UVU Herbarium

Herbarium Tour

Welcome to the Utah Valley University Herbarium

Herbarium Director - Curator 
Erin Riggs
Email: Erin.Riggs@uvu.edu

Established in 1987 by Dr. Jim Harris.

Since its founding the Utah Valley University Herbarium has grown to over 18,000 specimens.  The herbarium houses an ever expanding and irreplaceable collection of plant species representing ecosystems in Utah and North America. This specialized natural history museum is especially valuable to undergraduate researchers as it is an easily accessible, on-campus resource providing hands-on experiential learning for all students from all disciplines. Our vascular and non-vascular plant and lichen collections afford research opportunities ranging from biotechnology to field studies. The Herbarium is located on UVU’s main campus (800 W. University Parkway, Orem Ut. 84032) in room 277 of the Science Building (SB 277).

UVSC Index Herbariorum Acronym

It was a proud moment more than 20 years ago when the herbarium met the criteria to be accepted into the New York Botanical Garden, Index Herbariorum http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/ih/. UVSC (which derives from the institution’s former name of Utah Valley State College) is the permanent acronym assigned by the Index Herbariorum. All other herbaria and museums know the UVU Herbarium by this acronym.

Plant DNA

A major goal in UVU’s herbarium is collecting and conserving new material with as little specimen perturbation as possible; using whole plant gluing on all new collections is avoided. The collection has never had the need for fumigation. These collections will provide high quality material intended for DNA extraction and supporting molecular taxonomic and phylogenetic work.

Index Seminum

UVU’s Herbarium and Native Plant Research Garden also have seeds to share via an Index seminum. This Index seminum is a free seed sharing program for academic research, research garden improvement and more.

Active Research

Dr. Ashley Egan, Assistant Professor – Biology

My passion centers on understanding the planet’s biodiversity and the evolutionary patterns and processes that have shaped it. I am interested in the broad disciplines of conservation biology, plant systematics, population genetics, evolutionary biology, phylogenetics, bioinformatics and comparative genomics. As a systematist, I strive to contribute to the taxonomy, nomenclature, and classification of plant biodiversity. As a phylogeneticist, population geneticist, and comparative genomicist, I strive to contribute to the understanding of processes and patterns that have created biodiversity. In the plant kingdom, I am especially interested in the legume family (Leguminosae, Fabaceae) with an emphasis on the Psoraleeae and Phaseoleae tribes. Leguminosae is one of the most diverse plant families on earth and offers an excellent system for studying evolutionary forces and interactions. I am intrigued by such topics as invasive species, polyploidy, adaptation, speciation, endemism, biogeography, conservation genetics, crop domestication, and ethno- and economic botany.

Research Foci

  • Plant Systematics
  • Phylogenetics
  • Population Genetics
  • Comparative Genomics
  • Phylogenomics
  • Conservation Genetics
  • Floristics
  • Bioinformatics

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Phylogenomics and Taxonomy of Phaseoloid Legumes
  • Comparative Genomics of Pueraria and related genera
  • Domestication History in Phaseolus
  • Genetics and Evolutionary Implications of Polyploidy in Legumes
  • Invasion History of Kudzu and its Genetic Sources
  • Conservation Genetics of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Legumes
  • Ethnobotanical and Economic Botany of Tuber use if Leguminosae
  • Flora of Thailand Project

Erin Riggs, Director-Curator

I love field working with undergraduate students investigating botany, taxonomy, morphology, grasses and museum curation

Research foci

  • Floristics
  • DNA fingerprinting exsiccate collections
  • Museum Conservation

Online Herbarium

 UVU Online HerbariumEnter Here

Visiting the Herbarium

The Utah Valley Universtiy Herbarium is open to any visitor interested in learning about the collections or for consulting or plant identification purposes.  Researchers wishing to study our collection should make arrangements prior to their visit.  We also welcome home school visits by appointment.


Utah Valley University
College of Science - MS 299
800 W. University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058

Herbarium Hours

Monday through Thursday 7:00am -5:00pm
Please contact the curator to make special arrangement for specimen study to assure that the curator is not in the field.

Getting to the Herbarium

Please check in with the curator for herbarium orientation and visit the following link for on campus directions  https://www.uvu.edu/maps/map.html

Special Collections

Braya from North America
Alpine Draba from Western US

UVU Botanical Library

UVU’s botanical library currently has approximately 900 books for student use and possible check out.

Native Plant Research Garden

UVU also has a small but valuable Native Plant Research Garden which is growing into an important onsite resource for living plant studies including morphology, phenology, systematics and DNA from fresh materials.


UVSC Herbarium has the honor of protecting the original botanical field collection notebooks of Dr. Stanley Welsh, Dr. Robert Robins and Dr. Jim Harris.

Kimball Harper Endowed Botany Fund

Applicant must be in their junior or senior year enrolled at UVU in Botany.

Applicant must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and be a full-time student.

Letters of Recommendation from two UVU faculty members are required.

Essay describing interest in botany along with plans upon graduation from UVU with a degree in Botany.

For more information:

Additional Research Facilities

Green House Horticulture Facilities

This is a 2600 sq. ft. facility consisting of a headhouse and three climate-controlled greenhouses, including heating/cooling, humidity, and sun exposure.  Maintained within the UVU greenhouse is a variety of living plant specimens used for demonstration in various botany and biology courses, laboratory experiments, propagation, and specimens as part of the permanent species collection. The UVU greenhouse provides space for various faculty and student research projects. 

Capitol Reef Field Station

Capitol Reef Field Station, in partnership with Capitol Reef National Park, promotes and supports engaged learning, environmental ethics, and research and creative work through the exploration of the Colorado Plateau. 

For more information:  https://www.uvu.edu/crfs/

Publications and Presentations


  • Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris


  • Jason Andrew Alexander, Wayne Whaley and Natalie Blain, 2018
  •  “The Lomatium Grayi Complex (Apiaceae) of the Western States: A Taxonomic Revision Based on Morphometric, Essential Oil Composition, and Larva-Host Coevolution Studies”
  • Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 12(2): 387-444



  • Bryson Johnson “Comparison of CTAB and Silica Membrane Filter DNA Extraction Methods on Herbarium Specimens” Poster presented at: Botany 2019, July 27-31
  • Dasha Horton “Adhesives and Other Affixing Materials in Herbaria” Poster presented at: Botany 2019, July 27-31