Botanical and mycological collections

These internationally significant collections include 3,5 million specimens from around the globe, particularly from the Nordic countries, North America and the cool and temperate zones of Asia. Prominent regional collections are from China, Papua New Guinea and Patagonia, among others. The collections contain tens of thousands of globally valuable type specimens.

The collections are organised into five groups of organisms: vascular plants, bryophytes, fungi, lichens and algae. Most of these have been further divided into two sections, of which East Fennoscandia (Herbarium Fennoscandiae orientalis) encompasses Finland and its neighbouring areas (Russian Karelia, the Kola Peninsula and the western parts of the Leningrad Oblast), and the general collection (Herbarium Generale) covers the rest of the globe. The international herbarium code of the Finnish Museum of Natural History is H.

Vascular plant collections

The vascular plant collections include 1.83 million specimens, particularly from the Nordic countries, North America and the cool and temperate zones of Asia. Spermatophytes account for 1.73 million and pteridophytes for 95,000 specimens. The collections include about 15,000 type specimens. Each year, from 5,000 to 10,000 specimens are added to the collections. The East Fennoscandia specimens total 700,000. The most significant historical dataset is the collection of 120,000 specimens donated by Christian von Steven (1781–1863) in 1861 and including over 1,000 type specimens. Von Steven was a Finnish-born botanist who went on to work in southern Russia and the Crimea.

You can explore the specimens of the vascular plants digitised thus far on the website

Bryophyte collections

The bryophyte collections are worldclass in terms of the representativeness and scientific significance of the specimens. They are the result of over 150 years of international bryological research at the University of Helsinki and currently contain 710,000 bryophyte specimens, the oldest dating back to the 18th century. Approximately 2,500 new specimens are added to the collections each year. The most significant collections are the historical specimens of the Herbarium of V. F. Brotherus and the Herbarium of S. O. Lindberg. The specimens of the two herbaria are stored separately and they are organised as originally arranged by Brotherus (Herb. Brotherus) and by Lindberg (Herb. Lindberg) respectively.  The number of type specimens of bryophytes is estimated at around 20,000, based on the information of digitised bryophyte collections at H.

You can explore the bryological specimens digitised thus far on the website

Fungal collections

The mycological collections comprise just under 500,000 specimens. The biggest subsets are the Finnish Aphyllophorales (90,000 specimens) and Agarics (75,000 specimens). So far, around 3,500 type specimens have been digitised and the total number is estimated to be close to 5,000. The non-Finnish Aphyllophorales collections are among the most diverse in the world, with Russia particularly well represented. The most valuable historical resources are Petter Karsten’s (1834–1917) Basidiomycota and Ascomycota and Johan Liro’s (1872–1943) microfungi.

The collections grow annually by about 5,000 specimens. All specimens accessioned to the mycological collections since 2012 can also be found on the website. In addition, all international Aphyllophorales specimens have been digitised and can be browsed on the above website.

Lichen collections

The Luomus lichen collections of 460,000 specimens are among the largest in the world. Well-represented regions include the Nordic countries, Canada and Tierra del Fuego, and particularly abundant subsets relate to the genera Cladonia and Peltigera. The historical, separately stored herbaria of Erik Acharius (H-ACH) and William Nylander (H-NYL) are of immense scientific value as is the collection of type specimens. To date, 11 000 type specimens of lichens have been digitised. Growing by 5,000 specimens each year, the collections serve lichen researchers around the world. 

You can explore all the lichen specimens digitised thus far on the website. Specimens preserved in separate herbaria can also be found through the following links: Acharius Herbarium, Nylander Herbarium and the collection of type specimens. In addition, you can browse the species catalogue for the general collection (Herbarium Generale).

Phycological collections

The algae collections of 26,000 specimens focus on Finnish resources, including seaweed from the Baltic Sea and algal species found in freshwater lakes.
Charales are particularly well represented. The algae collections also contain specimens mounted on microscope slides, drawings of planktonic algae specimens, and specimens preserved in liquid. Moreover, the resources include significant items from abroad, particularly the Mediterranean and the Arctic Ocean.

You can explore digitised algal specimens on the website.