What is a Herbarium?

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RBG Herbarium Specimen, Tell Ar-Rumman, JordanWhat is a Herbarium?

A herbarium is a collection of preserved plants, usually in dried form, used for botanical research. It is a store of reference material.

The botanic specimens kept by a herbarium may be whole plants or parts of plants. Each dried plant is mounted on archival paper and labeled with essential data usually descriptive and ecological collection data, as well as the name of the collector(s) and the date of collection.

Herbarium specimens are stored in protective cabinets in a dry location. They are classified and arranged to allow easy access. The RBG Herbarium is actively gathering and drying botanic specimens.

A herbarium collection represents the diversity and distribution of the region’s vegetation and its history. At a herbarium, you can identify plants by matching unnamed plants with named specimens in the collection.

You can also compare different species from one area, or individuals of the same species, from a range of different sites.

A herbarium is also considered an arbiter of correct names. Printed floras soon become out of date, and it is up to the herbarium to maintain nomenclatural standards.