the collections

Overview of the herbarium


The collection encompasses all the main plant groups including angiosperms, gymnosperms, ferns, bryophytes as well as lichens, algae and fungi. Fruit and seed collections, samples of wood, specimens preserved in alcohol and preparations of diatoms complete the herbarium. Countless specimens from important collectors have been deposited in W.


·        Phanerogam Herbarium:             c. 4 000 000 sheets

·        Cryptogam Herbarium:                c. 1 500 000 sheets and capsules

·        Wood collection:                          c. 6 500 pieces

·        Spirit collection:                            c. 2 000 glasses

·        Fruit and seed collection

·        Slides with diatoms

·        Collection of hand-writing and original labels

·        Collection of reprints


The geographical focus of the herbarium in Europe is the area of the former Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy and Central Europe; the entire Mediterranean area, in particular Greece and Turkey. For Asia the collection covers the Orient, the Caucasus Mountains and the area of Flora Iranica (Iran and adjacent regions). African collections originate from Tunisia, East and Central Africa and the Cape Region. Core areas in South America are mainly Brazil, Argentina and Chile. W also holds large historical collections from Australia and New Zealand.



Visiting the collections


All areas of the herbarium are open to scientists, where feasible, but we do ask visitors to contact us in advance of the intended visit.

About one sixth of the collection was destroyed during the Second World War. Only a few specimens remain in the affected families, therefore it is advised to send an email to check if the requested specimen(s) still exist.

The diatom collection by Grunow is only accessible to registered visitors; please email Dr. Anton Igersheim, Curator of the Cryptogam herbarium.


It is possible to compare the specimens in W with your own material but, for security reasons, fresh or dried specimens must be declared and receive a deep-freezing treatment before entering the herbarium. In such instances, the material in question must arrive two weeks before the proposed visit.


Additionally, a few days before and after the general fumigations (twice a year: 6th of May 2016 and 26th of August 2016), the herbarium is closed to all guests and staff.


It is possible to find numerous specimens, including scans of type specimens on the virtual herbaria website. Scans may also be requested by contacting us. Photographs of plants of the Austrian Flora can be found here.


There is also the possibility to request loans of specific specimens by contacting the relevant curator.



Opening hours of the herbarium

Monday – Friday   9.00 - 17.00


Opening hours of the library

Tuesday                 9:30-12:30 and 14:30-18:30

Thursday                9:30-12:30


The entrance to the scientific collections is located on the Ringstrasse.

drying the collected plants at an excursion to Armenia