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Michael I. Cousens Herbarium

The Michael I. Cousens Herbarium of the University of West Florida (UWFP) was established 30 October 1974 (as the Herbarium of the University of West Florida) for the purpose of documenting the Flora of the Florida panhandle and neighboring states.

Lilium Iridollae, native on UWF's main campus.

Currently, its holdings include approximately 22,000 vascular plant specimens of 3500 species and smaller collections of bryophytes and macroalgae.

The Michael I. Cousens Herbarium is located in Building 58 on the scenic UWF main campus, which has over 2,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land, including whole undisturbed forests of pines, hardwoods and swamp forest communities. The vascular plant flora of this campus consists of nearly 900 species, the largest such flora of any university campus in the eastern United States.

Important collectors represented are R. K. Godfrey, L. C. Anderson, J. B. Nelson, B. F. Hansen, J. R. Abbott, J. R. Burkhalter, and O. Degener. The core of the permanent exsiccatae collection consists of approximately 10,500 specimens from over 600 locations in Escambia County, FL, representing 1,600 species, making it one of the most biodiverse county floras in the United States.

The Michael I. Cousens Herbarium is available to all credentialed botanists and researchers seven days per week and 24 hours per day. Visitors during regular weekday hours (8 AM to 4 PM) should contact the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation (CEDB) (Building 58, Room 70) or the Biology Department office (Building 58C, Suite 104). For nighttime, weekend, and holiday visitors, contact J. R. Burkhalter, Curator, at 850-476-6177 and arrangements will be made. All visitors are requested to please sign the guest register.

Loans of specimens are available upon request.

Michael Irwin Cousens, Ph.D., was a noted pteridologist and educator who taught at UWF from 1974 to 1987.  He was killed in an untimely automobile accident in October 1990.  Dr. Cousens participated in the founding of UWF's herbarium in 1974 and the herbarium was renamed in his honor in 1994.  His obituary and biography were published in the American Fern Journal, Vol. 80: 121-124 (1990).