Plant Records
Introduction

Plant Records at Missouri Botanical Garden are maintained in a custom web-based SQL database. This comprehensive Living Collections Management System (LCMS) is fully integrated with the Garden’s Tropicos database and our mapping data in ESRI’s ArcGIS software.

Each plant in the living collection is labeled with an identification tag that is embossed with its accession number, botanical name, and collector name and number, if applicable. In addition to the embossed tags, many of the plants in the Garden have plant identification labels that provide common and scientific names, native ranges, and the botanical plant family to which the plant belongs. There are also many interpretive signs throughout the Garden to further educate visitors.

To ensure the proper identification of plants in the living collection, voucher herbarium specimens are prepared. The identity of each voucher is carefully researched, and when validated, the voucher number and validator's name are entered into the database.

We encourage the use of our plant collections for scientific research. If you are interested in collecting or obtaining plant material from our collections, please see Plant Material Request

For additional information, contact Rebecca Sucher, Living Collections Manager, at (314) 577-9407 or via email.

Plant Identification Labels

The plant identification label is the most basic educational unit in our Garden. The labels displayed at the Missouri Botanical Garden use both common and botanical nomenclature to identify plants. The following label is the standard size (2.875" x 5") and format used throughout most of the Garden:

There are several other label formats in addition to the standard format shown above. These include 2" x 4" labels for close viewing, 4" x 6" tree labels, specialty garden labels, and combination labels to name a few.

All of our labels are fabricated in-house using UV stable microsurfaced impact acrylic (2-ply, matte finish, 1/16" thick) and are engraved with a laser engraver. Labels are generated from data exported from our Living Collections Management System via reports in Microsoft Access.

Mapping

InventoryThe Plant Records Department at the Missouri Botanical Garden maps many of the features in the Garden, including the paths, water features, buildings, planting beds, and of course, plants. This is accomplished through the use of Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, technology.

The Plant Records Department uses GIS software products by ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) to manage our geographic data. A high resolution orthophotograph (4-inch resolution) is used as the base of the GIS. ESRI's ArcMap software is used to build layers on top of this orthophoto. Features in the Garden such as paths, buildings, and water features are simply "drawn" on top of the orthophoto using  and ArcMap's drawing tools.

Plant are mapped within MBG’s Living Collections Management System (LCMS), using tools developed in-house that utilize the Javascript API for ArcGIS, ArcGIS map services, and custom update queries. Once a plant record is retrieved in the LCMS, it can be inventoried and mapped by simply clicking or tapping on a map where the plant is located. Since the LCMS is web-based, this can be accomplished from a desktop PC, but also any internet connected device such as a smartphone or tablet. If using a GPS-enabled mobile device out in the Garden, head’s up digitizing can be facilitated using the device’s location marker on the map. Alternatively, GPS coordinates can be entered. This setup allows for SQL data in both the LCMS and the geodatabase to stay in perfect sync.