A herbarium is a collection of dried plant specimens identified, mounted and arranged using a standard system of classification. It is the data associated with the herbarium specimen that determines its value and relates to the following: Characters of all parts of the plant, represented in dried condition; information on locality, habitat use, etc. as noted by the collector and given on the herbarium label; and notes and annotations made on the specimen sheet during the study by experts in future. Code ‘NHCP’ is registered with the Index Herbariorum (a lists all recognised herbaria) in the New York Botanic Gardens, USA.
'NHCP' code is registerd In Index Herbariorum from NYBG NHCP-Index Herbarium

  • Build-up reference collection of economically important taxa, both indigenous and exotic, as herbarium specimens, seeds and photographs.
  • Hold supplementary collection of seeds, economic products/ fruits samples, drawings/ illustrations and photographic records.
  • Maintain supplementary collection of seeds, economic products/ fruit samples, drawings/ illustrations and photographic records.
  • Maintain the working collection of herbarium specimens of wild, weedy taxa, cultivars, primitive landraces, and obsolete cultivars representing crop gene pools.
  • Support Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) programme by making available the diversity in the form of herbarium specimens for use by a wide range of users including the PGR workers.
  • Establish and maintain links/liaison with other herbaria and gene banks.
  • Organize and provide teaching/training on build-up, maintenance and utilization of the herbarium resources.
  1. Identification of plant species: Herbarium specimens are the source of morphological characters by which the plant may be identified in the field and distinguished from related species. These also help to delimit the range of variation within a species which can be used to pinpoint the occurrence of natural hybrids and the introgressed forms.
  2. Locating species/ diversity and phyto-geography: Taxa represented as herbarium specimens from diverse habitats over its distributional range, provide authentic records of their occurrence and distribution. Diversity, represented from natural populations provides source of distribution patterns, habitat preferences, mapping diversity of naturalized and weedy taxa, predicting areas of occurrence and changes there in due to climate change and habitat loss, and delineating of taxa that are endemic, rare and threatened.
  3. Documenting information on taxa: Herbarium specimens and associated data noted as label information is the source for revalidating information on uses on local/ regional occurrence which aid in pinpointing incipient domesticates and wild useful plants. Data particularly on plants of ethno-botanical importance, folk value, etc. too can be obtained from herbarium labels.
  4. Vouchers of PGR diversity: Representative herbarium specimens of taxa that have been collected and conserved in the field gene bank, as seeds or propagules viz. landraces of crops, wild species, etc. and material from experimental study, provide records for reference and study.
  5. Source material for taxonomic and experimental study: Herbarium specimens provide the basic material for systematic studies on crop genepools and crop-weed complexes and morphometric studies on native taxa which can be further substantiated by field-based study.
  6. Herbarium-based samples for experimental study: Seeds, leaf tissue and other plant parts can be used for systematic study viz, phytochemical and biochemical study of proteins and secondary metabolites and as source material for DNA; in selected cases such as extinct species, these may be the only available source of such material for systematic study.

Plant material for processing as herbarium specimens is collected directly from the field during the period when flowering and fruit formation occur. Efforts are made to represent all parts of the plant in the form of the herbarium specimen. During exploration trips when mature fruits and seeds are available, usually leaves and flowers may not be available; specimens are prepared for such taxa from plants raised in pot-culture or experimental fields.

All plant parts are represented in a herbarium specimen to the extent possible. Information on locality, habitat, use, as noted by the collector is recorded on the herbarium label. Special procedures are adopted relating to processing of large-sized plants and its parts, succulents, delicate and fragile plants and selected taxa that are prone to damage by pests during storage.

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This website was conceptualized with guidance and inputs from our colleagues to facilitate wide users. Work on use of the resources through web-based software was done mainly under the institute projects, including exotic virtual herbarium images under DST-Sponsored project (Code: 076-DST-PECD-ERN-011) in collaboration with AKMU, ICAR-NBPGR. Acknowledgements are due to the Director, ICAR-NBPGR and Head, Division of Plant Exploration and Germplasm Collection for guidance and providing facilities for completing this work. Help provided by the staff members involved directly and indirectly in a build-up of herbarium build-up and maintenance is duly acknowledged