Loan and Accession Policies
Our mailing/shipping address is:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU)
CB #3280 Coker Hall
120 South Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 919-962-6931.
I. Outgoing Loans
- For the purpose of serious taxonomic research, specimens may be sent on loan for the use of qualified botanists. Requests for loans must be made by the curator of a botanical institution or department; loans are not made to individuals. The request should be addressed to the curator and should include the following information: 1) the name and status of the researcher (student, staff member, visiting scientist, etc.), 2) the nature and scope of the study, 3) the taxa requested, including possible synonyms, 4) the basionyms (including authors) for any type specimens being requested, and 5) the geographic scope of specimens desired, if appropriate.
- The herbarium requesting the loan must accept responsibility for the safe custody and return of the specimens. Loans are made without charge or service fee; it is expected that the borrowing institution will pay the costs of return shipment.
- Specimens must not be removed from the institution to which they were loaned without written consent of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium. Specimens may be transferred only to recognized institutions, not individuals, and permission for loan transfers will be made on a case-by-case basis by the curator.
- Upon receipt of the material, the borrowing institution should return the appropriate portion of the acknowledgment form to the University of North Carolina Herbarium, noting any discrepancies in counts or pertinent notes on the condition of the loan.
- Loans are made for a period of one year. If further time is required, an extension may be requested from the herbarium curator. Loans, however, should be returned at the earliest opportunity.
- Except during actual examination, specimens should remain in flimsies. Sheets should not be bent, folded, or laid face downwards. Specimens should be stored in Herbarium cases.
- The judicious dissection of specimens is normally permitted. For vascular plant specimens please use material in the packet or plastic bag stapled to the sheet for dissection before removing material from the actual specimen. All dissected portions must be placed in a suitable envelope and included with the specimen upon return.
- Materials for palynological, anatomical, chemical or molecular studies must not be removed from the herbarium sheet without obtaining prior permission. Researchers with requests of this nature should refer to the Destructive Sampling Policy and consult with the herbarium curator for authorization to remove material from specimens.
- All specimens should be annotated before return to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium. Annotation labels should include the determination, name of the investigator, and date of identification. In addition, type specimens should be annotated with the kind of type (holotype, isotype, lectotype, etc.), the basionym, author, and citation of the place of publication of the basionym. Annotation labels should be typed, printed, or legibly written in indelible ink. Ball-point pens should not be used. Existing labels, notes, or other annotations on the sheet must not be removed or defaced. Specimens that cannot be accurately named or those belonging to groups other than the ones under consideration should be annotated as far as possible.
- Material to be returned should be packed well to ensure safe transit. Please note the method of packing employed when the specimens arrive and pack in a similar manner when returning the loan. A shipping notice should be included with each returned loan and a copy sent by mail in a separate envelope.
- Please cite the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) in publications based on use of our material. Copies of publications based on our collections are appreciated. When referencing a specimen, please use the accession number, not the barcode; and note that our acronym is NCU (Not UNC).
II. Incoming Loans
- Researchers can request through NCU to borrow materials from other herbaria. The borrowed material will remain in the NCU herbarium until the loan is returned.
- The researcher will give in writing to the NCU Curator a list — as detailed as possible– of the specimens required. The NCU Curator will contact the lending herbarium and arrange the loan.
- NCU will contact the researcher when the loan arrives. All in-coming material will be frozen for 1 week upon receipt. After freezing, NCU will unpack the loan, confirm specimen count, acknowledge receipt to the lending herbarium, and designate a space for its storage. The Asst. Curator will enter the loan information (lending institution’s loan number, NCU’s transaction number, borrower, due date, specimen count) in loans database and file the paperwork (researcher’s request, NCU’s request, lending institution’s documentation enclosed with loan) by institution.
- The researcher is expected to abide by the lending herbarium’s rules on destructive sampling, loan period, affixing annotation labels, citing specimens in publications, etc. Extension of loan times should be requested to the loaning institution through the NCU Curator.
