Botany and Horticulture Research Guide

The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Botany and Horticulture Research Guide is a select list of resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about specific subject areas of both botany and horticulture. This guide's concentration follows the major concentrations of print holdings found in the Botany and Horticulture Library.  The botany websites feature taxonomy, systematics, and botanical nomenclature. The horticulture websites feature American garden history, plants that can grow in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, and landscape design. 

Smithsonian Resources

  • Collections, Department of Botany, Smithsonian:  Our specimen type Herbarium is one of the largest in the world. Visiting researchers include botanists, artists, historians, and students.  This website provides virtual access to our physical collection through specimen catalogs, herbarium use and policies, and a special collection on wood specimens.
  • Department of Botany, Smithsonian official website: Links to the current research projects of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's Department of Botany, featuring botanical work around the globe and more recent projects such as the DNA Barcode Project.
  • Botany at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama:  Botanists working at STRI and the University of Panama are major contributors to the ongoing classification of Panama’s 10,000-plus plant species. Both institutions maintain herbaria and online data bases designed by STRI staff.
  • Forest-GEO: The Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) is a global network of scientists and forest research sites dedicated to advancing long-term study of the world's forests. The network recognizes the importance of collaborating with local institutions to strengthen science capacity in an era of rapidly changing landscapes and climate to understand and predict forest dynamics.
  • The Field Book Project:  A website designed by our Institutional Archives, field books are important primary source documents that describe the events leading up to and including the collection of specimens or observations during field research. 
  • Botanical Art Database, Smithsonian: A legacy database documenting the botanical art and illustrations within the Department of Botany.
  • Seed and Nursery Catalogs: An early designed legacy website from the Smithsonian Libraries on seed and nursery catalogs in the library's collection.  It features cover art from over 250 different historical seed catalog companies.
  • Smithsonian Gardens: Smithsonian Gardens creates outdoor themed gardens through the Smithsonian museum complex and provides educational opportunities and programs to the public to learn about gardening.
  • Community of Gardens: Community of Gardens is the Smithsonian’s digital home for sharing and preserving the stories of gardens and the gardeners who make them grow.
  • Virtual Tours from Smithsonian Gardens:  Be an armchair explorer of our gardens on the National Mall and annual exhibits such as the fabulous Orchid Shows held in the winter months here in Washington D.C.  Take virtual morning walks along shady garden paths are calling.  Virtual tours offered of gardens, exhibits, and greenhouses.

Botany Resources

  • International Plant Names Index (IPNI): A searchable database of plant scientific names including vascular plants, ferns and lycophytes.  IPNI is the product of a collaboration between The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, The Harvard University Herbaria, and the Australian National Herbarium.
  • Index Nominum Genericorum (ING) : A legacy website of a compilation of generic names published for organisms covered by the ICN: International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants.
  • Guide to the plant species descriptions published in seed lists from Botanic Gardens for the period 1800 - 1900 : A database of long time annual seed lists for exchange from the 1800's.  These lists were printed in a very limited edition and past issues generally were not kept.  The Library of the NATURALIS Biodiversity Centre: section Botany in Leiden, and the Hortus Botanicus (Leiden University) has a large collection of seed lists, but it, too, is far from complete. Collaboration with other libraries and taxonomists was essential.
  • LINNAEUS Link: This website is an international collaboration between libraries with significant holdings of materials by or relating to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), his students and his legacy.
  • PLANTS database: A database from the U.S. Department of Agriculture featuring taxonomic, habitat, and geographic information of the plants in the United States and its territories.
  • Tropicos: A botanical nomenclature database managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden, it features over 4 million specimen records, 2 million distribution records, and 230,000 images.
  • World Flora Online: World Flora Online is the international initiative to achieve Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and provides a global overview of the diversity of plant species.

Horticulture Resources

  • Garden Club of America: The Garden Club of America is a national leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation, and civic improvement.   GCA is a stakeholder with the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens through its Garden History & Design Committee. 
  • History of Early American Landscape Design (National Gallery of Art): This digital resource is an inquiry into the language of early American landscape aesthetics and garden design in the colonial and national periods. Thousands of texts are combined with a corpus of more than 1700 images in order to trace the development of landscape and garden terminology from British colonial America to the mid-19th century.
  • Mertz Library Nursery and Seed Catalog LibGuides: A guide to the Nursery and Seed Catalog collection from the Mertz Library at the New York Botanical Garden.
  • A Short History of the Seed and Nursery Catalogue in Europe and U.S.: A website from Oregon State University featuring information and history about Seed and Nursery catalogs from as early as 1612 to today.
Last Updated February 13, 2023