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Library of the BGBM

The Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin (BGBM) of the Freie Universität Berlin as the largest German collection and research institution for systematic botany and plant geography, with one of the world's largest living collections, maintains a botanical library open to the public. It is the leading botanical library in the German speaking region and one of the most important in Europe.

The purpose of the Library of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, founded in 1819,  is, to collect the botanical literature on a worldwide basis as complete as possible and to make it accessible to the users. The library thus holds a wide range of literature on plants from all over the world, in all printed languages and from five centuries, among them precious and very rare books.

The library welcomes everyone who is interested to read about botanical topics, such as, e.g. plant identification, medicinal and other useful plants, plants and people, nature conservation, vegetation.

The literature can be consulted (and in most cases copied/scanned) in the library. Loans require a valid library user card (issued by the central library for external users).


  • General collections: Plant science, phytotaxonomy (all groups, including fungi), plant geography (including vegetation science and plant ecology), applied botany (plants used by man, ornamental plants, ethnobotany), nature and species conservation, nomenclature, history of botany.

  • Special collections: Linnaeana, publications on botanic gardens and other botanical institutions, microfiche editions of herbaria, plant images, history and technique of botanical illustration, portraits and handwritings of botanists, biographical material, travel accounts, seed lists, vegetation maps.

Holdings in numbers (December 2022):

  1. total number of  volumes:  220 143
  2. number of current serial titles (print and online; without campus licenses of fulltext collections): 533
  3. other print materials (offprints, etc.): 145 204
  4. micro materials: 4178 titles (c. 58 137 items)
  5. CD-ROM, DVD & video cassettes: 534


Special collections

  • Separates
    The offprint collection is fully catalogued in the OPAC of the Freie Universität.
  • Herbaria on microfiche
    The library holds all historical herbaria documented on microfiche.
  • Maps
    Vegetation maps, topographical and geological maps, all listed in a card index.
  • Seed lists of botanical gardens
    Treated like journals and completely catalogued in the German Serials Database (search for "Index Seminum" + place).



All major bibliographies are kept in the reading room. 

Internet connection is provided for WWW inquiries

The staff is glad to help in further enquiries.




The Library of the BGBM is founding member of the
European Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Group (EBHL).