National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL)
The National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL) houses a collection of over 1.2 million specimens. Approximately two thirds of the collection is Australian, and one third was collected overseas. MEL's Australian collection contains historical material dating back to the earliest days of European colonisation, including material from major nineteenth-century exploring expeditions. The contemporary collections cover all regions of Australia, with a particular focus on material collected in the state of Victoria. All flowering plant families are well-represented, and MEL also holds comprehensive fungi, bryophyte, lichen and algae collections.
The majority of MEL's foreign collection derives from the herbarium of Otto Sonder and spans all major plant groups from every reach of the globe. Of particular note are extensive algae collections and important nineteenth-century collections from South America and southern Africa. Less than 10 per cent of MEL's foreign collection is mounted and databased. As such, some parts of the collection may not be available to researchers.
The Herbarium also houses a comprehensive Library that holds an extensive collection of botanical works published in the nineteenth century and earlier, as well as contemporary publications, original botanical artwork, letters and manuscripts.
Visiting the collections
Access to the Herbarium collection and Library is by appointment. If you wish to visit the Herbarium or Library before, during or after the IBC, please complete the appointment request form. It is requested that forms should be submitted by 30 April 2011, as it may not be possible to accommodate requests received after this time.
The University of Melbourne, School of Botany Herbarium (MELU)
The University of Melbourne Herbarium was established in the School of Botany in 1926 when a donation of plant specimens was given to the School by the Rev. Herman Montague Rucker Rupp, a former student of Trinity College at the University. Thanks to additional donations, some dating back to the 1850's, today the collection totals approximately 100,000 specimens and is still growing. All major plant groups are housed in the Herbarium, including fungi, mosses, liverworts, lichens, algae, ferns, gymnosperms and flowering plants. The main emphasis of the collection is the Victorian flora, however, for some plant groups interstate and overseas collections are included to adequately cover the range of variation within the group.
Access to the Herbarium collection is by appointment. If you wish to visit the Herbarium please email browngk(at)unimelb.edu.au. Due to the size of the Herbaria it may not be possible to accommodate all requests.
Visiting other Australian herbaria
A list of all Herbaria in Australia is maintained by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria and can be found at Resources of Australian Herbaria. Access to Australian state and territory herbaria is by appointment. Contact details for each Australia state herbarium are provided below.
State Herbarium of South Australia, Adelaide (AD)
Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane (BRI)
Australian National Herbarium, Canberra (CANB)
Australian Tropical Herbarium (CNS)
Tasmanian Herbarium, Hobart (HO)
National Herbarium of New South Wales, Sydney (NSW)
Northern Territory Herbarium, Darwin (DNA)
Western Australian Herbarium, Perth (PERTH)