Botanist Chris Metherell (BSBI) in the Reading Herbarium. Photo credit: Alastair Culham.

A herbarium is a special place containing collections of dried plant specimens mounted on sheets of paper with associated information. The plants are stored, catalogued and arranged systematically for study. They provide a vital reference for when you need to identify a plant as well as fixing the identity of thousands of plant names.

As an extraordinary botanical and historical resource, they have high scientific and social value not only to botanical science but also as an important resource for ecologists, scientists, geographers and historians, from students and amateurs to professional researchers. Many herbaria welcome botanists who wish to visit their collections, but you do need to contact them in advance to arrange your visit.

The Reading Herbarium (RNG) is situated at the Whiteknights campus at the University of Reading. It is an important and highly valued research and teaching facility that contains around 300,000 specimens of flowering plants, conifers, cycads, ferns, lycophytes and non-vascular plants. It is active in acquisitions and the Herbarium exchange programme, and is a CITES registered organisation (GB 016) and a member of the International Plant Exchange Network (IPENcode RNG).

If you are interested to read more about the Reading Herbarium or to arrange a visit, please click here to visit the webpages.