About the Collection

The Bell Museum is home to a sizeable plant collection—plant specimens number over 700,000 with samples of vegetative parts, cones, fruit, and seeds. The representation of Minnesota's flora is unparalleled, with over 160,000 specimens collected throughout Minnesota's history by Etlar Nielson, Olga Lakela, John W. Moore, Welby Smith, and many others. The record of historic flora of the Upper Midwest (including the Dakotas, Wisconsin, and southwestern Ontario) is among the best in the United States

There is an excellent collection of circumboreal and arctic flora due to past research interests of E. C. Abbe, W. S. Cooper, D. Lawrence, and their students. Additionally there is a collection of historic Pacific Island flora, through the efforts of J. Tilden, A. A. Heller, and J. W. Moore, and a collection of early Amazonian flora by H. H. Rusby and R. Squires as part of the early exploration (1895-1896) of the Orinoco River delta by the Orinoco Company Ltd. (of Minnesota). J. W. Congdon's collection (over 9,000 specimens) of early California plants (including Yosemite National Park) and approximately 7,000 species of early western U.S. and tropical Asia flora acquired through J. H. Sandberg's exchanges are other significant collections.

Our herbarium collections continue to expand each year with new specimens, particularly from the Minnesota Biological Survey (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) and a tropical rain forest research program in Papua New Guinea coordinated by George Weiblen and colleagues.

Collecting Guidelines (.pdf)

Services Offered

Minnesota Flora

Search for Herbarium Specimens

University of Minnesota Herbarium

Volunteer Opportunities

A Historic Time

2014 marked the 125th anniversary of the University of Minnesota Herbarium and Department of Plant Biology. Read more about the role of the herbarium today (.pdf) and its history (.pdf).

Inquiries about the collection may be directed to:

Or contact a curator
Dr. George Weiblen, Bell Museum Science Director, Curator of Plants and Professor, (612) 624-3461;
Dr. Ya Yang, Assitant Herbarium Curator,

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas

Over 400,000 scientific records and up to 175,000 high-resolution images make up our extensive online database.

This searchable interface integrates data on birds, mammals, fishes, plants, and fungi to provide public collections access and enhance agencies' capacity to perform a range of activities from biological surveys to conservation planning.