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Plants and Fungi of Puerto Rico

The New York Botanical Garden's William and Lynda Steere Herbarium contains many specimens from Puerto Rico, both historical and recent. The number of Puerto Rican specimens of algae, bryophytes, fungi, lichens and vascular plants housed at The Garden is estimated to exceed 100,000. To date, approximately 8000 of these have been cataloged, and are available for searching.

The flora of Puerto Rico was a particular emphasis of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Britton, founders of The Garden. In 1906 the Brittons began the first of their annual botanical expeditions to the Caribbean; these continued until 1933. In addition to their own collecting and research, the Brittons were the force behind The Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the first systematic natural history survey in the Caribbean region. A summary of the importance of the Britton's botanical research in Puerto Rico can be found in Sastre-De Jesus and Santiago-Valentin, Botanical explorations of Puerto Rico by N. L. Britton and E. G. Britton: their significance in plant conservation, horticulture, and education. Brittonia 48: 322-336. 1996.

The Archives in The LuEsther T. Mertz Library contain a significant body of unpublished information relating to the Puerto Rican flora. Among these are over 700 original watercolors painted by Frances Horne, which were meant to accompany the unfinished Flora Borinquena, popular account of the plants of Puerto Rico that Britton was working on at the time of his death. Britton's typescript manuscript for the flora is also on deposit in the Archives, as are notes, correspondence, field notebooks, and photo albums from the Britton era.

The goal of the current project is to develop a deep resource for Natural and Cultural History of Puerto Rico by combining in this Virtual Herbarium catalog digitized specimen data, publications, and unpublished archival information from The New York Botanical Garden, in collaboration with various Puerto Rican institutions and collaborative biodiversity research projects focusing on the Caribbean basin.

New York Botanical Garden Sources of Information about Puerto Rico: To search by the name of the plant or fungus (family, genus, species, or subspecific epithet), author, collector, collector number, barcode number, or type status, use the Quick Search box below. To search one or more specific fields in the database, choose the Detailed Search.

 Basic Search


 Advanced Search
(most recent determination)
Scientific Name
(most recent determination)
Searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
(most recent determination)
(most recent determination)
(most recent determination)
(all determinations)
Scientific Name
(all determinations)
Searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
(all determinations)
(all determinations)
(all determinations)
Common Name
Determiner Searches initials and last name.
Collector Searches initials and last name.
Collection Number
Collection Date
(dd mm yyyy)
One or more may be used to search the collection date.
Continent Examples: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America, West Indies
Country Avoid abbreviations. Examples: Netherlands Antilles; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; United States of America
State/Province Avoid abbreviations. Examples: Mato Grosso do Sul; Nevada; Santa Catarina
Precise Location
Plant Description
Barcode Unique NY-assigned specimen barcode number
Type Status "Holotype," "Isotype," etc.
Records with Images Limits searches to only those records with images or other multimedia attachments.
Records Per Page

Search Tips

Searches in the Virtual Herbarium are by default word-based. The fastest searches are made by using whole words as the criteria. Wildcard characters can be used to find partial words, but search times will be significantly longer.

Use an asterisk (*) as a substitute for any number of characters in a word. (Example: "South*" in the Province/State field will return specimen records from "New South Wales," "South Carolina," etc.)

Use an exclamation mark before a word to specifically exclude that word from the search. (Example: "Collybia" in the Genus field and "!rupicola" in the Species field will return all records of Collybia except Collybia rupicola.)

Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Words not enclosed by quotation marks will be used to return records with all of the words, but not necessarily in the order typed.

*The Scientific Name field searches the genus, species, infraspecies, and author abbreviations of a name.
Example 1: the search term "aurea" finds specimens of Dasyscypha aurea, and Scleroderma aurea.
Example 2: the term "Massee" finds specimen records of numerous taxa described by George Massee.

Author abbreviations can be found using Harvard University Herbaria's Index of Botanists.

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