The Weeks Bay Reserve Herbarium is a repository and research facility for the vascular plants, native and exotic, that are growing outside of cultivation in Baldwin County, Alabama. Weeks Bay is one of only a few Reserves in the NERRS system with an herbarium.


Herbaria (plural) contain plants and plant parts that have been collected, preserved, and documented according to standard procedures that are observed throughout the world. Plants are responsibly collected from their natural habitats, making certain that their numbers are large enough to permit removal of a specimen without depleting the population. In some cases, only the tops are collected, leaving the roots of rare species intact for regrowth. Herbaria are works in progress; our current emphasis is on the large and difficult grass and sedge families.


Herbarium specimens are pressed, dried and mounted on special sheets of acid-free paper. Each specimen contains a label with scientific and common names, and the date and place of collection, with map coordinates. With proper care, these specimens can be used for generations as invaluable historic occurrence records, and to make actual plant material available for examination by future researchers.


The herbarium database has been purged of duplicate specimens, to provide an online inventory and checklist of most of the vascular plant species growing outside of cultivation in Baldwin County. This list currently contains 1295 vascular plant species, of which 74 (6%) are considered rare and 189 (14%) are exotic- introduced from outside of North America. The complete herbarium database is available as an Excel file. Access to the herbarium is available to researchers by appointment. For additional information, e-mail Fred Nation at