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Systematic section - Spermatophytes, Pteridophytes, Bryophtes, Algae, Lichens, Fungi

Selected collections acquired after 1914 until 1987
References cited in the herbarium pages

Phanerogams (seed plants)

(To the list of plant families)

Extant parts of the old Phanerogam herbarium

For various reasons (separate storage, on loan, etc.) the material of some plant families, genera, and a few entire special collections escaped the destruction completely or to a great extent; some examples are Begoniaceae, Pandanaceae, Antirrhinum, Herbarium Willdenow, collections of cones and fruits, Dingler's Rosa collection, etc. The extant remnants of larger collections, such as C. Koch's herbarium (cf. Lack 1978b), may also be mentioned here.

Shortly before the bombing raid type specimens had begun to be extracted from the general herbarium and put into the basement of the Museum. Through this action about 20,000 types and other old sheets were saved in families of Gymnosperms, Monocotyledons, and some of the Dicotyledons. Unfortunately this activity was not completed. Because not all types were marked several were overlooked. On the other hand some of the saved sheets are not type specimens. Lists of the surviving families were published by Sleumer (1949) and Pilger (1953 b : 27 f.). The dates of these publications were checked in the herbarium and are listed in combination with other data below.

A third category of extant material is the group of duplicates of different collections saved in 1943. Among this material many isotypes were found, and thus almost all families contain some old specimens. A few of these collections include A. Peter, H. J. Schlieben, and A. Stolz (E. Africa), G. Zenker (Cameroon), C. Ledermann (New Guinea, Caroline and Palau Is.), M. S. Clemens (New Guinea), and C. Troll (Bolivia and Africa).

Since the records of the distribution of duplicates from the Berlin herbarium were also destroyed the publication by Leeuwenberg (1965) on the distribution of collections from Africa is very useful in tracing isotypes from the old Berlin collections. The neotropical types of the Berlin herbarium - 15,800 according to Merrill (1943) - were photographed in the 1930s by J. F. Macbride for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and these photographs are available there (Grimé & Plowman 1986).

Another source of isotypes present today in the Botanical Museum was herbaria received after 1943 that contained duplicates of old Berlin collections, e.g., the herbaria of R. Gross (see Pilger 1953b: 28), K. Dinter, H. J. Schlieben, and from the botanical institute of Marburg University (Pilger l.c.: 35).

The published lists of types from certain families of flowering plants of the Berlin herbarium show that even in groups known to be totally destroyed in 1943 some old material can be found: Cucurbitaceae (Lack 1978a), Flacourtiaceae and related families (Zepernick 1978 & 1979), and Orchidaceae (Butzin 1978, 1980 & 1981).

Because of the complex situation after the destruction of the herbarium building the present holdings of the herbarium are extremely heterogeneous. Besides families containing hundreds of types there are other groups almost without type material.



The pteridophyte herbarium is the single major portion of the General Herbarium in Berlin to have survived the wartime destruction of 1943. It has suffered but minimal losses (two small families, Marattiaceae and Ophioglossaceae, having been burnt). By its immense richness in historical material, including many types, it bears witness of what the entire Berlin collections must once have been. Among its major assets are the original specimens of, e.g., Alderwerelt van Rosenburgh, A. Braun, Hieronymus, Klotzsch, Kunth, Link, Mettenius, Rosenstock, as well as a large duplicate set from Kunze whose collections were destroyed in Leipzig, and isotypes from almost all prominent botanists of the 19th and 20th centuries who worked on pteridophytes. Today the pteridophyte collection of the Botanical Museum, comprising c. 300,000 specimens, may well be the world's largest herbarium of its kind.

Information on Berlin pteridophyte type material (including photographs and protologues) will be provided on this web site in the future. The copying of protologues, checking and separating of type material, as well as putting up of electronic type lists has already been started and covers at present type information for c. 600 taxa (c. 1500 checked type specimens).


Only some fascicles of the genera Dicranella and Campylopus were saved in 1943. The remainder of the general herbarium was destroyed. Fortunately some important old collections are extant because they were kept separately. The most valuable herbarium is that of S. E. de Bridel which is still not included in the general herbarium (Schultze-Motel 1977). Other old or newly acquired collections came from Andres, M. Fleischer, Hintze, Loeske, K. Osterwald, H. Reimers and many others (see Selective list of collections).

A list of extant types of C. Warnstorf's herbarium was published by Schultze-Motel (1962), who also reported on a collection of bryophytes made in 1829 by Ch. G. Ehrenberg and A. von Humboldt in Siberia (Schultze-Motel 1963). The list of an extant old collection from Peru (leg. Raimondi) has just been published (Menzel & Schultze-Motel 1987).

Extant collections from the time before 1943

  • Herbarium Bridel (complete); list downloadable
  • Dicranaceae, some fasc. (Campylopus and Dicranella p.p.)

The Bryophyte collection now contains more than 280,000 specimens.


The Algae Collections comprise 37 000 herbarium sheets, 1000 wet specimens and about 12 000 samples with microalgae.

