Vascular Plants Collection

Largest collection of vascular plants in western Canada

Total specimens in collection – 225,000

Vascular plants have internal cellular structures for moving water up from roots and transporting products of photosynthesis from leaves to the rest of the plant.

Initiated in 1912, the vascular plant collection has the longest history of all UBC collections. Serving as the demonstrator in charge of the Herbarium and Botanical Garden, “Botany John” Davidson created both the UBC Herbarium and Botanical Garden, as well as the Vancouver Natural History Society.

While the Herbarium is home to the world’s largest collection of British Columbia vascular plants, it is global in scope. Of the 223,000 vascular plant specimens, 45% are from British Columbia, 25% from the rest of Canada, including the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory. The United States make up about 15% of the collection, with 10% from the five Pacific Coast states (California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska) with Hawaiian plants are especially well represented.

Like many collections around the world, the museum is working hard to develop a database and record images of the collection for online public access and to aid in long-term specimen conservation. More than 160,000 vascular plant records are available on a worldwide, public-access database or with shared public websites such as E-Flora BC, Canadensys, BC Conservation Data Centre, Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, and Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Thanks to funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, BC Knowledge Development Fund, Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Program, and UBC Irving K. Barber BC History Digitization Program, images are available from some of the earliest BC collections from John Davidson and the exquisite specimens of Dr. Gerald E. Straley, director of the Herbarium and curator of vascular plants from 1991 to 1997.

You can search the Herbarium’s vascular plant specimens through our online database.

If you would like to access the Herbarium’s vascular plant collection for research purposes, please contact the Collections Curator and Herbarium Manager, Linda Jennings (see contact information).