IU Herbarium seeks photos to document state flora

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana University is seeking citizen-scientists throughout Indiana to help photograph all plant species that comprise the state’s flora.

The 2021 Indiana Plant Photographic Scavenger Hunt is looking for help in documenting the more than 2,700 plant species in Indiana with colorful, detailed images. The IU Herbarium, which completed a massive, five-year digitization project in 2019, is upgrading its collection with photos of live plants from all over Indiana.

IU Herbarium director Eric Knox, left, is looking for people to join the Indiana Plant Photographic Scavenger Hunt to document more than 2,700 plant species with detailed photos. Photo by Emily Sterneman, Indiana University

Once a plant has been identified, participants can upload their photos on the Photographic Scavenger Hunt website

The IU Herbarium scientists also hope to collect the tentative species, when the photo was taken and specifics about the location of the photo such as habitat, latitude, and longitude.

“The success of this Photographic Scavenger Hunt depends on the willingness of people throughout Indiana to locate and photograph species that grow in their respective areas,” said Eric Knox, director of the IU Herbarium and a senior scientist in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology. “Together, they will create a resource that will enable anyone to identify almost every plant species in Indiana. Knowing our flora is the first step toward conserving it for future generations.”

Hunting lists are available for each of Indiana’s ecoregions. In addition, species information can help participants determine where specific plants have been found in the past and when they typically flower.