Alcohol or spirit collection
Our spirit collection comprises alcohol-preserved materials (e.g. flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, wood or a combination thereof) of 22.000 plants. For an even larger part as is the case for the dried plant material the alcohol preserved material originates in Africa. Our spirit collection is very large when compared to those of other institutes, and especially for African plants it has no equal. Alcohol preserved material offers opportunities for anatomical and morphological research that have become impossible on dried material. Our facility is not only used by botanists from Wageningen, but is world-wide known as a rich source of material, as is shown by recent publications of e.g. Ronse De Craene (2002) and Tucker (2001, 2002a, 2002b) using our material, which would have been impossible without this alcohol collection.
Wood sample collection
The wood sample collection contains at the moment about 18.000 samples. These samples can be used for anatomical research of wood, but are also important for instance for macromorphological descriptions of bark and wood of trees, shrubs and lianas. A great scientific advantage of the Wageningen wood sample collection is that almost all samples are vouchered, meaning they are affiliated to a herbarium sheet. By this affiliation the identity of the sample can always be checked.
Dry fruit collection
Some plants (mainly tropical trees and lianas) produce fruits that are too large or too unmanageable to mount on a herbarium sheet. These fruits are, after being dried, kept separately in paper bags, which are kept on their turn in separate herbarium boxes, sorted on taxon name. At present these boxes are stored in the main herbarium, grouped per family at the end of the ordinary herbarium of the concerning family.
Our separate seed collection mainly concerns a historic collection, mainly acquired from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT).
These seed collections often do not have an associated herbarium sheet and are of minor value for botany. However, these seeds are often obtained from cultivated or otherwise used plants, and are a record of their use. Most seeds that are collected in our present age are collected with voucher material and are usually stored together with that voucher.
While collection wild plants, of some of these plants also separate DNA samples are made since 1994. The DNA samples consist of some leaf or flower material which is dried quickly without heating by adding some dry silica-gel. These samples are kept to enable molecular research. Most of the DNA samples made so far concern Annonaceae, Begoniaceae, Cruciferae (Brassicaceae), Leguminosae (Fabaceae s.l., especially Caesalpinioideae), Loranthaceae, Malpighiaceae, Olacaceae, Plantaginaceae, Rubiaceae and Violaceae. A list of samples in our herbarium database that are provided with DNA samples can be downloaded as an excel sheet. The conditions to use these silica-gel dried DNA samples, or to use parts of our herbarium material, for DNA research are laid down in our DNA sampling protocol.
In addition the genus Solanum has been sampled extensively in gene banks.
Since 1950 a slide collections was build which includes at the moment about 70.000 slides. This collection is stored separately in a chamber with climate control. The slides that are intensively used for educational purposes have already been digitised.