Since 2004, we have been digitising the type specimens* held in the herbarium at RBGE. This work has been funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation through the Global Plants Project ( All the types in red folders have now been digitised and we are starting to look more closely at the specimen information to get an overall picture of what specimens we have, who collected them, when they were collected and from which countries.

Nearly 82% of the type specimens held at RBGE are flowering plants. However, RBGE also has significant type collections within the bryophytes (8%), the fungi (6%) and other major groups. As taxonomic research continues in all major groups more types are being found by RBGE staff and visiting researchers. Additional digitisation projects at RBGE aimed at digitising the whole herbarium are also helping in the discovery of types within the collections.

As we continue to research the collections at RBGE we are finding additional historical type specimens. The herbarium collections also continue to expand through the work of RBGE staff and international exchange resulting in new species and consequently new type specimens.

What types

* Type specimens are the specimens to which plant names are attached and they are some of the most important specimens for botanists.

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