Assorted pressed and dried leaves and plants in the Herbaria collection

Herbarium (Colchester)

There are over 400,000 recorded species of plants on Earth and that list is growing all the time.



Plants are very important to us in many different ways:

  • Food. Everything we eat comes directly or indirectly from plants.
  • Air.  The oxygen we breathe is produced as a by product of plant photosynthesis.
  • Water. Plants regulate the water cycle, helping to distribute and purify the planet’s water.
  • Habitat. Plants are the basis for all habitats. Other species depend on plants for food and shelter
  • Medicine. Many medicines come directly from or are derivatives of plants.
  • Climate. Plants store carbon, and have helped keep much of the carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels out of the atmosphere.




Herbaria are collections of dried preserved specimens that document the identity of plants and fungi. They form a reference collection which is used for identification, research and education.

We hold representatives of locally occurring and wider British species of flora including mosses, lichens, plant galls and some fungi. We also have specimens from further a field, totalling 7,300 sheets and packets.

Collections include K.Adams, J.Bowdrey, J.J.Heath and A.J. Wake.

The A.J Wake Herbarium consists of sheets mainly collected in the late 20th century when Alan Wake was resident in the Colchester area. The collection was donated by the collector in 2006.



Researchers wanting to use the herbarium collection should call Sophie on 01206 282931 or for more information or to book an appointment.

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