About the BRIT Herbarium (BRIT)

    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.


    Special Collections

    BRIT Type Specimen Collection

    There are over 1000 specimens in the BRIT Type Specimen Collection, ranging from collections made in 1843 until the present day. These majority represent collections from North America although there is significant representation from the Philippines and Mexico. Our Type Collection can be perused online, via the BRIT Digital Herbarium. Please click here to learn more about type specimens.

    Phillipine Plant Inventory (PPI)

    Nearly 30,000 vouchers from the PPI were deposited at BRIT, from a project originally based at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, then transferred to BRIT in 1993. This project was a collaboration with the Philippine National Herbarium to document the florisitic diversity of the Philippine Islands, as well as document its declining diversity due to habitat loss. Although the National Science Foundation funding for this project ended in 2000, BRIT continues to collaborate with botanists in the Philippines.

    Papua New Guinea

    More than 17,000 vouchers for biodiversity studies conducted on the islands of New Guinea are deposited in the BRIT herbarium. These specimens primarily represent collection localities from the eastern side of the island from the nation of Papua New Guinea. New collections continue to be generated through research projects led by BRIT botanist, Bob more.

    Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program (AABP)

    More than 10,000 specimens vouchering a botanical inventory of field sites in Southeastern Peru are currently deposited at BRIT. These represent collections from lowland Amazonian rainforests, mid-elevational Andean foothills, and high Andean cloud forests. These specimens can be viewed online via the Andes to Amazon Atrium site, and more can be learned about the project throught our research pages about the AABP

    Texas Parks and Wildlife, NPS, TNC

    Voucher specimens for surveys of parks and natural areas for Texas Parks and Wildlife, the National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy.