Brad R. Ruhfel
The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Herbaria are located in a new, state-of-the-art facility and contain the largest collection of vascular plants in Kentucky and the second largest in the Kentucky-Tennessee region. Since the inception of the EKU Herbarium in 1974, and especially with the merging of the EKU and Berea College collections in 2018, these herbaria have been an integral resource for biological research. Most specimens are from central and eastern Kentucky. A number of important sets of specimens are housed in the Ronald L. Jones Herbarium (EKY), including sets from EKU’s natural areas, Pine Mountain, Breaks Interstate Park, Brodhead Swamp, Costa Rica, the headwater regions of the Green River, and the Red River Gorge. Important collectors include M. Wharton, E.T. Browne, R. Athey, R. L. Jones, and the staff of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves. The Ralph L. Thompson Herbarium (BEREA) includes specimens from several published floras, especially of surfaced mined lands. Important collectors include J. R. Abbott, R. A. Gelis, J. D. Pittillo, D. D. Taylor, and R. L. Thompson. As of December 2018, the EKU Herbaria include over 100,000 specimens, all of which are imaged, databased, and available online (http://sernecportal.org) thanks to a recent grant from the National Science Foundation. The purpose of this poster is to provide 1) a visual guide to the taxonomic and biogeographic distribution of specimens in these collections, 2) a brief history and explanation of the important collections and publications, and 3) a summary of future projects.