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Sperry Herbarium
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History

image of prepared herbarium specimenThe herbarium at Pittsburg State University was officially established in 1946 by Theodore M. Sperry. Upon his arrival to PSU, there were less than 100 specimens in a wooden cabinet. From 1946 to 1974 the herbarium grew to nearly 40,000 specimens occupying 35 metal herbarium cabinets. In the early 1940's, Sperry was hired by Aldo Leopold to restore farm land near Madison, Wisconsin back to native prairie (part of a Civil Conservation Corp project). This prairie is now named the Curtis Prairie after the great plant ecologist J. T. Curtis and is managed by the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Sperry was a founding member of the Nature Conservancy and the Society for Ecological Restoration. Today, the SER recognizes Dr. T. M. Sperry as the "father of ecological restoration" and presents a prestigious yearly award to an organization that has demonstrated an excellent restoration project. The herbarium was officially named in honor of Dr. Sperry in 1974.

You can read more about the Sperry residence, named Paradocs, at the Sperry Home web site.


The Collections

image of herbarium sheet note cardThe Sperry Herbarium currently houses some 50,000 vascular plants and 5,200 bryophytes. The vascular plants represent specimens from the United States, Africa and the Peruvian Amazon, with emphasis on the flora of the Great Plains. The bryophytes represent collections from the Peruvian Amazon, Costa Rica, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, with a few collections from other states and Japan.


Facilities

image of entry to herbarium The Sperry Herbarium is located on the top floor of Heckert-Wells Hall. The herbarium houses more than 5,500 topographical maps, a microfiche reader, and a computer system.