Indian Virtual Herbarium, biggest database of country’s flora, is a global hit

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Indian Virtual Herbarium, biggest database of country’s flora, is a global hit

  • Indian Virtual Herbarium, the biggest virtual database of flora in the country which has details of about one lakh plant specimens is turning out to be an eye-catching endeavour.

About the Herbarium

  • Herbarium specimens are considered important tools for plant taxonomy, conservation, habitat loss and even climate change.
  • Indian Virtual Herbarium is an example of how digital tools can help us connect to our roots.
  • The virtual herbarium presents a rich botanical diversity of the country.
  • Developed by scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
  • It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Environment Forest and Climate Change.


  • Each record in the digital herbarium includes an image of the preserved plant specimen, scientific name, collection locality, collection date, collector name, and barcode number.
  • It includes features to extract the data State-wise, and users can search plants of their own States, which will help them identify regional plants and in building regional checklists.
  • The portal includes about one lakh images of herbarium specimens.

Connected to roots

  • The Indian Virtual Herbarium is deeply linked with the botanical history of the country.
  • The portal provides the most valuable historical collections of botanists like William Roxburgh, Nathaniel Wallich and Joseph Dalton Hooker, considered the founding fathers of botany in India.
  • It has some of the oldest botanical specimens dating as early as 1696.
  • The oldest type specimen Lepidagathis scariosa was collected in 1817 by Robert Wight.
  • Type specimens are those collections that help in new discoveries and are considered of great significance by botanists and taxonomists.
  • Researchers need to examine the types of names in order to confirm their identities.
  • As a priority, the Indian Virtual Herbarium has digitised information with images of 29,615 type specimens on its platform.

Prelims take away

  • Indian Virtual Herbarium
  • Botanical Survey of India (BSI)