A herbarium is somewhat like a museum or library for the storage of dried and pressed plants. Plants, usually with flowers, are obtained by field collection. They are identified by scientific name and are pressed and dried. The specimens are then mounted on acid free paper and stored in large cabinets.
Although the herbarium collection was started in the 1960′s by Dr. Jack Stanford and registered with Index Herbariorum, which is headquartered at the New York Botanical Gardens, it was doubled in 2001 through a permanent loan from South Plains College in Levelland. The generous loan included specimens as well as cabinets. The herbarium is registered as HPC since it was started when Howard Payne University was Howard Payne College and the registered designations do not change.
Today the collection has over 25,000 specimens of vascular and other plants. Most of the plants were collected in Texas, however there are specimens from Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and 34 other states and several countries.
The current curator of the herbarium is Dr. Marilyn Mathis. The herbarium is also part of the Northern Great Plains Regional Herbarium Network which is a member of the Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet). A listing of collection can be accessed on the Northern Great Plains Regional Herbaria Collections web site.