The Australasian Virtual Herbarium (AVH) is an online resource that provides dynamic access to the wealth of plant specimen data held by Australian and New Zealand herbaria. The AVH is a collaborative project developed under the auspices of the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH).

Australian and New Zealand herbaria house over eight million specimens of plants, algae and fungi. These specimens provide a permanent record of the occurrence of a species at a particular place and time, and are the primary resource for research on the classification and distribution of the Australasian flora.

Herbarium specimens are accompanied by information on where and when they were collected, by whom, their current identification, and information on habitat and associated species. To date, almost 80 per cent of the specimens housed in Australian and New Zealand herbaria have been databased. This data forms a valuable resource for a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • conservation agencies
  • universities and schools
  • the scientific community
  • biodiversity networks and conservation groups
  • natural resource, agriculture and forestry agencies
  • environmental consultants
  • Australasian and international herbaria and botanic gardens.

The combined specimen data from each herbarium’s collection provides the most complete picture of the distribution of Australia’s and New Zealand’s flora to date. Data obtained via the AVH can be used for many different purposes, including:

  • mapping plant, algae and fungi distributions
  • planning revegetation work
  • tracking the distribution of invasive species
  • bioprospecting
  • conservation planning
  • prioritising resources for plant collecting and biodiversity surveys
  • historical research.

The AVH is a dynamic resource. New specimen records are added as herbaria continue to database their ever-growing collections, and existing records are updated to reflect name changes and data validation work.

Contributing herbaria

The State Herbarium of South Australia (AD), Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
The Herbarium (AK), Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Queensland Herbarium (BRI), Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI)
The Australian National Herbarium (CANB), Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry and the Australian National Botanic Gardens
The University of Canterbury Herbarium (CANU), University of Canterbury
The Allan Herbarium (CHR), Landcare Research NZ Ltd
The Australian Tropical Herbarium (CNS), a joint venture of CSIRO Plant Industry and the Director National Parks (through the Australian National Herbarium), the Queensland Government (through the Queensland Herbarium and the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA)) and James Cook University
The New South Wales Plant Pathology and Mycology Herbarium, Orange Agricultural Institute, Department of Primary Industries, Orange, New South Wales.
The Northern Territory Herbarium, in Darwin (DNA) and Alice Springs (NT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources
The Wallace Herbarium, Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, Batemans Bay, New South Wales.
Tasmanian Herbarium (HO), Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Department of State Growth
The James Cook University Herbarium (JCT), James Cook University
The Lincoln University Herbarium (LINC), Lincoln University
The La Trobe University Herbarium (LTB)
The National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL), Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
The University of Melbourne Herbarium (MELU)
The Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium (MPN), Massey University
The N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium (NE), The University of New England
The National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW), Botanic Gardens Trust
The New Zealand Forestry Herbarium (NZFRI), SCION
The New Zealand Fungarium (PDD), Landcare Research NZ Ltd
The Western Australian Herbarium (PERTH), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
The Herbarium (WELT), Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa
The Janet Cosh Herbarium (WOLL), The University of Wollongong