The Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley, offers a plant identification service. Submissions from interested parties may be made via mail or in person. Results of identification can be very basic or may involve extensive research, depending on what an individual requires. The Herbarium requires specific information to process these requests, and applicable fees will be charged upon completion of service.
Homeowners, gardeners and other individuals who are curious about plants in their area can find out a plant's name, whether or not it is toxic and any other information they wish to know by submitting the plant to the Jepson Herbarium for testing. This can be advantageous to a homeowner looking to landscape, a person with allergies or a person who is just plain curious about specific plants. If an individual does not have the time or inclination to take photos and do her own research online or at a library, this is a good option.
As of August 2010, the minimum charge for this service was $75, which covers the first hour. After the first hour, fees accrue in 20-minute intervals ($25 per 20 minutes) for however long testing and research takes per sample.
Plant samples sent to the Jepson Herbarium are frozen for seven days before they are studied. After analysis is complete, the Herbarium will issue an invoice to you for the completed service, and the full amount due will be payable within 30 days from the date of the invoice.
Information to Include
Individual specimens should be wrapped in newspaper and carefully placed between two pieces of cardboard to protect them. Individuals should write down where they found the specimen, its elevation, approximate distance to the nearest town or city, and the county in which it was found. Individuals should also provide complete contact information, including their name, telephone number, e-mail address and postal address. If individuals require an official letter stating what the specimens are, that should also be noted with the submission of the specimen.
Submissions may be submitted via postal mail to: Margriet Wetherwax, Jepson Herbarium, 1001 VLSB #2465, Berkeley, CA 94720-2465. Individuals who wish to submit their specimens in person may do so, but they must first set up an appointment. For appointments, individuals should either call Margriet Wetherwax at 510-643-7008 or submit an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting an appointment. No matter how submissions are made, they must include all the information mentioned above.