San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSan Diego Natural History Museum Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias: Botany Department


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The Botanical Type Specimen Collection

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The Botanical Type Specimen Collection
What is a Type Specimen?
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The type collection at the SD Herbarium contains about 400 specimens of vascular plants. As in the general herbarium collection, the emphasis of the type collection is on plants of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico. Because the San Diego Society of Natural History dates back to the earliest scientific explorations of these regions, our collection holds types collected by pioneer botanists like Daniel Cleveland, Charles Orcutt, Edward Palmer, the Brandegees, and others.

Taxonomic strengths of the collection naturally reflect the interests of researchers associated with the department. Our strong holdings in the Cactaceae result from the work of George Lindsay, Reid Moran, and Jon Rebman. Dr. Moran's research produced many types in the Crassulaceae. We also have a large set of Eriogonum types given to us by James Reveal.

In addition to the type specimens, we have about 50 photographs of type specimens held at other institutions, mostly in the research specialty areas of the department staff.

In 2000, we added a searchable database of the SD type collection (excluding photos) to the website for the benefit of researchers. Our loan policy is to lend type specimens only for taxonomic research, not for general floristic or ecological work.

We will be happy to answer questions about these specimens, and we welcome information that will help us clarify the status of any of our specimens. Please write to us at