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10 Largest Herbaria in The World

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Herbarium Fern Image

A Herbarium Specimen of Goldie's Fern

A Herbarium Specimen of Goldie's Fern

What is a Herbarium?

A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens. The plants are usually dried and mounted on sheets of special paper or (newsprint or blotter paper are most often used), but in some cases may be stored in a preservative such as alcohol.

Herbarium can also refer to actual buildings or institutes where plant specimens are stored and/or researched. Many museums, botanical gardens and universities, for example, maintain specialized herbaria. These herbaria are used for cataloging and identifying flora, the study of plant taxonomy, and studying the geographic and historical distribution of plants in different regions.

Read About Herbaria

Herbarium Cabinet Contents

Compositae specimens from the Namibian collection.

Compositae specimens from the Namibian collection.

10 Largest Herbaria in the World

At present, the ten largest herbaria in the world are:

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  • Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France)
  • New York Botanical Garden (Bronx, New York, USA)
  • Komarov Botanical Institute (St. Petersburg, Russia)
  • Royal Bonanic Gardens (Kew, England, UK)
  • Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Geneve (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
  • British Museum of Natural History (London, England, UK)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
  • Swedish Museum of Natural History (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • United States National Herbarium (Washington, DC, USA)

History of the Herbarium at Kew Gardens

Herbarium Poll

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