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Department of Biology

Butler University

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Welcome to the Friesner Herbarium


The Friesner Hearbarium is a systematic collection of nearly 100,000 dried, pressed, and preserved plant specimens. The Herbarium, third largest in the state, grew from the personal collection of Dr. Ray C. Friesner, Professor and Chair of the Butler University Botany Department, 1920-1952. The specimens, with their carefully documentated labels, comprise a reference library on historical distribution, habitats, and timing of flowering and fruit production. The collection's voucher specimens serve to verify plant identification.

Although the Herbarium contains plants from around the world, the collection emphasizes plants of the Ohio River Valley region. The collection is of great value to professional botanists; information can be shared through a network of exchange and loan of specimens. Students, faculty, and staff from Butler's Department of Biological Sciences frequently use the Herbarium as a reference. In addition, the Herbarium holdings are available to enrich teaching and laboratory exercises for students in biology courses.

The Herbarium is open to the public by appointment.  Call (317) 940-9413  or e-mail Dr. Rebecca Dolan, Director to arrange a visit. 

Click here to read our Annual Report for 2008.

The Friesner Herbarium is proud to announce they have received a grant from the Indiana State Library for the "Indiana Ferns and Orchids Specimens Digitization Project".  The goal of the project is to increase access to, awareness of and use by all citizens of Indiana of the valuable historical botanical information contained with the Friesner Herbarium.  This project will be a relatively small pilot project of about 1,800 Indiana fern and orchid specimens.  If successful, additional grants applications will be submitted to cover other plant families.  The images will be posted along with associated metadata on Butler University servers with links to the Indiana Memory site of the Indiana State Library.

Upon completion of the project in early 2010, a display and reception will be held at Butler University Libraries.  Please check back for further details.


September 25-27 - Hoosier Outdoor Expo

Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis. Click here for more information.

November 3, 7:30 p.m. FREE LECTURE by Doug Tallamy, Clowes Memorial Hall. He was the keynote speaker at the 2008 INPAWS Annual Conference and gave an excellent, thought-provoking, and garden-changing event! Definitely plan to attend!  More details later.   Doug is the author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, which is now available in paperback in an expanded and updated edition. Doug is an entomologist at the University of Delaware, and his book (which is based on many years of research) is about the vital link between native plants and healthy wildlife populations. Click on the book link above to go to Timber Press to order the book.

Saturday, November 7 - INPAWS 16th Annual Conference at the Athenaeum in Indianapolis

"Native Plant Communities - What to Plant, Where, and Why"

Featured speakers will be Donald Leopold, PhD., Chair of the Department of Environment and Forest Biology, SUNY, and the author of Native Plants of the Northeast; and Steven I. Apfelbaum, Senior and Principal Ecologist, Chairman & Owner of Applied Ecological Services of Wisconsin. Please mark your calendar now for this enlightening INPAWS event.

November 6-8, Environmental Education Association of Indiana Conference - "Fading Your Carbon Footprint, Living Sustainably in a Modern World" - Click here for information

Useful Links:



Need help with plant identification?  Web sites with good photos can often be helpful with plant identification, especially to confirm a suspected id or quickly eliminate a way-off incorrect one.  An important caveat is that many things on the internet are misidentified.  Always double-check with other references.  Click here for a list of a a few recommend sites.

Photoabove left: Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida). Photo taken by Herbarium Assistant Marcia E. Moore, Butler University Prairie.  Solidagos were some of the many species collected by Dr. Ray Friesner. Collecting nearly 1,100 plants of this genus from all Indiana counties in the 1930s and 1940s, most of the specimens are housed at the Friesner Herbarium, located at Butler University, within the Department of Biological Sciences.

Click here to read an article about the Friesner Herbarium published in Brittonia.

This web site is designed and maintained by Friesner Herbarium Assistant Marcia Moore


"BOTANIZING 101- Make Your Own Dried Specimens" - Download the PDF of article that appeared in the Summer 2008 INPAWS Journal, adapted from an article by Kay Yatskievych and Rebecca Dolan in the Spring 2001 issue of INPAWS Journal. Illustrative specimen courtesy of University of Florida Herbarium