New Queensland Herbarium and organisation of collections

Bryan Simon bsimon at GIL.IPSWICHCITY.QLD.GOV.AU
Sat Dec 23 16:25:28 CST 1995

Dear Herbarium Curators

Many thanks for your response to my request seeking information on the most
suitable method to organise the collections in our new herbarium building.
We shall review and take into consideration all suggestions.

My colleague at the Queensland Herbarium, Rod Henderson, had previously sent
a similar sort of letter to curators of Australian herbaria and it would
probably be appropriate to put this up on Taxacom as well so that ideas of
the new building can be seen from another perspective.  A few weeks ago
Peter Bostock (pbostock at, also from our staff, canvassed for
ideas on the Net on suggestions for design of the building and we received
some useful input. The buiding has been planned as a three story buiding
with the ground floor consisting of reception, directors office,
identification room, preparation room, library and seminar room; the first
floor of herbarium surrounded by taxonomists officers in a semi-open plan
and top floor (about half the area of the other two) of ecologists working
area and laboratory.

Rod Henderson's letter

Dear xxxxx

I write to seek information on the system used in your institution to file
herbarium specimens.  You are most likely aware that the Queensland
Herbarium plans to be moving to new quarters in the Brisbane Botanic
Gardens, Mt  Cooth-tha, in 1997/8.  This will give us the opportunity to
re-arrange the specimens in our herbarium Collection to agree with our
current concepts of families and incorporate any perceived benefits from
other arrangements.

Currently in BRI, specimens of native or naturalised taxa are kept separate
from those of taxa not represented in Australia.  In both these groups,
pressed and dried specimens of one taxon are contained in brown paper
folders which are filed alphabetically under the name of the species to
which they belong.  The species groups are arranged alphabetically under the
genus name relevant to them.  Generic groups are arranged alphabetically
under relevant family names. Family groups are arranged alphabetically to
form two, complementary sections of the Collection.  Spirit and carpological
specimens are housed separately from the dried ones.

The species and generic groupings accepted accord with the most recently
published accounts of them unless a staff member has an intimate knowledge
of the taxon concerned and advises otherwise.

The family groupings currently accepted for the Collection are basically
those set out in the seventh edition of Willis'  'Dictionary of flowering
plants and ferns'(1966) with modifications in line with the eighth edition
of Willis' dictionary of 1973.  Since the 1968 decision to follow the
former, Queensland Herbarium policy has changed to the recognition of family
groupings as accepted by A. Cronquist et al. and subsequently by the
editorial committee of the Flora of Australia project.

The information I would like to know in respect to your collection for
planning purposes now is
(a) what arrangement do you currently use to file your specimens,
(b) have you perceived any problems associated with this arrangement and
(c) do you have any comments as to what you consider desirable arrangements
for specimens in your herbarium if you could start again?

Any information you can supply would be gratefully received and would, I'm
sure, help us greatly in our planning for `our new home'.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

R.J.F. Henderson
Senior Principal Botanist
for Chief Botanist.

Have a good break over the Christmas recess.

Bryan Simon  (Senior Principal Botanist)
Queensland Herbarium  (BRI)
Meiers Road
Queensland 4068

Phone 61 7 3896 9319 (Work)          Fax 61 7 3896 9624 (Work)
      61 7 3379 6998 (Home)              61 7 3379 6998 (Home)

EMail bsimon at

Bryan Simon  (Senior Principal Botanist)
Queensland Herbarium  (BRI)
Meiers Road
Queensland 4068

Phone 61 7 3896 9319 (Work)          Fax 61 7 3896 9624 (Work)
      61 7 3379 6998 (Home)              61 7 3379 6998 (Home)

EMail bsimon at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list