- When the researcher is finished with the loan, NCU will pack up loan for return. At the Curator’s discretion, the researcher may be expected to defray the cost of returning the specimens to the lending herbarium.
III. Destructive Sampling Policy
The collections of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium are maintained with the goal of balancing preservation of the integrity of herbarium specimens with utilization for scientific research. While every effort will be made to accommodate researchers, decisions concerning destructive sampling of collections are made on a case-by-case basis.
As a rule, no material may be removed from specimens without prior consent of the Curator. Permission for removal of material is contingent upon adherence to the following guidelines:
- Leaf material, pollen, spores, etc. may be removed from specimens only when adequate material is available. Care must be taken not to damage the specimen.
- Material may not be removed from type collections or from taxa represented in the herbarium by fewer than three collections except in rare instances, and then only by an appropriate staff member, or with advance permission.
- Each specimen must be annotated indicating the material removed, the nature of the study, the researcher’s name and institutional affiliation, and the date. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium should be cited in any resulting publication, a copy of which should be sent here.
- Material may not be removed from an herbarium sheet for a second time if the nature of the study is the same (i.e., pollen material for SEM, leaf material for DNA analysis, etc.). Exceptions will be made in cases where additional material was collected specifically for sampling purposes (e.g., air-dried leaf material for DNA analysis).
- We encourage the researcher to return a duplicate permanent pollen, spore, or leaf slide or an SEM photograph to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium. The label on the slide or photograph should provide the name of the taxon, the collector’s name and number, the country of origin of the voucher sheet from which the sample was obtained, and the method of preparation used. Such material will be housed in the herbarium in a suitable place, cross-referenced to the specimen from which it was removed, and made accessible to other researchers as requested.
- Requests for removal of material for DNA studies will be reviewed and approved by the curator. Requests should state the amount of material needed. Excessive destruction must be avoided. Results (both positive and negative) must be reported in writing, the specimens must be annotated, and GenBank and/or EMBL accession numbers must be included (sent later, if necessary). A reference to where the results are published is highly desirable. The researcher must provide NCU with location and storage method of any left-over sample. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium reserves the right to request DNA or molecular information obtained from NCU specimens. Removal shall not be permitted if there is reason to believe that the data sought cannot be obtained from such a sample (e.g., the technique is not sufficiently well known to consistently produce satisfactory results) or the specimen is known to be unsuitable for sampling (e.g. old or treated with heat or chemicals inimical to DNA sampling). Herbarium specimens should not be the source of first choice if there are other available sources for the desired material.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium maintains no records on the history or treatment of the collections; materials are supplied with no warranty of any kind.
IV. Accessions and Exchange
New acquisitions to the UNC Herbarium result primarily from: 1) local and regional collections by students and professional botanists, 2) standing exchange programs with other herbaria worldwide, 3) specimens sent as gifts for determination to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers, 4) gifts from non-academic professionals and native plant enthusiasts, 5) collection transfers from other institutions.
The value of the collection can be enhanced most effectively by adding to our representation in the following areas:
- Collections from the southeastern United States, particularly uncommon or under-collected taxa from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, or Georgia, or from under-collected regions of those states.
- Groups under study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill botanists.
- Specimens of particular value in documenting biodiversity, plant distributions, and invasive exotic species in the Southeast.
- Specimens of genera and families related to those occurring in the southeastern United States.
- Vouchers for studies undertaken at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Priority in accessioning into the herbarium will be given to specimens with the following attributes:
- The specimen is well-prepared, with sufficient material to occupy a standard herbarium sheet, or a packet in the case of cryptogams.
- The specimen possesses fertile structures and/or other critical identifying features of its plant group.
- The specimen is accompanied by complete provenance data with a ready-to-mount label in permanent ink on 100% rag paper.
- The specimen serves as a voucher for botanical research.
Labels and mounting are done in the herbarium using archival materials. Students or researchers who make their own labels should consult with herbarium staff about appropriate materials and methods to be used for specimens destined for incorporation into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium.