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RHS Herbarium

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The RHS Herbarium at Wisley

Preparing a sample in the RHS Herbarium

The RHS Herbarium at Wisley is an internationally important collection of dried and pressed plant specimens of cultivated ornamental plants. It is the largest herbarium dedicated to ornamental plants in the UK. 

The RHS Herbarium is comprised of many separate collections. The primary focus of the collections are to maintain and continue to acquire reference material of plants in cultivation.

Find out more about the collections in the RHS Herbarium

What is a herbarium?

Samples stored in a herbarium

Herbaria are used throughout the world in the identification and classification of plants.

More on herbaria

RHS Herbarium history

Standard of Nymphaea Director GT Moore

The RHS Herbarium at Wisley dates from 1917, although the oldest specimen is from 1731.

The RHS Herbarium

Nomenclatural standards

Standard of Rhododendron Caroline Allbrook

Nomenclatural standards help fix the name of cultivars by preserving a sample or an image of a plant known to have come from the breeder themselves. The RHS Herbarium is one of the few herbaria internationally that is actively collecting standard specimens.

Find out more about nomenclatural standards

Specimens database

Examining a sample in the Herbarium

The RHS Herbarium is in the process of being databased. You can search the entire collection, or browse a list of taxa.

More about the specimens database

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New plants

New plants

Well-respected plantsman, Graham Rice, uncovers all the latest new plants in his blog.

Read Graham's blog

Plant bulletins

Plant bulletins

The results of many of our major trials are now being produced in full colour bulletins. These bulletins include full descriptions of the Award of Garden Merit plants, botanical background and cultivation information.

View the full list of plant bulletins