National Herbarium of Victoria

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National Herbarium of Victoria
National Herbarium of Victoria facade.jpg
The façade; an extension to the original building
Established1853 (1853)
AddressDallas Brooks Dr & Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne VIC 3004
Coordinates 37°49′51″S144°58′37″E / 37.8309°S 144.9770°E / -37.8309; 144.9770 Coordinates: 37°49′51″S144°58′37″E / 37.8309°S 144.9770°E / -37.8309; 144.9770
Website National Herbarium of Victoria
Reverse; showing the original architecture Royal Botanic Gardens (The National Herbarium Victoria - Founded in 1853).jpg
Reverse; showing the original architecture

The National Herbarium of Victoria (Index Herbariorum code: MEL [1] ) is one of Australia's earliest herbaria and the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. [2] Its 1.5 million specimens of preserved plants, fungi and algae—collectively known as the State Botanical Collection of Victoria [3] —comprise the largest herbarium collection in Australia and Oceania. [4]


The collection includes scientifically and historically significant collections gathered by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander during the voyage of HMS Endeavour in 1770, as well as 2,000 specimens collected by Robert Brown during Flinders' circumnavigation of Australia (1801–1805), [3] and three collections made by Darwin during the Voyage of the Beagle to South America, Australia, and the Pacific. [5] The herbarium was established in 1853 by Ferdinand von Mueller, the Government Botanist for Victoria, and is situated within the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. The present building was constructed in 1934 through a donation from philanthropist Sir Macpherson Robertson. It, along with a 1989 extension, houses the entire collection of 1.5 million plant and fungal specimens. The Herbarium's botanic library is an important source for the history of Australian botany, and has contributed some 124 volumes (of the 1212 volumes contributed by Australia Institutions) to the online digital Biodiversity Heritage Library. [6]

Piechart of Australian contributions to the Biodiversity Heritage Library BHLgraph.png
Piechart of Australian contributions to the Biodiversity Heritage Library

The herbarium is also a partner in the Australasian Virtual Herbarium project, thereby making all of its collection data available to anyone to use. [2] The herbarium also publishes an online key together with descriptions of plants found in Victoria via VicFlora. [7]


Over half of the existing collection was acquired by Mueller. [2] The herbarium includes the following collections: [2]

See also

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  1. "New York Botanical Garden-Steere Herbarium: Index herbariorem (MEL)" . Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "National Herbarium of Victoria". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  3. 1 2 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. State Botanical Collection at the National Herbarium (accessed 20 August 2020)
  4. Thiers, B. (2020 - continuously updated). National Herbarium of Victoria Collections Summary. Index Herbariorum. A global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden’s Virtual Herbarium. Available from: MEL Collections Summary (accessed 21 August 2020)
  5. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Darwin Collections (accessed 20 August 2020)
  6. 1 2 "Biodiversity Heritage Library: BHL Australia" . Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  7. "VicFlora Flora of Victoria". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Retrieved 18 May 2018.