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Herbarium specimen
loans & exchanges

The National Herbarium of New South Wales (NSW) is part of an international network institutions sharing plant specimens as loans and exchange.

In preparation of moving and digitising over 1.43 million herbarium specimens, loan, image, and destructive sampling requests after January 2019 will not be actioned and we recommend you resubmit your request early in 2022

Please note: In preparation of moving and digitising over 1.43 million herbarium specimens - loan, image, and destructive sampling requests after January 2019 will not be actioned and we recommend you resubmit your request early in 2022.

Researcher’s wishing to loan specimens from NSW must abide by the Herbarium’s Conditions of Loan. Destructive sampling of specimens may be requested; please refer to our Destructive Sampling Policy.

The National Herbarium of NSW is prioritizing the return of specimens made available to NSW on loan to their home institutions.

All requests for loan material must be made in writing, electronically or by mail, by the Head of the borrowing institution and addressed to:

Manager Collections
National Herbarium of New South Wales
Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands
Mrs Macquaries Road
Sydney NSW 2000

Most herbaria in the world and within Australia have a longstanding tradition of exchanging herbarium specimens for the purpose of a broader diversity of species and increased accessibility of specimens for scientific research. Duplicate materials are donated to other institutions throughout the world and in return, NSW receives about 10,000 exchange specimens annually from these institutions. 

Herbarium label information for exchange specimens from NSW can be sent electronically to the receiving organisation in HISPID (Herbarium Information Standards and Protocols for Interchange of Data) format. We encourage, and appreciate, the full transfer of electronic data with herbarium collections being donated to NSW, including permit information.

The loan and exchange of specimens or samples of Australian species can only occur between registered scientific institutions. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and Australian Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 strictly control the movement of specimens and parts of specimens of some taxa. 

Strict quarantine regulations apply to the importation of herbarium specimens into Australia. Institutions wishing to send material to NSW must first contact the Manager Collections for information on quarantine requirements, and consult BICON, the Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions database, for further details. International shipping guidelines can be found here.