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The East African Herbarium (EA)

Hello Alex in Ghana!! The historical East African Herbarium (EA) established in 1902 together with Nairobi Botanic Gardens, Curating the collection at EAform the Botany Department of the National Museums of Kenya. The primary role of the herbarium remains as a reference for collections of plants and fungi, as a tool for species identification and arbitration of authentic names, and as a comprehensive databank of the regional flora.

We complement our active curation programme with research themes in higher and lower plant taxonomy, mycology and plant evolutionary biology using morphological, anatomical and modern molecular techniques. Increasingly, the East African data is being used in mapping biodiversity hotspots and advicing policy makers on the management of these natural and cultural significant areas.



Researching the Flora of Tropical East Africa

Digitised specimen at EA The continually growing collection of herbarium vouchers of flowering plants, fungi, ferns and bryophyes remains the most important tool at our disposal for our research. We have over 1 million voucher specimens curated thus far, 10% of which is currently digitized. The majority of the digitized data focuses on the type specimens, Kenya's endemic species, invasives, medicinal plants and Afro-alpine species; the latter being particularly useful in our contribution to climate change research. The collection has been vital for the revision of specific plant groups, checklists and field guides. details of our notable historical collections from Africa can be found in the first issue of our first EA newsletter.

Our collection programme remains active with most of the recent collections having been obtained from the coastal forests and Eastern Arc mountains, montane and afro alpine habitats and lowland rainforest, particularly from the Kakamega Forest. A new pictorial guide to the plants of Kakamega has recently been published as a result of this effort. Our collections and resident staff have been vital in the long term collaboration to produce the Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA) with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.



Our collaborative Initiatives

Over the past 15 years, EA staff have worked heavily on the collection and long term conservation of seed. Through a project called "Seeds for Life", the EA has teamed up with other national stakeholders and the RBG Kew Millenium Seed Bank Partnership. We have Seed collectingcontributed to the secure storage of over 2000 species, available as national collections in the Genebank of Kenya. Many collections are from threatened and useful plant species.

Through our involvement with the Red Data Listing Project in East Africa, we are progressing through the conservation assessments of all plant species in the region. Through our involvement with the Red Data Listing Project in East Africa, we are progressing through the conservation assessments of all plant species in the region. Furthermore, our on-going research into ecology and the functional dynamics of natural plant populations under BIOTA East Africa project is facilitating the restoration of degraded forests, and the recovery of certain species in danger of extinction.



All the project partners are extremely grateful to THE DULVERTON TRUST a charity registered in England and Wales No 206426, who's financial support has enabled this pilot phase of the Eastern African Virtual Herbarium to be implemented.

EA Database


The East African Herbarium (EA) is a partner in the Eastern African Virtual Herbarium Project.

Distribution mapping
Use the search options to view the data currently digitised at the East African Herbarium only.





The Eastern African Virtual Herbarium is a collaborative project between the following regional herbaria:

East African Herbarium , Kenya (EA)
Addis Ababa University Herbarium, Ethiopia (ETH)
Makerere University Herbarium, Uganda (MAK)
National Herbarium of Tanzania, Tanzania (NHT)
University of Dar es Salam Herbarium, Tanzania (DSM)
Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew UK (K)

Visit the EAVH homepage for further details and links to these partners.





  • The Seeds for Life project team launching the Seed Collection Guides at the East African Herbarium Click image for more details...


  • Kalanchoe nyikae ssp. auriculata, one of Kenya's many succulent plant speciesClick image for more details...


  • Textto be added. Click image for more details...


  • Capparis sp. A highly prized fruit...... Click image for more details...
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