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Dunn-Palmer Herbarium

cardinal flowerThe University of Missouri (UMO) Dunn-Palmer Herbarium was founded in 1896, making it one of the oldest public institutional herbaria west of the Mississippi River. It is located at the Museum Support Center on the University of Missouri’s main campus in Columbia, Missouri,

UMO holdings include more than 170,000 vascular plants, plus several thousand mosses, fungi, and algae. The collection is currently being computerized, but data on approximately 95,000 UMO specimens (including all monocots) are presently accessible on W3TROPICOS, a searchable database maintained at Missouri Botanical Garden (MO). After entering a taxon name, choose “Specimen lists and maps.” UMO specimens may be identified by the letters “UMO” and an accession number at the end of the entry.

The checklist of the Flora of Missouri, compiled by George Yatskievych at the Missouri Botanical Garden, may be accessed at

Special Collections include more than 13,000 Lupinus specimens, collected mainly in the U.S., Mexico and Central America by David Baxter Dunn (1917-1994). Other large collections at UMO include those of Ernest Jesse Palmer (approximately 35,000 sheets), Julian A. Steyermark, Benjamin F. Bush, and Francis Potter Daniels.

Loan requests and specimen exchanges are welcome.

The Curator of the Herbarium is Dr. Robin C.Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy can be reached at

Ernest Jesse Palmer

Ernest Jesse Palmer was a noted US botanist and collector, beginning in 1900 with the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. In 1913, he additionally became a collector for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and retained both associations until his retirement in 1948. His collecting trips then continued from his Webb City, Missouri, home.

Palmer collected extensively in Missouri, but ranged widely and collected specimens from every state in the US save two. Palmer donated more than half of his 69,000 lifetime collected specimens to the University of Missouri Herbarium in 1962, just before his death. Most of the rest of his collection resides at Harvard in the Arnold Arboretum Herbarium.

In addition to his extensive North American Crataegus (hawthorn) and Quercus (oak) specimens, Palmer’s UMO collection contains many unique taxa collected in the southwestern US between 1915 and 1948, in relatively undisturbed areas.

Palmer’s reknowned knowledge of Missouri’s flora let another notable botanist, Julian Steyermark, to rely on him for assistance in writing the 1963 Flora of Missouri, which is dedicated to Palmer. After Palmer’s death, his widow endowed the Ernest J. Palmer Memorial Scholarship in botany and geology at MU.

David Baxter Dunn

David Baxter Dunn published more than 60 papers in the field of plant taxonomy and plant ecology, and trained 14 PhD and 17 Master’s degree students. As Curator of the Herbarium, he and his students added more than 137,000 plant specimens to the collection. His expertise in plant identification, particularly in the genus Lupinus, brought in specimens for determination and gifts from herbaria in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela as well as from herbaria all over North America and Europe.