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The Pullen Herbarium

A student studies herbs at the herbariumAn herbarium is a museum collection of plants and the information from where and when they were collected. This collection is used in teaching and in research to document changes in plant distribution through time.

The Department of Biology’s Pullen Herbarium—located in Shoemaker Hall and curated by Dr. Lucile McCook—is named after the first curator, Dr. Thomas M. Pullen, and now consists of 80,000+ plant specimens. These specimens consist of dried, pressed plants attached to big sheets of high-quality paper, so they can be stacked in folders and organized by scientific name. While a majority of the specimens are from Mississippi and the southeastern US, the herbarium includes collections from all over the world from the late 1800s to the present.

National Science Foundation grants support the imaging and digitization of the Pullen Herbarium, so that all the collections are available and searchable on a community-based web portal: Southeast Regional Network of Expertise & Collections, Plants can be searched—115 herbaria at once—by scientific name, common name, plant family, geographic area, and more.

Recently, fungal collections of Dr. Pat Miller are being protected and curated in the Pullen Herbarium. The ~300 collections and beautiful photographs of the mushroom fruiting bodies are on display at the Mycology Collections Portal,