In 1943, during World War II, the Algae General Herbarium was completely destroyed except for 57 sheets, which were on loan. However, some old material survived in the basement including 600 sheets of Kützing´s exsiccatae (received 1894). Moreover, most of the wet collection is extant which contains, among others, 480 bottles of algae from type localities in Cameroon (leg. Ledermann), Annobon (leg. Mildbraed), Madagascar (leg. Voeltzkow), and the Kerguelen Islands (leg. Werth) (see P. Hiepko in Englera 7: 219-252, 1987). Also material that was on display in the showrooms of the museum had survived as is shown by Mshigeni & Jahn (1995) who investigated Eucheuma specimens from the turn of the century.

In addition, many microalgae are extant: Jahn (1996) gives details on 116 jars of freshwater algae that were collected 100 years ago in East Africa and which contain original material for about 200 names. Feibicke (in Willdenowia 22: 271-279, 1992) makes known Willi Krieger´s 3640 algae samples collected in various water bodies in Eastern Germany between 1908 and 1946. Wendker (in Willdenowia 17: 235-237, 1988) documents parts of the Cholnoky diatom collection at B including syntypes from S.W. Africa and the Cape. Further old material includes for example: 58 slides by Heiden & Kolbe (1928), 610 samples from Indonesia by Kolkwitz, 125 samples plus 802 slides by Marsson collected in the years 1869-1903, 85 slides by Eulenstein (1867). Recently the Geissler Collection of about 5000 samples was acquired which focusses on water bodies in Berlin in the years 1979-1997.


about / database (online) / for recent samples see online database / ZSCHACKIA keys and pictures of lichens

The war-dependent fire of 1943 was a crucial event for herbarium B. It is unclear how many lichen specimens were available in B before that time. Urban (1916: Geschichte des k. bot. Museums zu Berlin-Dahlem 1815-1913) lists some 250 collectors. Certainly important parts were the herbaria of Flörke and Laurer. Other important (though probably not very numerous) collections were those by Meyen from his travel in the tropics, and those by various collectors in New Guinea. In spite of the presence of numerous important types and valuable exsiccata series, the herbarium has probably contained less than one hundred thousand specimens, predominantly from Central Europe. The lichens incorporated in the General Herbarium were nearly completely destroyed.

Only two larger loans, concerning the genus Lecanora and the family Stictaceae, survived abroad and were returned after the war. In addition, some not yet incorporated herbaria were saved: those of J. Lahm, F. W. Zopf (including a collection of lichen substances, cf. Huneck et al. 1973), and H. Zschacke (Mattick 1954). Contrary to the information by Grummann (1974), the latter herbarium is probably completely present in B, with ample material from Sachsen-Anhalt, the Harz mountains, Corsica and the Carpathians, and a large collection of Verrucariaceae.

Shortly after World War II, several large private herbaria were acquired: G. Lettau (38,000, including many packets with several vouchers), O. Behr (11,000) and V. Grummann (10,000). All three consisted predominantly of specimens from Germany.

Current expansion is mainly in tropical material. Ongoing research projects, in particular on the lichen flora of Colombia, Costa Rica, the Guianas and New Guinea, brought ample material from these areas, on which already several new species were based. A spin-off is the exsiccata series Lichenotheca Latinoamericana, which is sent to 25 herbaria over the world, including several in developing countries. Other extra-European areas for which important collections have become available include El Salvador, Mexico, Australia (duplicates leg. Streimann), Malaysia, the Philippines, Mongolia (herb. Huneck), Chile (herb. Follmann). Within Europe, the main activity is in the Mediterranean, in particular Greece. Important recent acquisitions were the herbarium of S. Huneck (1994), about 11,000 specimens, including vouchers for his "Mitteilungen über Flechteninhaltsstoffe" and 1,000 samples of lichen substances and their derivatives, and G. Follmann (2005), about 20,000 specimens.

Today the lichen herbarium comprises about 250,000 specimens, of which some 30% are included in the database LICHCOL. Another ca. 3,000 specimens collected by Lettau are included in a database of epiphytic lichens.


All of the material of Uredinales and Fungi imperfecti was saved, while the remainder of the herbarium of Fungi was destroyed. Several additional types from different groups of Fungi were saved because they were kept in the public department of the Museum, e.g. types of J. F. Klotzsch and P. Hennings (cf. Kohlmeyer 1962a, 1962b). Other important collections (including several types) were saved because they were kept in safer parts of the building. Among these are the herbaria of C. G. T. Preuss (cf. Jülich 1974) and Th. Nitschke (cf. Gerhardt & Hein 1979), see also "Selected collections".

Lists of extant types of Fungi described by W. Kirschstein and G. Otth were published by Hein & Gerhardt (1981) and Hein (1985) respectively. For taxa described by P. Hennings see B. Hein (1988, Liste der Arten und infraspezifischen Taxa von P. Hennings. ENGLERA, vol. 10).

In 1979 the Fungus collection of the Biologische Bundesanstalt at Berlin-Dahlem was presented to the Botanical Museum. This was a collection of more than 50,000 specimens of mostly parasitic fungi from all over the world (but mainly C. Europe). Recent acquisitions include the herbarium of D. Benkert.

The Fungus herbarium of the Botanical Museum comprised about 250,000 specimens according to an estimate of J. Kohlmeyer in 1962. Today there are more than 300,000 specimens. The label data of some 13,000 are searchable on the LICHCOL website.
Label photographs of ca. 110,000 Uredinales specimens are being made visible in the RBGE Fungal specimen label gallery.