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Michigan State University

Horticulture and Gardening Research Guide: MSU, MI Resources

Horticulture encompasses the studies of flower cultivation (floriculture), fruits (pomology), vegetables (olericulture), ornamental plants, turf/lawns, and landscape architecture. This guide identifies key resources to research these and related topics.

MSU and Michigan Resources

Gardening in Michigan -from MSU Extension
There's new interest in gardening. Whether you are looking to save money, love fresh flavor, or just enjoy working with nature, Michigan is a great place for growing fruit, vegetables, flowers and other landscape plants. This web site highlights the resources at Michigan State University for gardeners.

MSU Campus Plants Research Guide  
A guide to the literature and web sites about the MAC/MSU campus plants through its history.

Michigan Automated Weather Network
The Michigan Automated Weather Network, or MAWN, is a new program associated with The Generating Research and Extension to Meet Economic and Environmental Needs (GREEEN)  Initiative, a joint partnership between the state's major commodity groups and food processors, the state government, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, and Michigan State University  signed into law in 1998. A major emphasis of the GREEEN  initiative is improved efficiency and productivity of agriculture through the expanded use of Integrated Crop Management (ICM)  strategies, many of which require highly detailed weather data and information.
For station-specific weather data and related information, you can select from the available stations displayed on the map or from the station table.

Liberty Hyde Bailey papers, 1855-1958 
The Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr., papers comprise 1.2 cubic feet and consist of correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, writings by Bailey, photographs, and an 1888 record of ornamental plants at Michigan Agricultral College.
Note - Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) was born in South Haven, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan Agricultural College in 1882. He studied botany at Harvard University, and returned to M.A.C. in 1885 to chair the new Horticulture Department. In 1901, he edited COUNTRY LIFE IN AMERICA, an early broad-page magazine, and became known as the "father" of rural sociology and agricultural journalism. He chaired the presidential Commission on Country Life, which was in part responsible for the passage of the Smith Lever Act in 1914, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service and 4-H Youth Programs. Bailey authored numerous books and papers, primarily on agriculture. A Michigan State University dormitory in the Brody Complex was named in his honor.

MSU Extension
Since its beginning, Michigan Extension has focused on bringing knowledge-based educational programs to the people of the state to improve their lives and communities. Today, county-based staff members, in concert with on-campus faculty members, serve every county with programming focused on agriculture and natural resources; children, youth and families; and community and economic development.
Today’s problems are very complex. Solutions require the expertise of numerous disciplines and the collaboration of many partners. Operating synergistically with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and other Michigan State University units, MSU Extension extends the University’s knowledge resources to all Michigan citizens and assists them in meeting their learning needs through a variety of educational strategies, technologies and collaborative arrangements.

MSU Herbarium
The Herbarium was founded in 1863 with a donation of the private collection of Dennis Cooley, MD, to Michigan Agricultural College. The collection was said to contain some 20,000 specimens. Seven years later Dr. William James Beal was appointed as lecturer in Botany, and he brought with him a collection of about 2000 specimens. The Herbarium began to grow actively after 1883 when Dr. Beal spent much of his time avidly acquiring specimens through purchases and exchanges. In 1888 the building housing the herbarium was burned, but all the collections, except private collections of C. F. Wheeler, were saved. At the time of Dr. Beal's retirement in 1910, the Herbarium had a total of 106,000 accessioned specimens. Because of their nomenclatural and historic importance, many of the specimens acquired during this period are among the most valuable in the collection.
Today, the Michigan State University Herbarium represents a worldwide collection of all groups of plants, as well as lichenized and non-lichenized fungi. Current holdings number over 500,000 specimens, with approximately 315,000 specimens of vascular plants, 110,000 lichenized fungi, 35,000 non-lichenized fungi, and 20,000 bryophyte specimens. Over 1,800 type specimens are represented. The herbarium loans several thousand specimens a year to researchers at other institutions.
The Lichen Database is now on-line. The label data from over 112,000 lichen specimens at the Michigan State University Herbarium (MSC) are now in this searchable, on-line database.

MSU Horticultural Experiment Stations and Farms

Theodatus Timothy Lyon: A Biographical Sketch prepared by his executor Chas. W. Garfield. Historical collections / Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. Vol. 29. pp. 481-491
Call no.: F561 .M47 v. 29
Google Books link:

Turf from MSU
This site is intended to help you learn the key identification characteristics of common and not-so-common turfgrass weeds found in Michigan and the midwest. Correct identification is the first step to proper management.  They have created biography pages for each weed to help you better understand why weeds invade. The biography pages include information on habitat, alternative common names (AKA), look-a-likes, management practices and chemical controls.

University of Michigan Herbarium
The University of Michigan Herbarium was established in 1921 to bring together various botanical collections that had been developed almost from the time of the University's founding in Ann Arbor in 1837. From a start of some 27,000 cryptogams and 43,000 phanerogams, the Herbarium's collections have grown to include over 1.7 million specimens. The Herbarium is ranked seventh in the U.S. in total holdings and second among state-supported universities. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists has designated the Herbarium a National Resource Collection.

History of Michigan Horticulture

Below is a concise bibliography of docuemts describing the history of horticulture in Michigan and at M.A.C-MSU.

Michigan State University