not have flowers or seeds but rather reproduce by spores. Happy volunteers and BRIT staff hold "golden tickets" found among the collections. Tickets were exchanged for fun prizes! NLU Collections Assistants Miranda Madrid and Ashley Bordelon and BRIT Research Botanist Dr. Alejandra Vasco led the group on a tour of BRIT’s plant preservation studio, digitization stu...
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All Sealed Up

One of the first steps in curating the NLU collection is ensuring its security. Herbarium specimens are vulnerable to damage from light, bugs, rodents, dust, and water. The metal cabinets used to store herbarium specimens are designed to protect from these damaging elements conveniently and easily – but only if they are in good shape and sealed airtight. Each cabinet of the 328 total we received from the university was inspected to confirm that it was performing its job. Of the 336, there were 156 cabinets with seals that appeared damaged or deteriorated. We decided to make a plan to fix this problem before moving forward with the curation process. Adhesive turned out to be a lot trickier to remove than anticipated! Trying to just peel it off with fingers was frustrating and, frankly, woul...
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