Photo taken by Armstrong

Photo taken by Armstrong

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) is a non-profit institution that documents the diversity of plant life and conducts extensive research around the world. BRIT was founded in 1987 and based in Fort Worth, Texas.


Over one million plant specimens are housed in the BRIT Herbarium (the combined BRIT-SMU and VDB collections), making this the largest independent herbarium in the southeastern US. The herbarium has strengths in the plants of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, the Gulf Coast, and the southeastern United States. However, these collections are worldwide in scope, and most of the Earth’s plant families are represented here. Two of our current research projects, one in Peru and one in Papua New Guinea, have greatly expanded the scope of our collection of tropical specimens.


The BRIT Libraries serve to support the taxonomic research done by botanists at BRIT, visiting researchers, and to support the educational programs sponsored and hosted by BRIT. The scientific reference collection includes materials valuable for research and systematic botany, particularly those with descriptions of new species. The remainder of the collection has been carefully selected to represent a comprehensive library of scientific and taxonomic books and publications primarily for naming and classifying plants. It is one of the largest and finest collections of botanical literature in the southwestern United States. Foremost among the programs sponsored by BRIT is that of the Science Education Program. Students and teachers use books from BRIT’s library to enrich their studies and to reach a fuller understanding of the value of plants.


Atrium is a biodiversity information system which was developed with the goal of revolutionizing biodiversity information management by enabling researchers and organizations to share, synthesize, manage, and publish biodiversity data in a collaborative, online environment.


Apiary is an online digital workflow that streamlines the process of extracting label and annotation data from herbarium specimens to meet the critical need for worldwide, digital access to the wealth of knowledge currently trapped on millions of specimen sheets. The Apiary workflow provides a web-based interface that allows humans to quickly and accurately extract the textual data from digital specimen images with the assistance of computer processes such as optical character recognition (OCR).

[This information was taken from the BRIT website]


Will McClatchey (Director of Research)
Dave Reedy
Karen C. Hall
Research Staff


Spice Twister– Almost everyone uses some spices. Sometimes these are used as food flavorings, other times they are used as medicines, and sometimes they are a little of each. Spices are important markers of personal culture and also tell about some of the history of foods/cuisine and opportunities people have had in the past. The module will help Learners be able to: a) Describe examples of relationships between particular spices and socio-historical events, b) Associate specific spices with their geographic place of origin, plant family, and part used, c) Contrast the history of two assigned spices based on their origins, plant family, and part used, and d) Discuss one or more spices that have had an impact in their own lives.

Biotechnology Segues– Biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use. A science segues is modeled transition that naturally occurs in the frontier between two scientific disciplines. Segues can be used as mechanisms to introduce students to a range of sciences while they are studying one particular science. This module will demonstrate some of the basic aspects of biotechnology particularly sa they relate to studies of traditional societies.

Exploring Plants in Our Lives: Useful Plants on the Prairie– This module was designed for students in grades 6-12. Students are exposed to what ethnobotany is and provided an opportunity to learn more about local plants that they see often on a daily basis.