Collections Policies


For those interested in using the collections, Botany has a detailed collection management policy addressing acquisitions, deaccessions, loans, destructive sampling, data use, pest management, and disaster preparedness and recovery.

The botanical collections of Botany are available for scientific study via loan to accredited institutions. Generally, loans are made for taxonomic or floristic research only, but exceptions may be made for other kinds of botanical investigation.

Loan Requests

Requests for loans must be in writing from an official staff member of the institution where the specimens will be stored and should be addressed to the curator-in-charge or collection manager. The request should include: 1) the name and status of the researcher for whom the loan is requested; 2) the nature of the study, including the geographic scope of the study, if appropriate; 3) the taxa requested, including possible synonyms; and 4) the basionyms for any type specimens being requested.

Loan Conditions and Destructive Sampling


Loans of specimens (including type specimens) normally are made for a period of one year. Requests for loan extensions should be addressed in writing to the curator-in-charge or collection manager. Extensions are usually granted for a period of one year, but these extensions are determined on a case-by-case basis. While on loan, specimens must be housed in sealed herbarium cases and handled according to accepted herbarium practice. Generally, type specimens should be returned with the remainder of the loan. However, if type specimens are no longer necessary for research, they may be returned before the loan is due.  We recognize that a limited amount of dissection may be necessary for some kinds of systematics research. We request, however, that any dissection be kept to the absolute minimum required. All material dissected from a specimen must be replaced in a fragment packet affixed to the sheet. Any destructive sampling – here defined as sampling in which materials are removed from sheets but cannot be replaced in fragment packets – may not be carried out without prior written permission from the curator-in-charge or collection manager. Specimens that have undergone destructive sampling must be annotated with a label providing: an indication of how much material was removed, the procedure that was performed, and any other relevant information (where SEM negatives are housed, GenBank accession number, etc.). Unless prior arrangements have been made, researchers are requested to annotate all specimens borrowed. Annotation labels should be glued to the herbarium sheet above or near the original label whenever possible. The label should be legible, prepared in permanent ink, and should include the taxon name, investigator’s name and institution, and date of determination. Type specimens also should be annotated with the basionym, citation of the publication, and an indication of the statue of the type (holotype, isotype, etc.).

Loan Returns


Material to be returned should be packed in a way similar to that in which they were received to ensure safe transit. Partial returns are encouraged only when a significant portion of the loan can be returned.

Loan Transfers

Specimens may not be removed or transferred from the institution to which they have been loaned without prior written permission from the curator-in-charge or collection manager. Permission to transfer is made on a case-by-case basis.


Use the standardized acronym “KANU” when citing collections of the Division of Botany. We would appreciate receiving copies of any publications or URL links to such publications in which our herbarium specimens are cited. Reprints should be sent to the collection manager.


Botany currently maintains active exchange programs with nearly three dozen herbaria throughout Canada and the United States. Our staff pursues several active collecting programs, emphasizing the flora of the southern Great Plains. We would like to initiate limited, specimen-for-specimen exchanges with herbaria with collecting programs of vascular plants and lichens from grassland biomes worldwide. We are also interested in receiving representatives of the families Asteraceae, Crassulaceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae, Juncaceae, and Poaceae.

If interested, please direct inquiries to Dr. Craig C. Freeman, Curator-in-charge ( or Caleb A. Morse, Collection Manager (

Maintenance policy: Natural history specimens are the raw materials of biodiversity studies, and we must preserve both specimens and their associated data for future investigators. We collect and accept specimens from the Great Plains and other areas of the world. With this comes the responsibility for caring for the specimens to ensure their physical longevity and the integrity of their associated data. The study and care of Botany's holdings is accomplished because the staff has knowledge not only of plant systematics, ecology, and morphology, but also of collection care and management.