Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum (BGBM)

Collections & Expertise

BGBM is the major depository for botanical materials (both living and preserved) and literature in Germany, and one of the major European botanical centres incl. the new science infrastructure of biodiversity informatics. The collections and libraries are global (oldest item from 1534). The collections, expertise and research projects show a clear focus on the East Mediterranean Region, including the Balkans and Near East and extending to Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.

BGBM collections form a vital substrate for research, especially for projects focused on the biodiversity and geological history of central Europe. The collections are extensively curated and documented, specimens can be easily located and examined and an increasing part of the BGBM collections is digitised.

The vast conservatories at BGBM and their living collections constitute a key asset of outstanding importance with a particularly high percentage of fully documented material collected in the wild and correlated with field data and herbarium specimens. Deep freeze repositories for the DNA of botanical organisms, a new collection facility, is currently being implemented as part of the German Network of DNA-Banks.

Department Collection highlights and staff expertise
Herbarium 3.5 million specimens, including ca. 100,000 type specimens
Herbarium Willdenow (international historical herbarium, including specimens collected by Humboldt & Bonpland, the Forsters, Pallas) & Herbarium Bornmüller (Balkans, Near East)
Extensive collection of wood and wet collections (worldwide, in particular tropical Africa & Malaysia)
Schweinfurth collection (plant material from ancient Egypt, including the flower garlands of Ramses II, recently C14 dated)
The most diverse central European collection of Recent and fossil seeds
Biodiversity informatics
The flora of the following regions: Mediterranean Area (in particular Greece, Morocco, Turkey), Yemen and Socotra, Cuba, El Salvador and the Guianas
Cactaceae, Celastraceae, Cistaceae, Compositae, Dipsacaceae, Hippocrateaceae, Rutaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Zygophyllaceae; Diatoms and tropical lichens
Living collections ca. 22,000 species, ca. 60,000 documented accessions
Particular strength: bromeliads, cacti, begonias; plants from Greece, Turkey, Yemen
Library Comprehensive coverage, especially with regard to literature from Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS, represents a unique resource within the central European area.
The history of botany, botanical illustration and botanical bibliographies

Supporting Facilities and Services

Important equipment including facilities for DNA extraction and analysis, state of the art microscopy and microprobe facilities are available in both DE-TAF institutions. Modern laboratories completed during the last 5 years forms a unique array within a central European natural history museum, including instruments for conducting X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, molecular sequencing and digital imaging.

Information Technology and Access

Users may bring their own laptop or access to a PC will be provided upon request. Internet access can be arranged in most of the collection areas.

Research supported by the infrastructure

BGBM is the centre of excellence for phytotaxonomical research in Germany and the central European region. BGBM staff are pursuing a broad spectrum of studies, under the umbrella of biodiversity research, focused both on taxa and on specific regions (Cuba, Greece, Yemen). Current goals include Flora Hellenica, Flora of Arabia a new Flora of Cuba, treatments of the tribes Anthemideae and Lactuceae for the new encyclopedia Families and genera of vascular plants.