Strategic plan and acquisitions policy


To support and facilitate teaching and research in plant sciences at the University of Melbourne.


  • To manage a scientific collection of the Victorian flora and representative specimens from elsewhere in Australia and around the world.
  • Train the next generation of plant scientists, ecologists and conservation biologists in the importance, and preparation of voucher specimens and the use of herbaria.
  • Serve as a repository for voucher specimens documenting research by University staff and students.
  • Engage with students and the public to promote the significance of biodiversity, plant science and herbarium collections.
  • Be an active member of the University’s Cultural Collections, and the Australasian Herbarium community through the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH).

Acquisitions policy

The Herbarium will acquire individual items or entire collections according to the following policy:

  • Clear legal title passes to the University of Melbourne.
  • The acquisition is consistent with the mission of the Herbarium.
  • Specimens are of a high quality such that they have potential for reference, research, or teaching (see specimen quality guidelines below).
  • Specimens not deemed to be of high quality will not be incorporated into the main collection, but can be stored outside of the main collection area for a minimum of 5 years to meet the University’s research data compliance guidelines.
  • The curator should be consulted prior to collecting and requesting to lodge batches of specimens (≥10).
  • Specimens may be acquired by donation or exchange subject to the disposal policy below.

Specimen quality guidelines

  • The minimum data to be provided electronically with the specimen is collector’s name and number, date of collection, precise location, and geocode. Note: these may be waived for historical specimens but not for recently collected specimens.
  • The physical specimen should have vegetative and reproductive parts, which have been dried to show the diagnostic features clearly.
  • High quality specimens are specimens that add significant taxonomic, geographic, ecological or historical value to our collection.
  • As a general rule, specimens without reproductive parts are of low value to the Herbarium and are discouraged.

Deaccessioning and disposal

  • No significant or substantial component of the collection is to be disposed of without prior consultation with the Vice-Chancellor, via the Cultural Collections Committee, after approval by the Head of School.  Any such component to be disposed of is to be offered free of charge to an appropriate institution.  These would normally be, first, The National Herbarium of Victoria, and secondly, any other Australian herbarium via the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH).
  • Individual items may be deaccessioned if they are of poor quality or are otherwise deemed by the Director to no longer fill the mission of the Herbarium.
  • The Herbarium may dispose of specimens received by donation or exchanged to us, prior to accession, that do not fill the mission of the Herbarium. If donation/exchange specimens are not accessioned, the Herbarium will inform the donating institution so they can update their records.