Complete and accurate plant records are a defining feature of arboreta and botanic gardens. Excellent plant records allow an institution to maintain and care for its living collections and use the collections to support its educational, conservational, research, and aesthetic goals. Managing records associated with living collections creates a historical database that provides for future collection planning and preserves the information in history.

This manual provides an overview of the plant records database and how it is used to manage the Arboretum at Penn State’s plant records. It outlines the procedures associated with documentation of living collections including accessioning, labeling, and mapping. It also supplies staff with the standards and formats associated with these procedures, examples of forms and documents, and a complete reference list for supplies and services. This manual should be used as a resource for staff, interns, and volunteers.