How to identify specimens

A botanist examining a specimen through a microscope.
Botanists identify specimens and provide information and advice on species.

How to collect specimens

Use our step-by-step guide (PDF, 1.8 MB) on how to collect plants and send botanical specimens.

There is also a quick guide (PDF, 247 KB) on how to collect and send botanical specimens for identification and incorporation into the Queensland Herbarium collections.

Some important points:

  • Before you collect, make sure you have permission from the landowner.
  • You’ll need a permit to collect native plants on public land.
  • If you want to collect lichens, fungi or algae, ask us about their specific collecting requirements.

Botanical specimens have to be flowering/fruiting and of the required size (30cm), and are usually presented pressed and dried in folders of newspaper.

Once prepared post them to us. Please include a submission sheet (PDF, 93 KB) with each specimen.

How to get maps and data

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium provides specimen label information and species distribution maps.

A regional ecosystem dataset is also available.

How to identify plants

You can use our public reference centre to identify your own plants (available for students and members of the public).

Contact us for a list of printed guides, published floras and identification tools. You will require access to a microscope or at least a hand lens to use them successfully.

Online tools for identifying plants

Please note: These sites are aimed at technical users.

Botanical services

The Queensland Herbarium provides plant identification services, information and advice on Queensland’s plant species and vegetation. This can include information on species’ distribution, weediness, toxicity and conservation status.

Plant identification and information services are free to the general public for up to 10 specimens in any one submission.

Plant identification services will now only be available between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday of each week. Specimens will continue to be received as usual with items queued for identification worked on by rostered staff during this time.

Poisons calls and urgent enquiries will be dealt with directly.

If you are a commercial client, contact us for a full list of services and charges. Commercial clients are limited to no more than 20 specimens in any one submission.

Botanical information is used by:

  • governments, landowners and businesses―for planning and management
  • non-government organisations―for conservation and management
  • home owners―to discover what plants are native, poisonous or weedy.