Founded by Liberty Hyde Bailey in 1935, the Hortorium has historically been the major U. S. center for the systematics of cultivated plants. Today, the Hortorium's mission has expanded to include systematic studies of wild and cultivated plants, ethnobotany, molecular systematics, paleobotany, phylogenetic theory, biodiversity studies, and pharmaceutical studies of tropical plants.
The Hortorium currently has specialists working in oaks, grasses, legumes, and angiosperm fossils. Students interested in graduate studies in the Bailey Hortorium typically apply to the Graduate Field of Plant Biology and choose systematics and/or paleobotany as one of their concentrations. Alternatively, the Bailey Hortorium partners with the New York Botanical Garden in a Graduate Studies Program that involves instruction up to the point of Admission to Candidacy (A-exam) at Cornell's Ithaca Campus and completion of research at the New York Botanical Garden in New York City. Please note that this program requires separate applications to both institutions.
Facilities at the Bailey Hortorium include:
- BH (including CU) Herbarium (860,000 specimens)
- Cornell University Paleobotanical Collection (CUPC)
- Cornell University Plant Anatomy Collection (CU-PAC)
- Ethel Z. Bailey Horticultural Catalogue Collection
- L. H. Bailey Hortorium Library
- L. H. Bailey Conservatory (closed at the present time)
Note: The Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium (CUP), which holds the systematic collection of fungi and other plant disease-causing organisms, is administered by the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology.