Castanea pumila
Castanea pumila

Museums, universities, and botanical gardens have long maintained herbaria. These carefully and systematically assembled collections of preserved plant specimens are vital resources for understanding a plant’s taxonomy, growing conditions, and history. The Barnes Foundation Herbarium follows in this great tradition.

In 1940, Dr. John Milton Fogg Jr. was a busy man. Though he already served as dean and botany professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was a key figure at the Morris Arboretum, and had joined a team tasked with surveying Pennsylvania's native flora, Fogg was still eager to assist Laura Barnes when she approached him with the idea of starting a horticulture school at the Barnes Foundation. His dedication to the school and his extensive knowledge of plant taxonomy made Fogg a natural choice to succeed Mrs. Barnes as director of the arboretum upon her death in 1966.

During his tenure as director, Fogg not only grew the Foundation's living collections—adding magnolias, vines, and a rose garden—but he also devoted himself to the task of creating an extensive herbarium. The first step was capturing samples of each species and variety of plant in the arboretum in their fruit, flower, and occasionally even winter states, and the Herbarium continued to grow as Fogg added specimens from his travels and from exchanges with colleagues near and far.

Today, the Herbarium stands at 10,000 specimens and counting. An invaluable resource for the study of plants, the Barnes Herbarium continues to be an important teaching aid employed in the Foundation's horticulture courses. While decidedly lesser-known than other parts of the arboretum, this hidden gem  is an added attraction for plant lovers who know where to look.

Herbarium Collection Highlights

Herbarium highlights slideshow

Launch Slideshow

Viburnum lantana

Castanea pumila

Dracophyllum acerosum

Rauwolfia schueli

Fothergilla gardenii

Osmunda cinnamomea

Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Magnolia pyramidata

Wisteria sinensis

Myrica cerifera

Contact Us

Visits to the Herbarium are by appointment only. E-mail Jacob Thomas or call 215.278.7365 to request a time.

Herbarium Art

See how a former Barnes student has transformed botanical specimens into works of art.