Updated 7/20/06

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ULM Herbarium Policies

The Herbarium is in the process of digitizing its collection. The entire collection may not be accessible to visitors at certain times, but should not pose any serious inconvenience. However, please contact us to determine if your needs would be seriously impacted. We are still able to honor loan requests with minimal delays.


Accessions and Exchanges

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Herbarium (NLU) has a long-standing tradition of adding to the value of its collection through accessions of new specimens and an active exchange program. The following guidelines are recommended for the best quality specimens:

  • The plant material should be properly pressed and dried for placement on a standard herbarium sheet.
  • The specimen should contain important identifying structures for proper identification, especially fertile structures.
  • The collection information should be as complete as possible. Please provide GPS coordinates if available.
  • Labels and mounting are normally done in the herbarium using archival-quality materials. Students or researchers should consult the staff for guidance if making their own labels.

New acquisitions result primarily from:

  • local and regional collections by students and professional botanists,
  • standing exchange programs with other herbaria worldwide,
  • specimens sent as gifts for determination to ULM researchers,
  • gifts from non-academic professionals and native plant enthusiasts.

The value of the collection can be enhanced most effectively by adding to our representation from the following areas; however, we welcome donations and exchanges from around the world to enhance to diversity of the collection.:

  • Particularly uncommon or under collected taxa from Louisiana.
  • From under collected regions of the state.
  • From adjoining areas of Texas, Arkansas, or Mississippi.
  • The southeastern United States.


Consultation and Loan of Specimens

Specimens may be sent on loan for the use of qualified botanists for the purpose of serious taxonomic research. The curator of a botanical institution or department must make requests for loans; loans are not made to individuals. Loan requests from governmental agencies or private organizations will also be considered, at the discretion of the curator. The request should include the following information: 1) the name and status of the researcher (student, staff member, visiting scientist, etc.); 2) the nature and scope of the study; 3) the taxa requested, including possible synonyms; and 4) the geographic scope of specimens desired, if appropriate.

The department or herbarium requesting the loan must accept responsibility for the safe custody and return of the specimens. Loans are made without charge or service fee; it is expected that the borrowing institution will pay the costs of return shipment. Specimens must not be removed from the institution to which they were loaned without written consent of the ULM Herbarium. Specimens may be transferred only to recognized institutions, not individuals, and permission for loan transfers will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Upon receipt of the material, the borrowing institution should return the appropriate portion of the acknowledgment form to the ULM Herbarium, noting any discrepancies in counts or pertinent notes on the condition of the loan. Loans are made for a period of one year. If further time is required, an extension may be requested from the herbarium curator. It is requested, however, that loans be returned at the earliest opportunity. Except during actual examination, specimens should remain in newsprint covers. Sheets should not be bent, folded, or laid face downwards.

The judicious dissection of specimens is normally permitted. For vascular plant specimens please use material in the packet or plastic bag stapled to the sheet for dissection before removing material from the actual specimen. All dissected portions must be placed in a suitable envelope and included with the specimen or attached to the herbarium sheet. Materials for palynological, anatomical, chemical or molecular studies must not be removed from the herbarium sheet without obtaining prior permission. Researchers with requests of this nature should refer to the Destructive Sampling Policy and consult with the herbarium curator or collections manager for authorization to remove material from specimens.

All specimens should be annotated before return. Annotation labels should include the determination, name of the investigator, and date of identification. In addition, type specimens should be annotated with the kind of type (holotype, isotype, lectotype, etc.), the basionym, author, and citation of the place of publication of the basionym. Annotation labels should be typed, printed, or legibly written in indelible ink. Ball-point pens should not be used. Existing labels, notes, or other annotations on the sheet must not be removed or defaced. Specimens that cannot be accurately named or those belonging to groups other than the ones under consideration should be annotated as far as possible.

Material to be returned should be packed well to ensure safe transit. Please note the method of packing employed when the specimens arrive and pack in a similar manner when returning the loan. PLEASE USE ORIGINAL PACKING when possible, especially the bubble sheets for vascular plant specimens. A shipping notice should be included with each returned loan and a separate copy sent by mail or email.

Please cite the ULM Herbarium (NLU) in publications based on use of our material. Copies of publications based on our collections should be sent as soon as they are available.


Upon arrival:

  • Please check with one of the Herbarium staff, who will be available to orient you. We strongly suggest that you make an appointment ahead of time to ensure that a staff member can meet you upon your arrival.
  • Please sign the guest book.
  • No smoking, food, or beverages are permitted inside the collections area.
  • In order to control herbarium pests, incoming specimens to the Vascular Herbarium are frozen for 48 hours or more. Users of the collection who bring specimens in with them are strongly urged to bring in material treated to ensure that it is free of pests or to contact herbarium staff ahead of time so we can freeze the collections and make them available for use upon arrival. If this is not possible, please contact a member of the herbarium staff and we will make other arrangements.

Use of the Collections:

  • Please close herbarium cases when not in use.
  • Keep specimen folders horizontal when removing them from the cases. Keep herbarium sheets right side up; do not turn them over like pages in a book.
  • Material such as pollen, leaves, and wood must not be removed from herbarium specimens without prior written consent; refer to the Destructive Sampling Policy for details. Dissections or loose plant fragments should be put into packets attached to the sheet. Additional packets are available from the staff.
  • Visiting specialists are encouraged to annotate specimens using permanent ink on annotation labels. Pens and labels are available from the herbarium staff. Please provide the name of the investigator and date of annotation. Clip annotation labels to packets or sheets and the staff will glue them. Alternatively, leave the determinations on the top of the stack of specimens and the staff will make and attach the annotation labels.

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