23 Sep 2019

New Zealand herbarium has the world's largest collection of subantarctic plants

7:06 am on 23 September 2019

A herbarium in Lincoln is officially home to the world's largest collection of subantarctic plant specimens, after receiving an extra 9000 preserved plants from the University of Canterbury.

Australian biosecurity destroyed a collection of New Zealand lichen specimens destined for the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra.

The Allan Herbarium has more than 640,000 specimens of mosses, lichens, liverworts and ferns and more. Photo: 123RF

The mosses, lichens, liverworts and ferns will join more than 640,000 other specimens at the Allan Herbarium, run by Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research.

Herbarium manager Ines Schonberger said the new batch of dried plants include "a lot of valuable and historic foreign material", including some plants dating back to the 1800s.

She said it will be of great value to international researchers, who are able to borrow species from the herbarium to study.

The plants had to be moved as they couldn't be kept at the university's new Ernest Rutherford facility.

Once the new plants have gone through a biosecurity assessment and been put into the storage at the herbarium, they'll still be available to the university if needed.