Fern collections

The Natural History Museum houses one of the most important collections of ferns and other seed-free vascular plants in the world, with around 280,000 specimens.

Covering global fern diversity, the collections have particular geographical strengths in:

  • Europe and the British Isles
  • Malesia
  • Indian subcontinent
  • tropical America
  • Macaronesia

The collections span from the 17th century to the present day and are especially valuable given their richness in types and historical collections. Our fern type specimens are estimated to exceed 7,000 in number, representing perhaps 20% of published fern names.

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