Joseph F. Rock Herbarium
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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is Joseph F. Rock?
Ans. Joseph Rock arrived to Honolulu in 1907 at the age of 23, where he became the Territory’s first botanist. He was appointed as UH (College of Agriculture) faculty in 1911 and was responsible for creating the first university herbarium. He served as the curator from 1911-1920, and quickly became an authority on the local flora. His botanical knowledge was largely self-taught, nevertheless, Rock's contributions to Hawaiian botany were significant.

Q. What is a herbarium?
A herbarium is a collection of preserved plants stored, catalogued, and arranged systematically for study by professionals and amateurs from many walks of life

Q. Are herbarium new libraries?
Ans. A herbarium is a collection of dried plant specimens, which are used for scientific study and as a reference collection of named plants. The practice of pressing plants between sheets of paper and drying them is 500 years old. Thanks to this simple technique, most of the characteristics of living plants are visible on the dried plant. The few that are not (e.g. flower colour, scent, height of a tree, vegetation type, etc.) are put on the label by the collector.

Q. How do I prepare a herbarium plant specimen?

Q. How do I prepare a algae specimen?

Q. How do I make a label?
Ans. A new web-based label maker has been developed for students. Click here...

Q. I have a scientific name with cf., what does cf. mean?
Ans. cf. is an abbreviation for the Latin words "confer", and means bring together or compare.

Q. Where do I buy plant pressing supplies?
Visit the Herbarium Supply Company for infomration pertiaining to plant pressing and field supplies.

Q. Where are the largest plant specimen collections in the world
Ans. The largest herbarium in the world is in Paris, France with almost 9 million specimens. The largest herbarium in the US is found at the New York Botanical Garden.

Museum of Natural History, Paris, France
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Geneva, Switzerland
Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden
British Museum of Natural History, London, England
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri
US National Herbarium (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.
University of Montpellier, France
The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Note: Considering the more than 3,240 herbaria in 165 countries throughout the world, approximately 250,000,000
specimens are housed worldwide.

Herbaria are often closely linked to historic archives and libraries. Botanists often need to consult specimens and reference books of floras at the same time. Much of the literature is out of print but it is increasingly becoming digitized. Below is a list of useful taxonomic web sites.

Online Taxonomic Resources
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website - Missouri Botanical Garden
The International Plant Names Index (IPNI)
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
USDA Plants database
Encyclopedia of Life
Tree of Life Web Project

International Code of Botanical Nomenclature

Reference Web Sites
Index Herbariorum - A Global Directory of Public Herbaria and Associated Staff
Index of Botanists - Plant name authors, collectors, and publication authors are in a single resource.
International Association of Plant Taxonomists

LINNE - Legacy Infrastructure Network for Natural Environments
American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Society of Herbarium Curators
Tropical Tree Seed Manual

TAXACOM - Biological Systematics and Biocollections Computerization Discussion List.
HERBARIA - building and sustaining a broad basis of support for herbaria.

Open to Visitors by Appointment | Contact | Index Hebariorum | Hawaii Museum Association
Department of Botany, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way,
Room 401 - St. John Plant Science Laboratory, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96822
Phone: 808.956.4168 Fax: 808.956-3923

A member of the University of Hawai'i Museum Consortium

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