Edward Palmer Collecting Trips to Mexico and the Southern United States, 1853–1910

Edward Palmer (1829–1911) made botanical, zoological, and archaeological collections in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Palmer collected over 100,000 specimens and discovered approximately 1,000 new species. He also visited local markets to procure plants and study their uses in local cultures, and his documentation of plant uses helped found modern ethnobotany. Palmer joined C. C. Parry’s 1878 expedition to Mexico, where he explored burial mounds and collected plants. He returned repeatedly to Mexico, making botanical and ethnological collections in Durango, San Luis Potosi, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas.

While Palmer sent his specimens to major research institutions for analysis, many of his specimens lacked appropriate data about location and time of collection. Important information has survived in his field notes.


This collection presents the historic materials from various Botany Libraries' collections associated with Edward Palmer's field work in Mexico and the Southern United States and includes correspondence, field notes, plant lists, and photographs.