In order to ensure that the NMSU herbaria collections loaned out are protected and effectively preserved for research ad infinitum, the following stipulations are made:

Loan Conditions

Loans are made to botanical institutions or departments engaged in specimen-based botanical research. These institutions are mostly, but not exclusively, listed in Index Herbariorum. Ordinarily, loans are not made to individuals, but exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Curator of the herbarium.

Loan requests of specimens (or images of specimens, i.e., a digital loan) must be submitted to the Curator in written form from the Curator or responsible party (e.g., student's professor) of the requesting institution (1st time borrowers must send their requests on formal letterhead) via email or mailing address, both available on the herbarium's website. Loan requests should specifically state:

  • Name(s) of the workers on whose behalf they are made
  • The basic reason for the request
  • The precise nomenclatural and taxonomic focus of the project, including any synonyms;

NOTE: Requests made without providing synonyms for currently recognized names and taxa may result in researchers receiving incomplete relevant loan material from NMC or NMCR for their study

  • The precise geographical range of the investigation, if applicable.

Upon receipt of loan shipment, please verify the number of items sent, contents, and sign and return the copy of the enclosed invoice to the Curator of the Herbarium.

Loans are made for a period of one year. If a reasonable extension of the loan term is needed, please send a written request to the Curator of the Herbarium.

The NMSU Herbaria reserves the right to request the return of its materials at any time.

Procedures, Storage, and Return of Borrowed Material

Herbarium specimens should be stored in sealed cases in a dry, cool environment. Specimens must be checked occasionally to ensure safe storage (e.g., no excessive moisture, insect infestation, mold). If any detrimental issue is detected with NMC or NMCR specimens, the herbarium Curator must be notified immediately. Under no circumstance should any contact adhesive or cellulose self-adhesive tape or labels be used on any herbarium sheet.

Herbarium sheets must not be bent, folded, or laid face down. Except during actual examination, type specimens should remain in their special blue-bordered folders.

Loans may be transferred to another institution only after permission is obtained in writing from all institutions involved in the transfer.


Before being returned, every herbarium sheet should be legibly annotated with typescript, in black or blue ink, or indelible lead pencil, by the investigator ( never ballpoint pen). New or confirmed identifications, or other annotations (e.g., removal of material, see next section) should preferably be typed or written on acid-free paper, approximately 2.5 x 10 cm in size. Identifications should bear the accepted name of the taxon, the name of the investigator and his or her institution name (or preferable using the standardized Index Herbariorum acronym), and date of annotation (full date preferable to just the year). Annotations should be glued to the sheet (or packet in case of bryophyte preparations) directly above the original label, or in cases where previous (re)identifications have been made, directly above the most recent prior identification, which will facilitate databasing, filing, and to maximize available space for future annotations of the specimen. In cases of types, specimens should be carefully annotated indicating the kind of type (holo-, iso-, lecto-, syn-, etc.) followed by its respective basionym(s), and then the place of first valid publication (i.e., the protologue for sp. nov.). Please ask the Curator before annotating any type specimen if there is any question regarding how to interpret a specimen's type status or a name's nomenclatural validity.

Specimens that cannot be identified with certainty, or those that are misidentified and found to belong to groups not under study, should be annotated to the fullest extent possible. When a sheet is found to contain two or more taxa (i.e., an admixture), each element of the mixture should be clearly indicated with a separate identification slip clearly indicating to which specimen, or specimens it belongs (via arrows, numbers/letters, or other distinguishing marks). Identifications can be qualified when appropriate, and are considered better than no det. or a clearly incorrect one (commonly used qualifiers are aff., sp. aff., sp. nov.).

Amplification of herbarium labels with data from duplicate sheets previously studied from other herbaria will be appreciated, especially where locality, date, collector, or collector's number are absent. In those cases, the new insertions must be added on one of the researcher's own new annotation labels. In other words, all existing labels or annotations must not be removed, obscured or altered in any way, regardless of disagreements in taxonomic opinion, circumscriptions, or so-called obviously incorrect identifications (as historical documents, the history of identification for every specimen is essential to record and maintain thoroughly ad infinitum, and a complete record is especially useful when tracking or searching for material using the physical collection or database).

Removal of Material

No portion of the specimen on an herbarium sheet may be removed without the prior written approval of the Curator of the Herbarium, but careful, dissection of small portions in fragment packets or those removed directly from the sheets is permitted. Any parts should be returned immediately to the fragment packet post-dissection, and whenever possible notes or illustrations of dissected organs are encouraged, as they generally increase the scientific value of the specimen and facilitate future study.

Written authorization must be obtained for removal of any material for destructive sampling, SEM or anatomical study. This includes material for DNA extraction, pollen, spores, leaves, wood or any other structure. Additional details for specimen policies regarding destructive sampling are posted on the website.


All NMSU-herbaria specimens should be cited with the standard international acronym, NMC for the Biology Department Herbarium, or NMCR for the Range Sciences Herbarium, respectively, in any published lists of specimens or vouchers (including online dissemination). As good standard practice, a copy of any publication resulting from studies based on NMSU herbaria specimens should be sent to the Herbarium, in electronic or hardcopy form (e.g., reprint).