Botany & Mycology

The New York State Museum Herbarium contains collections of Vascular Plants, Bryophytes, Algae, Fungi, and Lichens.

In 1836, the State Legislature established the New York State Geological and Natural History Survey.  Botanist John Torrey was hired by the Survey to collect and document the plants of New York. The result of his work was the first completed flora of the state, published in 1843, as A Flora of the State of New York. This collection became the foundation of the New York State Museum Herbarium.

Due to the cultural and economic importance of the Albany-Troy area in the 19th century, the herbarium attracted collections of other early botanists. However, the bulk of the Herbarium is the result of staff collections including state botanists, Charles H. Peck, Homer D. House, Eugene C. Ogden, and Richard M. Mitchell and curators, Stanley J. Smith, John H. Haines, Norton G. Miller, and Charles J. Sheviak. The floristic and monographic studies of these workers and the position of the Herbarium as the legislated repository for New York State plant specimens led to a diverse collection. Today, the New York State Museum Herbarium continues to acquire specimens through staff research as well as through gifts and exchanges with botanists and other institutions.