3.2.5 Specimen loan and exchange


The quality of botanical research is dependent to a large extent on the amount and range of material available for study. Resources available to an institution determine the institution's ability to acquire and hold a comprehensive range of taxa. Loans and exchanges are a means of providing researchers with a much larger range of material for study.

Collectors usually take several duplicate samples from the same specimen in the field, and each sample is given the same number and field note label. Once identified, these specimens are distributed to herbaria that have a regional or research interest in them. This exchange of material among herbaria enables each herbarium to acquire representative collections easily and cheaply and reduces the need for duplicated activity in a given area. Another great advantage of exchanging duplicate specimens is that it ensures that a particular collection is not lost to science should a major disaster befall an institution.

Temporary or extended loans of specimens between herbaria is another means of ensuring that researchers have adequate material on which to work. Loans are made to other recognised botanical institutions, rather than individual botanists, and the receiving institution takes full responsibility for the security and treatment of the specimens while they are in its care. Loans are generally made for an initial period of 12 months, with the possibility of extension. Conventions, agreed by herbarium curators, on the treatment of borrowed specimens cover such things as dissection of parts, handling of type specimens and re-identifications, and these are followed by the Gardens' Herbarium staff.

Management prescriptions


The objective is to conduct exchange and loan programs with collaborative institutions to increase the specimen base available for scientific study.


Where possible, the Gardens will collect duplicate specimens to distribute to other herbaria. Duplicate specimens will be deposited in the herbarium of the state of origin (or the country of origin in the case of overseas collection), herbaria actively working on or with interests in the taxa, herbaria with a regional interest in the collecting site, and selected major overseas herbaria. The Gardens will receive and incorporate exchange material from plant groups and regions that are compatible with the geographic and taxonomic focus of its collection.

The Gardens will lend its specimens to recognised botanical institutions for taxonomic and systematic research. In return, it will borrow specimens from other institutions to facilitate its own research and will follow the agreed loan conventions of herbaria.