Policies for Using the Valdosta State University Herbarium [VSC]


VSC is open for public use by appointment, from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. VSC does not have full-time staff, and the Curator has teaching, service, and research responsibilities, in addition to curating the Herbarium.  Therefore, it is essential to contact the Curator well in advance of visiting VSC.  This is especially important during summer session, when the Curator is not under contract with the University, and is often off campus doing research in the field.  VSC is closed on most national holidays.


Herbarium regulations for all visitors

  • The Curator or other staff member must be present to have access to the herbarium
  • Smoking is prohibited.
  • Food or drink around herbarium specimens is prohibited.
  • All plant material – fresh or dried – must be declared before entering the herbarium.
  • All plant material must be brought into the herbarium suite through the BC 1040 entrance. 
  • Dried specimens must be frozen before they may be taken into the main herbarium room.


Policies for Visitors

All public visitors are welcome.  In order to provide guided assistance in using the Herbarium, viewing exhibits or touring the Herbarium, it is necessary to make a reservation in advance by contacting the Curator.  Staff assistance is required in order to use the herbarium, and collections are not available for use when the Curator or other staff member is not on present. See Herbarium Guidelines and Regulations for proper specimen handling techniques.


Acquisitions, Loans and Exchanges

VSC actively promotes scientific use of the collection through loans and exchanges with other institutions.  VSC grows through collecting by the Curator and students, active exchange of specimens with other institutions, and donations of plant material by others.  VSC actively exchanges unmounted specimens with other institutions.  VSC is primarily interested in exchange of specimens from the southeastern United States, particularly the Coastal Plain Region of Georgia and adjacent states.  VSC also has excellent representation of certain taxonomic groups and seeks exchange to enhance its holdings in these groups: Cyperaceae, Poaceae, Juncaceae, Xyridaceae, pteridophytes, and bryophytes. Exchange specimens must have properly prepared labels with complete collection data printed on archival paper.  All specimens in VSC are the property of Valdosta State University.


Only properly prepared specimens with complete and accurate label data will be accepted for accession into VSC.  A proper specimen label normally has the following data elements. 

  • Binomial (if known)
  • Country of origin
  • State of origin
  • County (parish) or origin
  • Latitude/longitude coordinates (decimal degrees preferred)
  • Locality description
  • Habitat description
  • Misc. specimen attributes (e.g., flower color, for trees estimated height)
  • Collector(s) name(s)
  • Serial collection number
  • Date of collection



Collection Acquisition Policy

Only specimens collected in compliance with laws and regulations of the country and state of origin will be accepted for acquisition into VSC.  It is the responsibility of the collector to secure any required collecting permits.




VSC reserves the right to deaccession specimens that duplicate existing material in VSC or otherwise are not appropriate to retain, i.e., low quality and significance, lack sufficient data to be used scientifically.


Loan and Specimen Use Policy

VSC collections are available to the scientific community and to the public for research use and as tools for education and cultural enhancement.  VSC's loan policy is designed to allow the use of those specimens, while promoting the security and long-term preservation of the collection.


Specimens are carefully packaged for shipment and are expected to be returned in the same manner.


Specimens on loan must be stored in standard herbarium cabinets, secure from potential water or insect damage. 


Specimens on loan must be handled with care at all times.


Loan requests will be accepted only from institutions with a listing in Index Herbariorum.  Loans normally are not made to individuals.  Use of loan specimens by graduate students must be conducted under the supervision of a major professor.  Requests for loans should be made in writing to the Curator of VSC, from the Collections Manager, Curator, or other equivalent individual responsible for the care of specimens at the borrowing institution.


Loans of herbarium specimens from VSC are normally made for a period of two years, with extensions granted by the Curator only upon written request. 


All herbarium sheets should be returned with a properly-attached, archival annotation labels bearing the name of the researcher, institution, and date.  Annotations should be printed or hand-written and legible.  If hand-written, black, permanent ink should be used.  Normally, the size of the annotation label should not exceed 1 x 4 ½ inches: Smaller labels are preferred so long as they are neat and legible.  


Please cite VSC in any publications resulting from studies of its holdings.  Reprints or copies of resulting publications should be sent to the Curator of VSC.


Removal of material from specimens must first be approved by the Curator.  Please adhere to the following rules for destructive sampling:

  • No material may be removed from types or from specimens of historical importance.
  • If suitable loose material is available in fragment-packets, it should be used before removing parts from the mounted specimens; otherwise, any material removed from the specimen should be placed in an archival fragment-packet properly secured to the specimen sheet.
  • Pollen should not be taken from more than one flower per sheet, and should be removed without damaging the flower.
  • The annotation label must reflect the portion of plant material removed, date of removal, investigator, institution, and place of deposit of prepared slides.  Duplicate permanent slides or photographs made from these slides should be deposited with VSC.
  • Any genetic sequence derived from specimens on loan from VSC should be deposited at GenBank, and GenBank accession numbers should be forwarded to BRIT and noted on the specimen.


User Fees

VSC is available for the appropriate use by researchers and the general public at no cost.


Contact information

Richard Carter, Curator

Valdosta State University Herbarium [VSC]

Bailey Science Center Rm. 1040

Biology Department

Valdosta State University

Valdosta, GA  31698-0015                                                 

Telephone: (229) 333-5763 (voice), 333-5338 (herbarium)



Last revised 8/9/2014