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A herbarium is the means by which the plant life of a large area is sampled and made conveniently accessible for study. Texas, with the largest area and one of the most varied floras of the United States, is botanically one of the most poorly known. Although its botanical exploration has been going on for more than a hundred and twenty-five years (it began in the summer of 1820, when Edwin James, surgeon of Major Long's expedition to the Rocky Mountains, collected a few plants along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle), the early collections were sent elsewhere, and are not readily available for study by resident botanists.

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