About the BRIT Herbarium

Over one million plant specimens are housed in the BRIT Herbarium (the combined BRIT-SMU and VDB collections), making this the largest independent herbarium in the southeastern US. The herbarium has strengths in the plants of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, the Gulf Coast, and the southeastern United States. However, these collections are worldwide in scope, and most of the Earth’s plant families are represented here. Two of our current research projects, one in Peru and one in Papua New Guinea, have greatly expanded the scope of our collection of tropical specimens.

The core of BRIT’s herbarium and library is the Lloyd H. Shinners Collection in Systematic Botany, begun at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, in 1944.  The Shinners Collection was transferred to BRIT in 1987 and moved to the present Fort Worth location in 1991. See the BRIT Herbarium listed in Index Herbariorum and the Biodiversity Collections Index.

In addition to the core collection from SMU, BRIT is proud to house the collection from the Vanderbilt University Herbarium, which was created and curated by Dr. Robert Kral.  The Vanderbilt Herbarium was donated to BRIT in 1997, bringing a valuable addition of many specimens, especially from Alabama and Tennessee.

The Vanderbilt collections retain their identifying acronym VDB, as they are housed separately from the main BRIT collection.  Specimens originating from SMU are stamped “HERBARIUM, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas" or simply "SMU” and are still identified under the acronym SMU when cited in publications.  New accessions (since 1987) carry the BRIT stamp and should be cited with the BRIT acronym.

Please visit the Herbarium's Policies for Use page for further information regarding the use of our specimens, and the Transactions page for further information on acquisitions, loans and exchanges.