The Royal BC Museum botany collection consists of more than 215,000 dried plant specimens housed in our herbarium, including 208,000 vascular plants, 7,000 mosses and lichens, and 450 boxed cones. Our collection includes specimens of most vascular plants native to BC, and many that have become naturalized. Many species are represented by collections from the 1890’s. We have about 70 ‘type’ specimens, each of which was used in the original published description of a new species or subspecies, as required by international standards.
The botany collection is one of the two largest reference collections of BC plants in the world and is frequently visited by researchers, consultants, government biologists, students, and interested members of the public. Our specimens and the information on their labels are used to improve species and habitat descriptions, to compare past and present geographic ranges of species, and to document the occurrence of species of conservation concern. Occasionally, we grant permission to researchers to remove plant parts for comparative anatomical, morphological or molecular phylogenetic studies.
We frequently loan specimens to experts studying particular groups of plants. In addition, we distribute duplicate specimens from our collection to other herbaria in Canada and around the world.