Centuries-old plant specimens reside in ISU's herbarium

For nearly 40 years, Deb Lewis has been the curator for a unique kind of library and research facility dedicated to plants. The Ada Hayden Herbarium at Iowa State has over 700,000 dried plant specimens from all over the world. Some of these plants date back to before the founding of the herbarium in 1870. The herbarium can be used to study plants, biodiversity and ecological changes. Plant samples are collected, dried, and catalogued. Once they are stored, the plants can last virtually forever, giving scientists a way to study how plants or environments have changed over time.