ASU Natural History Collections

Home / Strengths of the ASU Herbarium

With funds provided by a National Science Foundation, extensive collections were made throughout the southwestern United States during the years 1973 to 1975 by D. J. Pinkava, E. Lehto, and D. J. Keil. Aided by another National Science Foundation grant to W. L. Minckley, D. J. Pinkava also conducted a floristic study of the Cuatro Cienegas region of Coahuila, Mexico (Pinkava 1984).

D.J. Pinkava (center) 80th birthday celebration Aug 2013

Steady growth of the ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium occurs every year through the activities of Arizona State University staff, graduate students, and others associated with the herbarium. Botanical explorations in our area of emphasis, the Southwest and northern Mexico continue to reveal new species, state records and other interesting taxa.

The following graduate students of D. J. Pinkava and L. R. Landrum (as committee chair, co-chair, or member) have done floristic or related studies for master's degrees in various parts of Arizona and have added their collections to the herbarium (chronologically): E. Lehto (Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Maricopa Co.); D. J. Keil (White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Maricopa Co.); M. A. Lane (McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Maricopa Co.); E. G. Sundell (Sierra Estrella Regional Park, Maricopa Co.); S. Forbes, (Pinal Mountains, Gila Co.); M. Russo (Castle Dome Mountains, Yuma Co.); T. Reeves (Chiricahua National Monument, Cochise Co.); J. Leithliter (Chiricahua National Wilderness Area, Cochise Co.); G. Marrs-Smith (San Bernadino Ranch, Cochise Co.); W. Johnson (Pinaleno Mountains, Graham Co.); A. Pierce (Buckeye Hills Semi-Regional Park, Maricopa Co.); K. Rice (Superstition Wilderness Area); L. Wolden (Hassayampa River Reserve); G. Imdorf (Sierra Ancha Wilderness Area); J. Buegge (Santa Theresa Mountains, Graham Co.); D. Damrel (ASU Arboretum); S. Doan (Seven Springs Recreation Area, Maricopa Co.); E. Gilbert, (West Fork Oak Creek Canyon, Coconino Co.); E. Makings (San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Cochise Co.), B. Lester (Hummingbird Springs Wilderness Area, Maricopa Co.); D. Jenke (Phoenix Four Rivers, Maricopa Co.); D. Newton (Eagletail Mountains, Yuma-LaPaz Cos.); F. Coburn (Upper Verde River, Yavapai Co.).

 Other important collections made by persons who deposited their specimens at the Arizona State University Herbarium but for non-degree studies are: S. Jones (McDowell Mountains, Maricopa Co.); B. Walden (Usery Mountain Park, Maricopa Co.); E. Lehto (Cabeza Prieta Game Range, Yuma, Co.); W. L. Minckley and L. A. McGill (upper reaches of Gila River); R. K. Gierisch, G. K. Brown and B. D. Parfitt (northwestern Arizona north of the Colorado, River, i.e., the Arizona Strip); M. Butterwick and T. Daniel (South Mountain Park, Maricopa Co.); M. Butterwick and B. D. Parfitt (Hualapai Mountains, Mohave Co.).

H. Tate (Peña Blanca Lake area, Santa Cruz Co.); M. Butterwick et al. (Hualapai-Aquarius, Harcuvar, Vulture, and Skull Valley Planning Units); R. L. Burgess (Tonto National Monument, Gila Co.); M. Baker and T. Wright (Camp Wood, Williamson Valley, Yolo North, and Yolo South grazing allotments on the Chino Valley Ranger District, USFS); M. Baker and T. Wright (Apache Creek, Juniper Mesa, Sycamore Canyon, and Woodchute Wilderness areas of Prescott National Forest); J. R. Sutherland (Show Low Lake area); B. D. Parfitt and C. Christy (Coronado National Monument).

2) Collections of Cactaceae

Graham's nipple cactus

Arizona is one of the centers of diversity for Cacti and it follows that our collection of this regionally important group (ca. 5,000 specimens) is among the top 5 in the US and perhaps the best collection of cytological voucher specimens of Cactaceae in the world. Because cacti are not easily collected, there are few institutions that rival our quality holdings, many accompanied by photographs of plants in their natural habitat.  ASU's Cactaceae are continually enhanced by the collecting efforts of Mark Baker in particular, as well as the legacy of degree studies of cactus systematics including the following groups:  xMyrtgerocactus (L. A. McGill); Opuntia x kelvinensis (M. A. Baker); O. curvospina (B. D. Parfitt); the O. whipplei complex (N. Trushell); fleshy-fruited prickly-pears Opuntia subgen. Opuntia in Arizona (M. G. McLeod); the O. polyacantha complex in western North America (B. Parfitt); the Echinocactus polycephalus complex (M. Chamberland); and Opuntia subgen. Cylindropuntia in Baja California (J. Rebman).

