The Consortium of California Herbaria provides entry into the records attendant to herbarium specimens of the California flora.
One year ago, December 20 2013, there were 1,868,758 records. Today, December 21, 2014, there are 1,985,750 records. A nearly 7% increase!!
Over the period, there were 22 posted updates, totaling 116,922 specimens. That works out to an average growth of 338 specimens per day. That is, based on a typical specimen pile, half a herbarium cabinet per day!
The trajectory of increase is strongly suggestive that the catalog of the California flora is as yet incomplete, but getting there...
There is no direct estimate of the number of California specimens in herbaria. Totaling the numbers reported in Fuller & Barbe (1972), 4,229,874 specimens were reported in their canvas of California Herbaria (which I tallied directly). They did not report any breakdown based on geographic origin of the specimens. Let’s however just guess 50% -- or ca. 2.1 million California specimens in 1972 -- were local. Allowing for growth in California collections in the 1970s-2010s -- say of 1 million specimens (too many ??) -- that would yield a rough estimate of about 3 million total specimens from our state.
Accordingly, the close of 2014, records are closing in on a two-thirds rate of data capture.
Fuller, T.C. and G.D. Barbe/ 1972. List of California Herbaria and Working Collections. Botany Labratory, Div. Plant Industry, Dept. Food & Agriculture, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA.