"To discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life." – Missouri Botanical Garden mission
The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids.
For over 154 years, the Garden has been an oasis in the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and also a center for education, science, and conservation.
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Herbarium is one of the world’s outstanding research resources for specimens and information on bryophytes and vascular plants. The collection is limited to these two major groups of plants. As of 1 January 2013 the collection contained 6.37 million specimens (5.8 million vascular plants and 538,000 bryophytes).
As an aid for research in molecular phylogenetics the Herbarium maintains a collection of material specifically intended for DNA extraction. Botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden collect leaf samples, preserve them in silica gel and store them at -20º C. Because the samples are carefully prepared and stored, they are likely to give better yields of higher quality DNA than herbarium material. To date, nearly 11,000 samples have been catalogued and are available for distribution. The catalog of this material is available online.
A collection of about 4,000 accessions of liquid preserved plant parts is also available for consultation and study. These plant materials represent a diverse array of families, but are concentrated in groups that have been the special research interests of the Garden staff.
TROPICOS, the world's largest database of plant information, contains fully web-searchable records for over 1.2 million plant names and nearly 4.1 million specimens. Over 200,000 plant images are also linked to their records in TROPICOS.
The Library is located on the 4th floor of the Monsanto Center (4500 Shaw Blvd.). The general collection consists of more than 200,000 volumes of monographs and journals. More than 800 current periodicals are received through subscription and on exchange. The main emphasis of the collection is on plant taxonomic literature, current and retrospective, collected in all languages. Other special collections include: over 3,000 reference works; 1,100 Sturtevant Pre-Linnaean volumes; 4,000 post-1753 rare books; over 1,000 folio volumes; the personal collections of Ewan (11,000 books), Steere (1,000 volumes), and Niederlander (600 volumes); 7,000 items of botanical art; map and atlas collection (over 7,000 items); and microfiche (45,000 fiche).
The Archives includes more than 3,000 linear feet of Garden records and publications, professional and personal papers, historic manuscripts, Garden photographs, oral histories, original artwork from Garden publications, and architectural drawings. Noteworthy are the personal papers of Henry Shaw, including letters, account books, diaries, and legal papers documenting his business transactions and the development of the Garden. The George Engelmann Papers, numbering some