 3) Cytological voucher specimens of vascular plants

 Over 35 years of publications on chromosome counts listing more than 1800 vouchers have been contributed by D. J. Pinkava and his graduate students including M. A. Baker,  G. K. Brown, R. C. Brown, C. Christy, D. J. Keil, B. D. Parfitt, J. P. Rebman, and T. Reeves.

 4) Asteraceae

 The Asteraceae at ASU are important because of revisionary or monographic studies on following genera conducted by staff and graduate students: Psilostrophe (R. C. Brown, 1977, 1978) Baileya (R. C. Brown and Pinkava, 1974), Platyschkuhria (G. K. Brown, 1983) Haplopappus of South America (G. K. Brown and Clark, 1982), Berlandiera (Pinkava,1967), Hazardia (Clark 1979).

 5) Myrtaceae

 L. R. Landrum is a specialist in American Myrtaceae and continues to add to the collection through gifts for determination and his travels throughout South America. ASU currently has over 14,000 American Myrtaceae, one of the larger university collections of Myrtaceae in the United States.

 6) Collections from Temperate South America, especially Chile

 L. R. Landrum participated in the Flora of Chile project, providing treatments of the Berberidaceae and Myrtaceae, and has made numerous trips to Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Thousands of collections have been made and exchanges have been established with MBM, CTES, HUEFS, MO, and other herbaria in order to increase ASU's collection of temperate South American collections. Few herbaria outside of Chile have significant Chilean collections. The ASU collection of Chilean Berberis is probably the best outside of Chile.

Geographic Representation





Ichthyology Collection
The Ichthyology Collection (ASUFIC) contains approximately 22,000 lots representing more than 580 species, with a geographic concentration in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. ASUFIC represents the largest collection of freshwater fishes in Arizona, with historic specimens of threatened, endangered, and extinct species. Please direct inquiries regarding collection access and specimen use to the Collection Manager, Dr. Dakota Rowsey, at
Mammalogy Collection
The Mammalogy Collection (ASUMAC) contains approximately 9,300 specimens representing more than 160 species, with a geographic concentration in the southwestern United States. The research collection represents the second-largest mammal collection in Arizona and contains regionally important collections from the Sonoran Desert, Mogollon Rim, and Kaibab Plateau. Please direct inquiries regarding collection access and specimen use to the Collection Manager, Dr. Dakota Rowsey, at
The Arizona State University Mollusk Collection (ASUMOC) is curated by volunteer and avid shell enthusiast, Dale Snyder. It consists of approximately 140,000 shell specimens, and includes members from five of the seven classes of the phylum Mollusca.
Ornithology Collection
The Ornithology Collection (ASUORC) at the ASU Natural History Collections contains approximately 2,000 specimens representing more than 300 species, with global coverage and a geographic concentration in the southwestern United States, northwestern Mexico, and the Neotropics. Please direct inquiries regarding collection access and specimen use to the Collections Manager, Dr. Dakota Rowsey, at drowsey@asu, or the Curator, Dr. Jay Taylor, at
Herpetology Collection
The Herpetology Collection (ASUHEC) contains approximately 40,000 specimens representing more than 900 species, with global coverage and a geographic concentration in the western United States and northwestern Mexico. Our collections contain a particularly dense geographic coverage of Arizona tiger salamanders. Please direct inquiries for specimen use and collection access to the Collection Manager, Dr. Dakota Rowsey, at
Coal Balls
The Fossil Plant Collection (ASUPC) is a unique resource for the ASU Natural History community, supporting plant evolutionary research, teaching, and public outreach.
The Hasbrouck Insect Collection (ASUHIC) is a vibrant part of the ASU Natural History Collections community, with a diverse array of insect research, learning, and outreach activities.
The ASU Lichen Herbarium (ASU) is among the ten largest collections of lichenized fungi in the US; it contains some 115,000 specimens. The collection has a particularly strong focus on the Greater Sonoran Desert Region [northwestern Mexico: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, western Chihuahua and northern Sinaloa; and southwestern USA, Arizona, southern California].
The Arizona State University Vascular Plant Herbarium (ASU) is among the most important in the greater Sonoran Desert region with over 315,000 specimens. We are particularly proud of our holdings of Cactaceae which include over 1,100 chromosome counts.