The Global Plants database features more than two million high-resolution type specimens, and this number continues to grow.

The collection also includes partner-contributed reference works and primary sources, such as collectors’ correspondence and diaries, paintings, drawings, and photographs. Highlights include reference works and books such as The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa and Flowering Plants of South Africa; illustrations from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine; and Kew’s Directors’ Correspondence, comprising handwritten letters and memoranda from the senior staff south of Kew from 1841 to 1928.

Plant type specimens are in great demand for scientific study because of their pivotal role as original vouchers of nomenclature. They also act as a historical record of changes in various flora. The specimens have been hand-selected and meticulously digitized by partner herbaria with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


  • Search: Find results quickly through domain-specific filters
  • Image viewer: Examine high-resolution images; measure and save plant information
  • Linking: Discover relevant journal articles on JSTOR and content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and Tropicos
  • Commenting: Be part of the scientific discourse – join active discussions on plant specimen data by experts in the field
  • Stable links: Locate, cite, and create stable links to type specimens
  • Compilation page: View all the resources in the database related to a particular plant name or taxon in one place

Learn how your herbarium can access–or sponsor other herbaria’s access–to Global Plants.