Index Herbariorum

For the past three centuries, scientists have documented the earth's plant and fungal diversity through dried reference specimens maintained in collections known as herbaria. As of December 1 2017, there are 3,001 active herbaria in the world today, with approximately 12,174 associated curators and biodiversity specialists. Collectively the world's herbaria contain an estimated 387,007,790 specimens that document the earth's vegetation for the past 400 years. Index Herbariorum is a guide to this crucial resource for biodiversity science and conservation.

The Index Herbariorum (IH) entry for an herbarium includes its physical location, URL, contents (e.g., number and type of specimens), founding date, as well as names, contact information and areas of expertise of associated staff. Only those collections that are permanent scientific repositories are included in IH. New registrants must demonstrate that their collection is accessible to scientists, and is actively managed. Each institution is assigned a permanent unique identifier in the form of a one to eight letter code, a practice that dates from the founding of IH in 1935.

The first six editions of Index Herbariorum were published by the International Association for Plant Taxonomy in the Netherlands (1952–1974). Dr. Patricia Holmgren, then Director of the New York Botanical Garden, served as co-editor of edition 6, and subsequently became the senior editor of IH. She oversaw the compilation of hard copy volumes 7 and 8, and Dr. Noel Holmgren, a scientist on the NYBG staff, oversaw the development of the IH database, which became available on-line in 1997. In September 2008, Dr. Barbara M. Thiers, Director of the NYBG Herbarium, became the editor of IH.

A grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (DBI grant # 1600051) has funded changes to Index Herbariorum. With this funding, the biodiversity information management team at The New York Botanical Garden has modified the structure of the database to include more information about the contents of herbaria (e.g., numbers of total specimens for the major groups of organisms stored in herbaria), the status of collections digitization, and the data portals through which the data can be accessed. We have created an API ( to facilitate the inclusion of Index Herbariorum data in other applications.

Additionally, we have changed the update procedure for Index Herbariorum. Please see instructions below. Herbaria can now update their own information and new herbaria can self-register. All updates and new registrations will be provisional until reviewed and accepted by the Editor, and will not appear online until accepted.

Search by Herbarium Code

Use the field below to search the database using the herbarium code as the search criteria. Enter the herbarium code in the field and press the Search button to execute the query.

Search by Name or Location

Use the appropriate box to search the database for any of the following fields. Press the Search button to execute the search.

Search for a Person

Search for a herbarium staff member by entering the appropriate search criteria in the relevant fields below. Press the Search button to execute the search.

Map All Herbaria

We welcome corrections to the geocoordinates for herbaria. Our goal is to make the position of the pointer for each herbarium as accurate as possible. If possible, please submit corrected coordinates for the exact building in which the herbarium is housed, preferably in decimal format, e.g., 45.513104,-122.686145). Corrections can be entered using the ”Send comment or correction to the Editor of Index Herbariorum” feedback link, which can be found in each herbarium record. The map is updated every month.

Map all Herbaria!

Index Herbariorum Annual Report

"The World's Herbaria 2016", is now available for download here.
"The World's Herbaria 2017", is now available for download here.

How to Cite IH

Thiers, B. [continuously updated]. Index Herbariorum: A global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden's Virtual Herbarium.

Help Us Update Index Herbariorum!

During the 2017 project to upgrade Index Herbariorum, we attempted to contact every herbarium in the index that was already not indicated as closed but had not updated its record for ten years or more. Please download this list and review the herbaria of your country or region. If you can provide a contact for an herbarium, or any information on its status, please send this information to Barbara M. Thiers, Editor of Index Herbariorum,, or use the comment function in the record for that herbarium.

How To Update An Index Herbariorum Record

Herbaria can now update their own information in the index. To access the editable form of the record, search for the record to be updated, and select "Edit" at the top of the form.

To edit the record for an existing person record:
Go to the person's record through the institutional page, or search for that person directly from the person search on the on the IH home page. Click on that person’s name to bring up their record, and click on the ‘edit’ button to view the editable version. Make any needed edits. For people that that are no longer on staff, select "Retired" or "Deceased" as their status. If a person is indicated as "Primary Correspondent" or "Secondary Correspondent," their name will appear on the institution page. Changing the values in these fields from "Yes" to "No" will remove the person from appearing on this page.

To create a new record:
Do not create a record for a new person by writing over an existing record with information about a new person. The information about the new person will not display properly on the web if you do that.

To register a New Staff Member you can either follow this link:

Or go to a record for any other person and select "Create New" at the top of the page. This will provide a new person record and will not write over the information of the person searched.

All updates and new registrations will be provisional until reviewed and accepted by the Editor, and will not appear online until accepted.

PLEASE NOTE: A new herbarium registration will not be accepted unless at least one Staff Member record is created for the Correspondent for the herbarium. Please create Staff Member records for all staff associated with the collection

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, check our FAQ.

Where to Send Updates and Corrections

Please review the entry for your Herbarium and send any updates and corrections to: Barbara M. Thiers,

How to Register for Index Herbariorum

New Herbaria can self-register for Index Herbariorum. The recommended procedure for doing so is as follows:

1. Select a code for your herbarium that is six or fewer letters – no numbers or other symbols. Test to be sure your code is not already in use by searching for it in the Index.

2. Download the registration form document and the Index Herbariorum Registration Form Example. Gather all the data you will need to complete the form online – we recommend that you put the data in the form and circulate to other staff to obtain all needed updates at one time.

3. Once the registration form document is complete, transfer this information to the online registration form:

Register a New Herbarium:
Register a New Staff Member:

All updates and new registrations will be provisional until reviewed and accepted by the Editor, and will not appear online until accepted.