The Deaver Herbarium (ASC) is home to more
than 110,000 dried museum specimens of ferns, conifers, and flowering plants. Located
in the Biological Sciences Department (building 21) on the campus of Northern
Arizona University, the herbarium is a public facility that supports a wide
array of research projects and educational programs.
More than three-quarters of the herbarium’s
specimens were collected in Arizona, with most coming from the northern half of
the state. In addition to northern Arizona, the collection emphasizes plants
from the southern Colorado Plateau and adjacent deserts.
specimen documents the existence of an individual plant species at a particular
place and time. Collections of specimens allow researchers to identify unknown
plants, investigate how plants are related to each other, and how plants respond
to environmental and biological changes over time. This information is critical
in the study of biological diversity and in understanding how climate change,
invasive species, and other challenges will affect biodiversity.
addition to its collections, the Deaver Herbarium offers a small library and helpful
staff. "If anyone is interested in plants and studying diversity, this is
the place to do it," say Tina Ayers, NAU Associate Professor and
Deaver Herbarium Curator. "Anybody can walk in here and ask, ‘What's
this?' and we will help them." Research staff members also collect plants
in northern Arizona, the Colorado Plateau states, and the mountains of the
southwestern United States, western Mexico, and South America.
in 1930, the herbarium is named for its first curator, Chester “Danny” Deaver.
permanent scientific repository is assigned a unique identifier, which takes
the form of an acronym. The Deaver Herbarium’s permanent acronym, ASC, was
assigned when NAU was called Arizona State College.