Plants tell us a lot about our world. Wild plants tell us about the region's climate, geological history and human history. Knowing where plants grow can help us understand our natural world and make better decisions about which native species require protection and which non-native species require attention. The University of Maryland's Norton-Brown Herbarium preserves physical specimens of plants dating back to the 1820s. These specimens document the changing landscape of North America, particularly the Mid-Atlantic. These specimens are critical for research and land management. However, researchers have to visit the herbarium to obtain information about these specimens because most of these data are not available online. In addition to our historic collection, we receive thousands of new specimens every year. This backlog of data slows research and management decisions.
By digitizing our data, information is freely available to anyone interested in the wild plants of Maryland or the Mid-Atlantic. We take a photograph of each specimen and enter the species and locality information into a searchable database available through our webpage. These data are used by researchers to learn about the distribution of plants, the spread of exotic species and the impacts of changes to the environment. Digitization makes research faster. Digitization facilitates decision making. In the long run, digitization saves time and money.
By donating to this project, you will help pay the salary of students and staff needed to digitize the thousands of specimens received each year. Your contribution will allow us to more quickly process and digitize specimens making the data available to everyone. Please donate now.
Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents. Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law. Please see your tax advisor for details.
Process one student collection
Process specimens from one day in the field.
Process one average research collection
Mount or digitize the specimens from one of the larger plant families (e.g., the bean, rose or mustard family) from one year.
Mount or digitize all of the flower-free plants from one year (algae, mosses, ferns, gymnosperms).
Mount or digitize all of the monocots (mostly grasses and sedges) from one year of collecting!