Herbaria

An herbarium is a collection of dried plants or fungi used for scientific study. Herbaria are the main source of data for the field of botany called taxonomy. Plant taxonomists study the biodiversity of a particular region of the world (floristic research) or the relationships among members of a particular group of organisms (monographic research). Although a plant looks different when it is dried compared to when it is growing in nature, most of the key features needed for taxonomic studies can be found in a well-

biodiversity degree of variety of life floristic related to plants

LARGEST HERBARIA IN

THE WORLD

Name

Location

Date Established

Number of Specimens (approximate)

Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle

Paris, France

1635

8,877,300

Royal Botanic Gardens

Kew, England

1841

6,000,000

New York Botanical Garden

New York, New York, U.S.A.

1891

6,000,000

Komarov Botanical Institute

St. Petersburg, Russia

1823

5,770,000

Swedish Museum of Natural History

Stockholm, Sweden

1739

5,600,000

The Natural History Museum

London, England

1753

5,300,000

Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques

Geneva, Switzerland

1824

5,200,000

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

1864

5,000,000

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

1848

4,858,000

Institut de Botanique

Montpellier, France

1845

4,368,000

source: Data from P. N. Holmgren, Index Herbariorum, 8th ed. (New York: New York Botanical Garden, 1990), Index.

specimen object or organism under consideration

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