Our Herbarium Collection

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Our Herbarium contains around 2,000 botanic specimens so far, arranged by family and genus. All our specimens have been collected from wild plants growing in Jordan, mostly within the perimeter of the Royal Botanic Garden. Our current facility has enough room to store 40,000 species.

Specimens are gathered in the field, identified, and pressed between cardboard. After drying, the specimens are subjected to a process of natural decontamination, to kill any parasites or insect eggs. Each specimen is kept in a freezer at about -40° C for 3 days, then identified, mounted on a sheet of white paper and labeled with all the related information.

Dried specimens in the RBG Herbarium

While some herbaria use chemicals to decontaminate their specimens, we have chosen the deep freezing method, as we do not wish to damage or discolour our specimens and we do not condone the use of poisons.

Some botanical species, such as orchids, lose much of their unique beauty when they are dried. We plan to keep such specimens in jars using an alcohol-based preservation system in the future.

In January 2012, we inaugurated the National Virtual Herbarium, the first online herbarium in the Middle East, making high-definiition photographs of herbarium specimens from all the  herbaria of Jordan available to all, free of charge.

An upcoming project involves creating DNA vouchers for DNA preservation of Jordan's native plants. 

The first herbarium collection at the RBG was obtained in the spring of 2006 during a plant survey conducted by Professor Dawud Al-Eisawi of the University of Jordan in March, April and May.

In April 2008, a group of scientists from the National Botanical Gardens of Ireland visited the RBG.  During their visit, herbarium specimens were collected from the RBG’s main site at Tal Al-Rumman and other parts of Jordan. These samples were sent to Ireland for identification.

In early 2009, a herbarium storage unit in compliance with the minimal required specifications was prepared at the RBG with funding from the Medicinal Plant Project sponsored by the World Bank through the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension. Storage cabinets and other basic equipment were obtained. In the same year, a spring vegetation survey at the RBG’s main site in Tal Al-Rumman was conducted and more herbarium specimens were collected.

Another collection was obtained during the 2010 spring vegetation survey at the RBG’s main site in Tal Al-Rumman.

In July and August 2010, funding from the Agence française de développement (AFD) allowed further improvements to the herbarium, including maintenance of the storage unit and preparation of a drying and decontamination unit with all necessary equipment.

In the spring of 2011, 300 to 400 more herbarium specimens were collected in the Garden and added to the RBG collection.