Bryophyte collections

Bryum moss

Sphagnum subnitens

The Museum's Bryophyte herbarium is among the largest in the world, incorporating more than 900,000 specimens.


The majority of the herbaria were accumulated by notable bryologists in the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries.

These pioneers of bryophyte taxonomy described thousands of new taxa from every continent and consequently the Museum now holds 32,000 type specimens.

The Museum has more recently acquired important material from:

  • Malesia
  • India
  • Seychelles
  • Mascarenes
  • New Zealand
  • Ascension Island

New taxonomic and distributional data has been, and more remain to be, revealed through examination of this material.

Looking for a specimen?

The bryophyte collection is being digitised

Senior curator

Mr Len Ellis

Any questions ?

If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch

Related information

Collections on the move

We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new science and digitisation centre at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire by 2026. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected.

Find out more and sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on changes to collections access, relevant news and opportunities to get involved.

Accessing the collections

Scientists and collections management specialists can visit the collections and borrow specimens for research.

Collection management

Our duty is to provide a safe and secure environment for all of our collections.