Herbarium collection

The National Herbarium of New South Wales has more than 1 million plant specimens including rare species, Australian and Pacific flora, historical and type specimen collections. View the digital collection or access the collection by appointment.

Scientist examines dried and pressed plant specimens

The National Herbarium of New South Wales is one of the largest herbaria in Australia. It houses a vast collection of plant specimens from all over Australia, the Pacific region and worldwide.  

The Herbarium holds more than 1 million essential historical and scientific specimens that include vascular plants, bryophytes, algae, and lichens and are critical records for science and conservation. These may be used to document plant diversity, assist with identifying species and other taxonomic levels, and provide morphological characteristics and other data for scientific research.

Some of the significant plant specimens represented in the collection include: 

  • Rare and endangered plant species such as the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) or members of threatened communities such as the Cumberland Plain Woodland of Western Sydney.

  • Important historical collections such as specimens collected by Banks and Solander on Captain Cook's first voyage to Australia in 1770, and Allan Cunningham’s collections that were made during early European exploration of Australia’s interior. 

  • Plant specimens from the Pacific region, particularly the southwest Pacific, including New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa. 

  • Extensive collections of plants from the Sydney region and the Blue Mountains, dating back to the early 19th century. 

Botanist James Clugston examines dried and pressed plant specimens
Dried and pressed flower mounted on paper

Access the collection

We loan specimens to national and international herbaria for scientific study. 

Research collection 

The primary research collection is open to academic researchers by appointment only. To arrange an appointment, please get in touch with our Collections Manager: 

Specimen loans and exchanges 

If you are a researcher wishing to loan or exchange specimens from our collection, you can contact our Collections Manager to start the process. Learn more about specimen loans and exchanges. 

Digital collection  

Our collection is digitised and high-resolution images of plant specimens are available through our public data set on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

You can also find our digitised collection through:  

  • The new mounting room
  • Dried and pressed flower mounted on paper
  • A specimen collected by Banks and Solander during Cook's first voyage to the Pacific
  • State-of-the-art plant vaults at the National Herbarium of New South Wales

Herbarium digitisation project

Read how more than 1 million botanical specimens at the National Herbarium of New South Wales became high-resolution digital images.

Learn how the Herbarium went digital

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