Established in 1621, Oxford University Herbaria includes the oldest herbarium in the United Kingdom and is the fourth oldest herbarium in the world. Collectively, the herbaria hold approximately 1,000,000 botanical specimens (including at least 35,000 types) from across all taxonomic groups and geographic regions.
As well as being home to specimens, books, manuscripts and illustrations of historical importance, the herbaria host modern research programmes investigating plant systematics, together with theoretical and empirical work on systematic methods, phylogenetics and macroevolution. The herbaria are also at the forefront of developing and implementing methods to capture and document botanical data, as well as analysing patterns of global plant diversity.
Oxford University Herbaria comprises the Daubeny (FHO) and Fielding-Druce (OXF) herbaria, together with a xylarium (FHOw). The Daubeny Herbarium was previously known as the Oxford Forest Herbarium. The history of the Herbaria in the Department of Plant Sciences is closely linked to that of the Oxford University Botanic Garden.
The Daubeny Herbarium (FHO) has been collected together over the last century and is composed primarily of specimens from Central and South America, South-East Asia and especially Tropical Africa. As a former forest herbarium, the collection is biased towards woody species, particularly groups such as the Fabaceae, Meliaceae and Pinaceae. Large collections of spirit-preserved and dried fruits are associated with FHO.
The Fielding-Druce herbarium (OXF) contains some of the oldest collections in the United Kingdom. Four of the more significant pre-19th century herbaria are those of Robert Morison (1620-83), William Sherard (1659-1728), Johannus Dillenius (1684-1747) and John Sibthorp (1758-96). The type-rich Fielding Herbarium was beqeathed to the University by Henry Borron Fielding (1805-1851), and contains all non-British material collected since 1796. The collection of British plants centres around the herbarium of George Claridge Druce (1850-1932).
The Xylarium comprises approximately 25,000 wood block specimens and microscope slides of wood sections.
This website provides access to the specimens and images now available online at Oxford University Herbaria (OXF, FHO, FHOw). There are also links to websites for the historical herbaria that have been databased.
These data may only be used for scientific purposes. They may not be sold or used for commercial purposes.
The specimens at the Oxford herbaria and the living collections of the Oxford Botanic Garden are being digitized using BRAHMS.