The Yale Peabody Museum’s paleobotany collection numbers over 150,000 specimens, with 4,200 of these type and illustrated specimens. The collection is worldwide in scope, with approximately 75% of the collection from North America and the other 25% from the Arctic, Australia, Central American, Europe, Israel, Pakistan, Lebanon, South America and the West Indies.
Tracing its roots back to the early 19th century, this collection is one of the most historically significant in the United States. Included among its riches are plant fossils from the opening of the American West, from the Wilkes Expedition of 1838–1842 described by James Dwight Dana, Triassic and late Cretaceous floras from New York, New Jersey and southern New England; and the world’s largest assemblage of cycadeoids.
Over the past 20 years the collection has seen unparalleled growth. Part of this expansion is the result of field collecting, but the largest increase is from the addition of 2 orphaned collections: The New York Botanical Garden Collection and a substantial part of the Princeton University paleobotanical collections. These holdings include material that formed the basis of the research of many of the founders of American paleobotany, including J.S. Newberry, Leo Lesquereux, E.W. Berry, W.M. Fontaine, Lester Ward and Arthur Hollick.
The Peabody’s paleobotany collection also has under its care the Compendium Index of North American Mesozoic and Cenozoic Type Fossil Plants.
The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the Collections Manager.