The UCO Herbarium, located in Howell Hall LAB, room 152 was established in 1940, and is designated as an Index Herbariorum (Code - CSU). It provides sources for teaching and learning about plants and fungi, especially those in central Oklahoma. The Herbarium provides a catalogue for the identification of the biodiversity of plants in the region and makes this information available to students, researchers, and the general public. With permission of the herbarium staff, the research collection is available for use by students and faculty who demonstrate knowledge of proper handling techniques for preserved specimens.
The herbarium maintains an electronic database of vascular plants that was uploaded by the Oklahoma Biological Survey (OBS) in 2005. These data are already accessible on the OBS website. OBS also delivers data that includes threatened and endangered species to NatureServe, which serves the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Out-of-state plant and non-vascular plant data were not included.
Approximately 17,000 vascular plant specimens are filed in 19 metal storage cabinets at UCO. The vast majority of specimens in the collection are of vascular plants collected by students enrolled in Plant Taxonomy classes. Others include personal collections of faculty, voucher specimens of research done by faculty and students. These activities add hundreds of vascular plants to the herbarium each year. Over 300 voucher specimens from Alabaster Caverns State Park in the Cimarron Gypsum Hills are currently being processed for deposit in the herbarium. The pollination research of Dr. John F. Barthell and Dr. Gloria M. Caddell increases the insect collection in the invertebrate museum as well as the plant collection in the herbarium. This research is one of the few efforts to document pollinators in the crosstimbers region of the U.S. However, it also includes specimens from the west coast, including the Channel Islands.
Fungi and Lichen
Faculty and graduate student research and Mycology classes add fungi to the mycological collection that Dr. Clark L. Ovrebo began 18 years ago. With 4,000 specimens, it is now the largest holding of higher fleshy fungi in the state of Oklahoma. Curator - Clark Ovrebo, Ph.D.
The active lichen collection of Dr. Sheila A. Strawn and Steven G. Strawn, which consists of approximately 989 specimens, is also housed in the herbarium. Data from both the fungi and lichen collections are in electronic format and include digital images. Curator - Gloria Caddell, Ph.D.