Vascular plants

The collection

The Vascular Plant Collection at the Botanische Staatssammlung München (M) comprises more than 1,800,000 herbarium specimens from almost every country on earth.

Probably the oldest specimens present were collected by Henrik Bernard Oldenland (South Africa, ca. 1695). The foundation of the herbarium in 1813 was laid with the acquisition of the herbarium of Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (1739–1810), who was one of the last students of Linnaeus in Uppsala. Through his herbarium M received important historical specimens, even including original material of Linnaeus.

Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794–1868) made a famous expedition to Brazil and bordering Colombia in 1817–1821. The original herbarium of these travels, with ca. 25,000–30,000 specimens, is housed in M. He also initiated the Flora Brasiliensis, the largest tropical flora ever completed [1840–1906; the herbarium of the Flora Brasiliensis is, however, not in M but in Meise, Bruxelles (BR)]. During his lifetime the Botanische Staatssammlung also received other important collections, including Japanese plants collected by Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796–1866) and Heinrich Bürger (1806–1858), together ca. 2,500–3,000 specimens, and Mexican collections made by Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karwin (1780–1855), perhaps ca. 4,000 specimens. M also received the herbarium of Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini (1797–1848), who was curator here but acquired a herbarium with duplicates from many important collectors of that time.

In the 20th century, important acquisitions were the (mostly) Brazilian collections of Philipp von Lützelburg (1880–1946, ca. 5,000 specimens), and Thai plants presented by Carl Curt Hosseus (1878–1950). After the Second World War, the Botanische Staatssammlung produced the “Prodromus einer Flora von Südwest-Afrika” [i.e., Namibia] under Hermann Merxmüller (1920–1988), and therefore now houses an excellent collection of herbarium specimens from Namibia. Ludwig Jakob Timotheus Radlkofer (1829–1927) was an outstanding expert on the systematics of Sapindaceae, and M therefore holds an important collection of this family (ca. 1,200 specimens treated by Radlkofer, including numerous types).

Data projects and Service

The data project “The Vascular Plant Collection at M” was established by Dr. Hans-Joachim Esser and Dr. Franz Schuhwerk with scientific assistance of Dr. Christian Bräuchler. It is work in progress with the aim to make accessible those specimens of the main collection which are currently subject of scientific or curatorial activities on-site. “The Vascular Plant Collection at M” uses Diversity Workbench components.

Since 2004 data of the “The Vascular Plant Collection at M” were generated with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, originally via the African Plants Initiative (API), currently via the Global Plants Initiative of JSTOR Plant Sciences.

Data from former projects are also included, such as those of INFOCOMP (2000–2003), a project within the German Initiative BIOLOG (Biodiversity and Global Change) funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) and intended to digitize types of Compositae. The content of the database “The Vascular Plant Collection at M” is curated and expanded by staff members of the Botanische Staatssammlung München, Department of Vascular Plants. Notices of errors of any kind are much appreciated by the editorial staff here. Technical support is provided by the Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns, IT Center.

The Database “The Vascular Plant Collection at M” and – if not stated otherwise – its supporting files have been copyrighted ©  2010–2022 by the SNSB – Botanische Staatssammlung München, Department of Vascular Plants.

Permission is given for free use of data in the search result for non-commercial purposes; any commercial use must be granted by prior written agreement.