Facebook Pixel
Skip to content

Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service

Please note there are changes to way the Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service will work while the National Herbarium of New South Wales is closed. The Herbarium collections are being digitised and the collection and staff are moving to new facilities at the Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan in 2021 (for more information see National Herbarium of New South Wales)

Please note we will no longer be able to service over-the-counter enquiries. The Public Reference Collection (PRC) will be closed until we move the collection to the new building.

In addition, because of the COVID-19 pandemic the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney will not be receiving deliveries from Australian Post and so enquiries sent by Australia Post may not be actioned for some time.

We will still provide a comprehensive plant identification and botanical information service and will still be accepting email and phone enquiries (please leave a message as we are working off site). We will continue to also provide general botanical information including current scientific names of plants and details on the distribution of NSW plants. We will be endeavouring to keep up our usual standard of service but there is the possibility of delays due to our Digitisation Project and declining access to our collections, the move of the Herbarium in 2021, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

BIS provides plant identification, with emphasis on the native and naturalised plants of New South Wales. We also identify cultivated garden plants and weeds.

To determine the best way to prepare your specimens for identification please see Collecting Plant Specimens

If your enquiry relates to:

BIS does not provide:

  • general gardening advice
  • medical advice – however BIS will attempt to identify plants suspected of poisonings
  • definitive identification based on images alone
  • identification of plant cultivars
  • identification of wood and timber
  • advice of plant edibility or toxicity
  • advice on where to purchase plants

We will respond to your message as soon as possible, however there may be delays.


Free Identification

For up to 12 specimens (or four hours work) per year for members of the public and Foundation & Friends members, after which commercial rates apply. 
Note: please restrict your enquiry to no more than 12 specimens at any one time

Minimum Charge Mail - $45.50
Plant Identifications Per specimen - $23
Consulting Fee $145-$230/hour depending on the complexity of the job
Urgent Enquiries Enquiries requiring immediate attention are charged at a rate of 50% more than standard enquiries

There will be a 4% increase in fees (rounded off) at the beginning of the next financial year.

Note: Enquirers with new, important or quality specimen(s) that we can add to the Herbarium collection, will not incur a fee for identification of the specimen(s).

Download the Botanical Information Service Enquiry Form (PDF)

Contact Us

Mail: [There will be significant delays in responding to mail enquiries, see above, so DO NOT send fresh material.]
Botanical Information Service
National Herbarium of NSW
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney, 2000

Email: botanical.is [at] rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

Phone: 9231 8179 (sorry but we are working offsite and only retreive messages occassionally but usually each day)