Herbaria

Message about herbaria from the BSBI President

"Herbaria are one of the most fantastic botanical resources I know. And one of the most under-used and under-appreciated.

What better way to spend a cold winter's day than checking out those difficult to separate species in an herbarium, whether large or small. Or admiring, perhaps with a certain horror at the number of specimens, the rare plants one has never seen in the wild. Or in some cases maybe never will because they've all ended up on herbarium sheets!

Many local herbaria are themselves on the danger list. I'd like to encourage every plant-lover, from expert to beginner botanist, to visit a local herbarium at least once in 2019. And then email me at herbaria@bsbi.org to tell me about your visit - and maybe write a short report for publication on the BSBI News & Views blog? Herbaria: use them or lose them!"

Chris Metherell, BSBI President

Visiting herbaria

Many herbaria welcome botanists who wish to visit their collections, but you do need to contact them in advance to arrange your visit. Use the list (above right) to get in touch.

We'd be happy to publish your report on your herbarium visit on the BSBI News & Views blog. - email Chris to discuss. You can also type 'herbarium' into the blog's Search box to see previous reports from a range of botanists - and to find out what goes on behind the scenes in a herbarium!

The image below summarises some of the many uses of a herbarium.

Resources

This list gives contact details of herbaria we know about - please let us know if you are aware of any changes. You can also view (but not edit) the most recent version of the spreadsheet here.

Arthur Chater's guide to collecting and pressing a herbarium specimen

The BSBI Code of Conduct offers guidance on what you can (and can't) collect for a herbarium.

Some helpful tips from the Herbarium at Univ. Leicester

Suggestions on  where to buy herbarium materials and avoid pests & diseases - help-sheet from Univ. Leicester Herbarium

Article on herbaria under threat from BBC website, 1st December 2018

Article on ' 100 Uses for a Herbarium'.

Click on the link to check out BSBI's 'Herbarium Curators' feed on Twitter.

3 short videos from the Herbarium at RBG Edinburgh: an introduction; guide to collecting and pressing specimens; guide to mounting specimens.

Click on the link for the Natural History Museum's British & Irish Herbarium.

Go behind the scenes at the Univ. Cambridge herbarium where some of Charles Darwin's specimens are stored.

The new website for Univ. Reading's herbarium is here.

Article on How to Find and Research Biological Specimens in UK Museums

Find out how seed collectors around the world use the herbarium at RBG Kew and read about collections held at Kew.

More resources are in the pipeline - if you know of any helpful videos or articles about herbaria, please send them to us so we can share them with fellow botanists.