The word 'herbarium' (or 'herbaria' in plural) was originally used in reference to a book about medicinal plants. The term was then used by Tournefort (c. 1700) to describe a collection of dried plants.  (1) In modern utilization of the term, it refers to a systematic, permanent physical record of a plant's occurrence at a specific time and place. It acts as a repository or collections of preserved plant and fungal specimens and their associated data (description of when, where, and who collected the specimen) with various functions such as to carry out studies of plant classification, identification, distribution and ecology. In other words, it makes plant specimens available out of season (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).


  1. Bridson, D & Forman, L (eds). 1992. The Herbarium Handbook (Revised Edition). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  2. Australian National Botanic Gardens. 2007. Australian National Herbarium. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. Australian Government Initiative. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from
  3. Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne. 2007. National Herbarium of Victoria. Retrieved 28 June 2007 from
  4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2007. Herbarium Collections. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from
  5. McGraw-Hill Professional Sci-Tech Encyclopedia. 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from
  6. Herbarium, University of Western Ontario. 2007. Roles of Herbaria. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from