UNT Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum

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B.B. Harris Botanical Collection

The Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum houses approximately 16,000 plant specimens. Approximately 65% of these specimens have been identified and mounted on herbarium quality paper, the remaining 35% have been largely identified but not labeled and mounted. Many of these specimens, which date back to the late 1800's, were collected by Benjamin B. Harris (UNT faculty 1916 - 1953). Numerous other specimens were collected by Archibald W. Roach, Albert Ruth and various faculty and students of the University of North Texas. There are several type specimens in the collection. Collection specimens are primarily from Texas, with a detailed record of Denton County specimens. Approximately 5% of the North American specimens were collected outside of Texas, in regions representing Northeastern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Northwestern United States. The collection also includes specimens from Italy, Belgium, Australia, Argentina, Honduras, Germany, Wales and England.

Holdings in the museum include specimens collected as early as the late 1800’s. Approximately 80% of the herbarium collections were collected between 1916 and the mid 1950's. Although by the mid 1970's the growth of the herbarium stagnated except for the addition of student collections, sporadic collections of importance have continued to be added. For example the collection contains a detailed floral survey from Lake Ray Roberts, Texas made before and after the impoundment and flooding of the 30,000 acre reservoir in the late 1980's. Corp of Engineer plant surveys conducted by UNT scientists continue to contribute to the museums collections. The collection contains specimens of significant value to botanists documenting plant distributions within the state.

About B. B. Harris

Dr. B.B. Harris began his career at North Texas State Normal School as an instructor in agriculture and biology in 1916. A pioneer of conservation education programs in Texas colleges, Dr. Harris, was an outstanding science fellow in the Southwest. Harris began the botanical collections shortly after his arrival at North Texas. During his tenure at North Texas he was a Professor and Chair of the Biology Department. At the time of his retirement he was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He retired in 1953 at the age of 66.

Roach, A. W. and B. B. Harris. 1952. Sand hill ferns of Henderson County, Texas. American Fern Journal 42:13-15.

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9-5 Monday-Friday


The next upcoming event will be the Museum open house in November. Details soon.

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Phone: 940-565-2981
Email: kennedy@unt.edu

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