The Museum houses one of the most important collection of ferns and other seed-free vascular plants in the world, with around 280,000 specimens.
The collections cover global fern diversity and have particular geographical strengths in:
- Europe and the British Isles
- South Asia
- Tropical America
The collections span the seventeenth century to the present day. They are especially valuable due to their richness in types, historical collections and cytological vouchers.
Our fern type specimens are estimated to exceed 7,000, representing around 20 per cent of published fern names.
- Carl Christensen's Herbarium
- John Smith's Herbarium
- A.H.G. Alston
- Clive Jermy
- Trevor Walker
- Christopher Fraser-Jenkins
- Irene Manton
- Irene Manton's research students, including Anne Sleep and Mary Gibby
Looking for a specimen?
The fern collection is being digitised
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.