Herbarium

Herbarium

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Herbarium
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
MSC03-2020
Albuquerque, NM 87131
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Hannah Marx
UNM Herbarium
Castetter Hall Room 1480
219 Yale Blvd. NE
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

History of the UNM Herbarium

The UNM Herbarium has a long history stretching back to the turn of the last century. The first attempt to establish a Herbarium at the University of New Mexico was short-lived. Clarence Luther Herrick, the second UNM President (1897-1901), started an herbarium collection but it was destroyed in a fire, nevertheless a few hundred specimens were curated during the first two decades of the century.

In 1928 Edward Castetter further developed the herbarium, contributing nearly 10,000 personal collections in his 25 years at UNM, when the Herbarium was in it's original location in Castetter Hall. Castetter and his students vouchered plants in what was, and remains, a relatively unexplored and under-collected state flora. His interest in plant diversity was paralleled by his interest in traditional native-American uses of plants. He documented local agriculture in the Mohave, Cocopa, Maricopa, Pima and Tohono O’odham cultures as well as the Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache in his ethnobotanical research program which he developed into one of the largest in the U.S. at the time. 

Between 1953 and 1958 Ray C. Jackson was the curator. His research focused on cytogenetics and systematics of the Asteraceae (the sunflower family).

William C. Martin was the curator for the next 31 years. Serving in this capacity from 1958 to 1989, Martin co-authored “A Flora of New Mexico.”

In 1989 the Herbarium hired its first ever Collections Manager Jane Mygatt to oversee the day to day operations of the collection.

In 1990, Timothy K. Lowrey took over as curator of our collection and facilitate the move to it's current location at the Museum of Southwestern Biology on campus. His primary focus was on biosystematics and molecular studies of the Asteraceae. He contributed to the Flora Neomexicana Vol. III in 2012 by writing a treatment for our largest family, the Asteraceae. Flora Neomexicana is a print-on-demand flora for the state available at www.lulu.com. It is updated periodically as needed.

During Tim Lowrey’s time at the herbarium, Jane MyGatt retired after 20 years with the herbarium and shortly after the second ever Collections Manager, Phil Tonne was hired, who worked with Tim Lowrey until they both retired in 2021 and 2020 respectively. During both their tenure at the herbarium they increased accessibility of the herbarium by joining the online digitial database for Southwest Herbaria, Seinet. While half of the collection is physical the other half is digitally accessible with nearly all holdings databased and imaged on Seinet.  

The UNM Herbarium is currently overseen by Curator Hannah Marx who began in 2021 and Collections Manager Harpo Faust who began in 2022. Dr. Marx’s research is focused on alpine community phylogenetics, as well as general collecting, bringing the collection full history back to one of Castetters original botanical foci. Together Marx and Faust hope to build off the legacy of the UNM Herbarium and focus on active collecting around the state of New Mexico.

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