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.

Each 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.

In 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.

Historical Notes

Started in 1930, the herbarium is named for its first curator, Chester “Danny” Deaver.

Each 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.