The Museum's two million General Herbarium specimens represent a unique global resource for studying global seed plant diversity.
Pre-Linnean collections are also curated separately, in the Historical Collections.
The Museum holds major seed plant collections from all over the world and an estimated 110,000 nomenclaturally important type specimens. The botanical collections of the Museum are especially rich in historical material.
The General Herbarium is managed in four sections (General Herbarium I-IV) with each section managed by a curator.
- General Herbarium I: Gymnosperms, 'basal' angiosperms, the monocotyledons, and non-core eudicotyledons.
- General Herbarium II: Fabids.
- General Herbarium III: Malvids and the superasterids, except for lamiids and campanulids
- General Herbarium IV: Lamiids and campanulids.
For details of the families curated by each section, please see the Classification and Arrangement of the General Herbarium at the Museum cladogram (PDF, 1.41MB).
- Mainly pressed plants mounted on herbarium sheets
- Boxed 'carpological' material at the end of each order in the main collection
- A separate historical collection of seeds
- Spirit material
- Separate oversized material
- Microscopical slides
Looking for a specimen?
Parts of the botany collection are being digitised
If you would like to use any specimens for research, please get in touch with the curator for the appropriate section.
Contact the curators
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.
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