Welcome to the Brown University Herbarium (BRU)

The Brown University Herbarium was founded in 1869 when the University acquired the collections of Stephen Thayer Olney. The collection includes around 100,000 plant specimens and is an important repository of Rhode Island and New England collections. We also have specimens from all 50 US states (plus the District of Columbia) and the collection is rich in western and southern North American plants including sets of historically valuable specimens from 19th  and early 20th century western US expeditions. Among other important collections, the Herbarium also includes a set of Charles Wright’s Cuban plants (1856-1867), Cyrus Pringles's plants of Mexico (1885-1909) and a unique and classic collection of Carex assembled by Stephen Olney. The Herbarium continues to be active and over the past few years we have added over 3,000 specimens to the collection. These include new collections made by faculty and students at Brown in addition to gifts from other herbaria. 

Browse our collections online at the Brown Digital Repository and the Consortium of Northeastern Herbaria portal.

Please consider supporting the herbarium to ensure we're able to continue our efforts to document botanical diversity in Rhode Island and beyond. Click the "Donate Online" link below:

Donate Online

There are several oppotunities to provide support:

(1) Undergraduate summer research experiences focused on ecological studies and collecting efforts that investigate and document Rhode Island flora in the 21st century

(2) Ongoing efforts to digitize and catalogue the collection to make it widely available to researchers around the globe

(3) General support for the herbarium operating budget

(4) Support for the herbarium endowment to provide long term stability for botanical reserach at Brown

The Herbarium is part of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. It is located on the second floor of the Biomedical Center, 171 Meeting Street, Providence. Visitors are welcome to use our data and collections. Hours are from 8:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday. For access, please contact Rebecca Kartzinel, Herbarium Director (401-863-2375) or Martha Cooper, Curatorial Assistant (401-863-2204).

At the Brown University Herbarium:

“…..every courtesy will be extended to visiting botanists.” (W. W. Bailey, Botanical Gazette, 1880, 5(12):149-150)


Brown University Herbarium, 34 Olive St Box G-B225 Providence, RI 02912, USA


Brown University Herbarium, 171 Meeting Street (Room 225), Providence, RI 02912, USA map