The BBS Herbarium

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About the herbarium

The BBS Herbarium (known as BBSUK) is hosted at the National Museum of Wales, in Cardiff. Once a year, all of the moss and liverwort vouchers that have been submitted to the Recorders for Mosses and Liverworts are sent to the herbarium’s curator for safekeeping. Other material of note may also be stored in the herbarium on an ad-hoc basis, for example following taxonomic revisions.

BBS members and bona-fide researchers may formally request to borrow material from the herbarium for study purposes.

Until around 2001, the herbarium was BBS property and was catalogued and managed by a BBS-appointed curator. An account of the history of BBSUK and its successive curators was published in 1980. One of the duties of the BBS curator between 1980 and 2001 was to report the total number of BBS vouchers and other specimen submissions and numbers and you can download these below.

After that, the ownership of the herbarium transferred to NMW and the annual reports ceased. However, annual numbers of herbarium specimens submitted as new or recent vice-county records (vouchers) through the Recorders for Mosses and Liverwort) are published every year in Field Bryology.

In 2018, a Voucher Policy was agreed by BBS Council:

New vice-county records and updates are supported by voucher specimens submitted to the Recorders for Mosses and Liverworts respectively. By default, vouchers are normally deposited in the BBS herbarium (BBSUK) held at the National Museum of Wales (NMW) in Cardiff.  However, vouchers are also deposited in other herbaria if the collector so requests. For example, some Scottish and Irish bryologists ask for their specimens to be sent to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, or the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland at Glasnevin, Dublin.

The advantage of depositing vouchers in BBSUK is that BBS members have the right to borrow vouchers from the Society’s herbarium, subject to procedures at NMW. They do not automatically have such rights with other herbaria. Having vouchers in one place also makes taxonomic revisions easier to manage. The BBS policy is that vouchers submitted to the vice-county recording scheme should be deposited in BBSUK unless the collector requests otherwise. The collector’s wishes should always be respected. In such cases the location of the relevant voucher specimen will be indicated in the annual lists of new and updated vice-county records, and in the records submitted to the BBS database.’

The history of BBSUK Specimen submissions 1980-2002


All enquiries about borrowing from the BBSUK collection should be made to:

Katherine Slade
Botany Curator (Lower Plants)
Department of Natural Sciences
National Museum
CF10 3NP