E.L. Reed Herbarium at TTU

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Herbarium Cabinets Specimen Prep Space


The EL Reed Herbarium at Texas Tech University houses over 20,000 recorded vascular plant collections from the South Plains, West Texas, and other regions. The Herbarium also contains an estimated 10,000 unrecorded specimens, including specimens untouched since the 1920s. The herbarium opened its doors in 1925 under the leadership of Prof. R.A. Studhalter, who focused on plant anatomy in bryophytes. Dr. E.L. Reed becaome the first director in 1928, and large collections added by Dr. C.M. Rowell, Dr. D.K. Northington, Dr. T. Burgess, and Dr. C.H. Werth added to the collection both geographically and taxonomically. In 2017, Dr. Matthew Johnson became the sixth director of the E.L. Reed Herbarium.

Located on the 7th floor of the Biology building, the Herbarium is a resource for plant systematics and evolution. Dried, pressed plant specimens can be used to help researchers identify species and serve as a record of plant diversity. The collection can be used to track the occurrence of plant species across space and time. Recent advances in molecular systematics makes sampling these antique specimens for DNA sequencing feasible for the first time. Herbarium specimens are an underused resource for phylogenetics in plants, and we are looking forward to using the herbarium in our research.

The Reed Herbarium database is currently housed at the TORCH Portal on Symbiota, which can be accessed here.

See below for herbarium news and ongoing projects!