Types of Herbarium

1. National (or Regional) Herbaria

These herbaria geographically cover respective country, or phytogeographically similar neighbouring countries.

2. Local Herbaria

These represent a region within a country such as a state, county, district or even a smaller area such as a nature reserve. e.g. Sabah Forest Research Centre Herbarium, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia (SAN Herbarium)

3. Special Herbaria

These herbaria are usual small and serve specific purposes or limited scope depending on its function.

  • Historical herbaria. They may be kept in separate herbaria within a general herbarium (e.g. Wallich Herbarium at Kew). They may also belong to separate institutions such as Linnean
  • Herbaria of limited scope. These herbaria may be taxonomically (e.g. cryptogamic herbaria) or ecologically (forest herbaria) limiting
  • Teaching herbaria. These are usually housed within universities, with some ranked major enough that they may or should be considered national or local herbaria e.g. University of Malaya Herbarium, Kuala Lumpur; University of Western Ontario Herbarium, Canada). They would contain plants collected / encountered during field studies, ones that illustrate morphological structures for teaching. Also it should represent specimens of economic / commercially planted species.
  • Job-related herbaria. These herbaria include collections of weed species by agriculturists or honey-bee plants for bee keepers
  • Herbaria for special research programmes. Voucher specimens of plant used in research are collected for the purpose of authentication and as reference material. These herbaria such as cytological and cytogenetic vouchers, ecologic herbaria would not only include specimens but photographs, field notes, ecological analysis etc). Collectors should decide whether to keep these specimens as permanent collection or temporary. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


  1. Bridson, D & Forman, L (eds). 1992. The Herbarium Handbook (Revised Edition). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  2. Herbarium, University of Western Ontario. 2007. Roles of Herbaria. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from http://www.uwo.ca/biology/facilities/herbarium/herbariumpurpose.htm 
  3. Sabah Forest Research Centre. 2007. Sandakan (SAN) Herbarium. Retrieved 3 July 2007 from http://www.sabah.gov.my/htan_frc/English/FRC/Level%202/herbarium.htm
  4. University of Cambridge. 2007. Libraries & Museums: The Herbarium. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from http://www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/libmuseums/herb.html
  5. Massey, J.R. 1974. Chapter 31: The Herbarium. In: Vascular Plant Systemics by A.E. Radford, W.D. Dickison, J.R. Massey & C.R. Bell). Harper & Row Publishers. Retrieved 5 July 2007 from http://www.ibiblio.org/unc-biology/herbarium/courses/chpt31.html