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Index Herbariorum: A Global Directory of Public Herbaria and Associated Staff


For the past three centuries, scientists have documented the earth’s plant and fungal diversity through dried reference specimens maintained in collections known as herbaria. There are approximately 3,400 herbaria in the world today, with approximately 10,000 associated curators and biodiversity specialists. Collectively the world’s herbaria contain an estimated 350,000,000 specimens that document the earth’s vegetation for the past 400 years. Index Herbariorum is a guide to this crucial resource for biodiversity science and conservation.

The Index Herbariorum (IH) entry for an herbarium includes its physical location, Web address, contents (e.g., number and type of specimens), history, and names, contact information and areas of expertise of associated staff. Only those collections that are permanent scientific repositories are included in IH. New registrants must demonstrate that their collection is large (usually 5,000 specimens minimum), accessible to scientists, and actively managed. Each institution is assigned a permanent unique identifier in the form of a four to eight letter code, a practice that dates from the founding of IH in 1935.

The first six editions of Index Herbariorum were published by the International Association for Plant Taxonomy in the Netherlands (1952—1974). Dr. Patricia Holmgren, then Director of the New York Botanical Garden, served as co-editor of edition 6, and subsequently became the senior editor of IH. She oversaw the compilation of hard copy volumes 7 and 8, and Dr. Noel Holmgren, a scientist on the NYBG staff, oversaw the development of the IH database, which became available on-line in 1997. In September 2008, Dr. Barbara M. Thiers, Director of the NYBG Herbarium, became the editor of IH.

What is Available for Searching

Index Herbariorum and Plant Specialists Index

Information is available for searching by institution, city, state, acronym, staff member, correspondent, research specialty, and important collections. Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail and URL addresses are included.

Note that the Index is fully searchable on research specialty, so it also serves as a PLANT SPECIALISTS INDEX.

How to Cite this publication

Thiers, B. [continuously updated]. Index Herbariorum: A global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden's Virtual Herbarium.

Where to Send Updates and Corrections

Please review the entry for your Herbarium and send any updates and corrections to:
Barbara M. Thiers,

How to Register for Index Herbariorum

Download the registration form, enter the data about your herbarium electronically, and email the completed form to For an example of a completed form, download the Index Herbariorum Registration Form Example.

Index Herbariorum Registration Form
Index Herbariorum Registration Form Example

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