Collections Data - Action Center

The Keller Science Action Center is the conservation wing of the Field Museum. We work in urban Chicago and in the vast landscapes of the Amazon headwaters to secure large-scale advances in conserving biodiversity and improving people's lives. More details about the Center’s work can be found here.

Action Center staff curate a number of strategic datasets in the museum’s botanical collections, including:

Rapid inventory plant data
Since 1999 Action Center botanists and partners have collected more than 13,000 plant specimens during rapid inventories of remote wilderness areas, mostly in the Andes-Amazon region of South America. Published reports from all 29 inventories are available here. Plant data are available here. These data are also available on the Field Museum IPT and at GBIF.

Field guides
The Action Center administers the world’s largest collection of field guides. Action Center staff make and help others to make field guides, which include more than 500 guides to plants. The focus is on areas of the world, especially the Neotropics, where identification tools are scarce. To download guides or to make your own, visit

The Rapid Reference Collection
The RRC is an abridged version of the Field Museum’s herbarium, curated by Action Center staff, which serves as a tool for quickly identifying Neotropical plants. Nearly a quarter of the New World flora is present in the RRC, where each species is represented by 1-3 digitized, expert-identified specimens. Search or browse the RRC here.

Live plant photos
Action Center staff curate more than 27,000 field photographs of New World plants, which you can search or browse here.

Launched in 2001, vPlants is the online resource for plants of the Chicago Region, offering specimen data and images, species descriptions, distribution by county, and photo galleries. Currently the site contains data for more than 120,000 plant specimen records from more than 30 institutions. The core of these collections, ca, 80,000, come from three institutions with particularly rich Chicago region collections: the Field Museum of Natural History, The Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

For copyright, data usage and citation information please refer to the Field Museum Data Norms and Considerations.

For special requests, corrections, general inquiries, images, suggestions, please email Nigel Pitman at