Overview of the Steere Herbarium
The William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden is the foundation of the Garden's botanical research program. The Herbarium holds a vast collection of preserved plant specimens filed according to a standardized system of classification. All plant groups -- flowering plants, conifers, ferns, mosses, fungi, lichens, liverworts and algae -- are represented by specimens collected in all parts of the world, but the greatest strength of the Herbarium is the Americas, where The Garden's research has been foscused.
Over the last century, The Garden has created one of the most active, best-curated, and most comprehensive herbaria in the world. Containing more than 7.2 million specimens, it is the fourth largest in the world, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Its collections are being augmented constantly by collections made by The Garden's staff and by gifts, purchases and exchanges of specimens from other herbaria.
The Steere herbarium is one of the most frequently used of the approximately 3000 herbaria in the world. The Herbarium is consulted the nearly 200 research projects of Garden scientists and students and, and an average of 150 visitors travel to New York each year to use the collection, spending on average 1200 person-days per year. Additionally, 30,000 to 50,000 specimens are loaned annually to scientsts at other institutions.