MSU Herbarium catalogues Michigan plant life

Dec 3, 2014

Alan Prather with a Michigan monkeyflower sample from the MSU Herbarium
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s a special kind of library in the basement of the Plant Biology Labs at Michigan State University. Here, instead of taking a book off of a shelf, you can open a folder and find a dried plant that’s 150 years old and still green. The MSU Herbarium is an important resource for research biologists on campus.

Elsewhere, some herbarium directors are concerned about finding funding for these special collections. The Kew Gardens in England, which has one of the biggest herbaria in the world, announced major budget cuts earlier this year.

Dr. Alan Prather is an Associate Professor of Plant Biology here at MSU, and he has been the director of the MSU Herbarium for over 17 years. Current State talks with Prather about why herbaria are valuable resources for scientists and society.