The Tracy Herbarium came into being in the early 1930's based on early collections of several individuals, including the outstanding botanist-agriculturist, S. M. Tracy, for whom the herbarium is named. Specimens in the herbarium currently total over 200,000 making it the third largest in the state, exceeded only by the herbaria of the University of Texas (Austin) and Botanical Research Institute of Texas (Fort Worth). In 1974 the Tracy Herbarium was listed as one of 105 herbaria in the U. S. designated as National Resource Collections out of a total of 1,127 U. S. herbaria. The designation was based on the importance of the large collection of grasses that resides in the herbarium..
The present inventory includes not only Texas plants, but also a sampling of plants from other parts of the world. The grass collection, possibly the finest in the state, now numbers about 70,000 sheets, including 15,000 specimens from Mexico, and Caribbean, and Central America. For the past 40 years the Tracy Herbarium has been maintained and developed as part of the Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University. Dr. Stephan L. Hatch is Director and Dale Kruse Curator.