Botanical collections

Botanical collections of the NHM UT (acronym TU) is the oldest herbarium in Estonia, started to form with the foundation of the Nature Museum in 1802. Botanical collections include more than 321 000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes and macroalgae, including type specimens for 71 taxa in 2021.

The materials have mostly been collected by the scientists of the University of Tartu, supplementing the collections has been a part of botanical research, but collections have grown by donations from private collections and through exchange as well. The oldest dated herbarium sheet in the collection dates back to 1819, the oldest herbarium sheet collected from Estonia is dated to 1834.

The herbarium of vascular plants includes two parts:

(1)   Herbarium Generale holds specimens from all over the world, being largest in whole Estonia and holds more than 200 000 specimens, collected mainly from the area of the former Russian Empire, later Soviet Union.

(2)   Plantae Estonicae includes of 90 00 specimens collected from nowadays Estonian territory. 

The bryophyte herbarium includes around 26 000 specimens, including historical collections and 16 collections of exsiccatae (of an estimated 8 000 specimens), of about 1 600 taxa. 

The algae collections include the herbarium of macroalgae (ca 1000 herbarium sheets), the collection of microalgae (ca 1000 specimens) and the collection of the figures of algae (iconothèque) of an estimated 14 000 sheets with sketches and descriptions of algae taxa.

Important links: 

General guidelines for working with botanical and mycological collections

Database of Estonian plant collections

Information about botanical collections in Estonian Research Portal

Kai Vellak
Head of the botanical collections 
Phone +372 5246 249