PEEC’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium Goes Global

Dorothy Hoard assists a child with the microscope in the Jemez Mountain Herbarium at PEEC. Courtesy photo

PEEC News:

An organization in Arizona, the Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet), has been gathering the most important southwest databases into a single website.

SEINet recently accepted the Jemez Mountain Herbarium, which is housed by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), and has about 3,000 species from Los Alamos County and the Jemez Mountains. Anyone in the world can query SEINet.

For years botanists have been collecting native plants in New Mexico and Arizona. These are pressed, dried, and mounted on archival sheets with all the information about them, after which they are housed in herbaria. Usually each sheet’s information is entered into a database that allows interested people to access these collections.

Thanks to the efforts of SEINet, anyone wanting to know the geographical distribution of a given plant species now need only go to this website and query the super-database.

SEINet has become the premier website database for New Mexico and Arizona for native plants that are documented in herbaria. It is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF.) The SEINet web interface has many features that allow anyone interested in plants to keep up to date on what is known about the flora of our states. These features include a search engine, interactive maps, plant lists and photos.

PEEC houses the Jemez Mountain Herbarium and with the adoption by SEINet earlier this year, botanists from anywhere can now find out what plants have been found in the local area. PEEC plant enthusiasts have found many species heretofore unknown to the Jemez Mountains; now these species can be known to other botanists.

“This is a huge step for local plant enthusiasts and for PEEC,” PEEC co-founder Chick Keller said. “Now we can share our area’s unique plant species with the rest of the world. The San Pedro Parks Wilderness is a particularly interesting area for plants in the northwest Jemez Mountains.”

Keller is one of the founding members and a current board member of PEEC. He is an avid plant enthusiast, leading many hikes and programs for PEEC that educate about the local flora. Keller also is the point person for the Jemez Mountain Herbarium. County Open Space Specialist Craig Martin acts as the assistant herbarium curator and has aided Keller with much of the groundwork to get PEEC’s lists onto SEINet

The SEINet database can be accessed directly from PEEC’s website at http://www.pajaritoeec.org/guides/herbarium.php. Some specific resources highlighted on the page include:

  • SEINet Search Engine: Enter a plant genus and species to see all entries, including their locations on a map.
  • Checklists by County (including Los Alamos): See information about the species found in each county.
  • Jemez Mountain Herbarium: Find a listing of the plants in PEEC’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium, which can be sorted by collection number, plant family, genus and species.
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