Title

Establishment of Regional Herbarium Leads to More Than 200 New Flora Atlas Records for New York State

Publication Date

2013

Journal

Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society

Volume

140

Issue

1

First Page

125

Last Page

131

Abstract

Loss of small herbaria is an unfortunate global trend, and initiation of new collections at small academic institutions is an increasingly rare occurrence. In 2006, a new herbarium was established at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. The PLAT herbarium has since grown to more than 7,000 specimens, many of them representative of the flora of northeastern New York (especially Clinton County). Previous to 2006, this region was without a recognized herbarium, the nearest in-state collections being more than 150 miles away. Although botanists have previously worked in the region, relatively few plant species were recorded for Clinton County by the New York Flora Atlas – a resource providing species distribution records based on specimens accessioned in herbarium collections. Given the dearth of available distribution data for Clinton County (including the eastern Adirondack Mountains and the western Lake Champlain valley), this project sought to provide records of previously unreported species by comparing NY Flora Atlas maps with current holdings. 203 species will now be added to the NY Flora Atlas for Clinton County, roughly half of those considered exotic. This exercise has amplified the importance of supporting and maintaining small regional herbaria as repositories of valuable biodiversity information. Likewise, this project also highlights the enduring value of training in floristics and taxonomy.