The dried plant collection consists of about 800.000 sheets stored in alphabetical order for species within genera, genera within families, where families are alphabetically ordered in the divisions Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, ferns and fern allies, mosses and lichens, and Fungi. The majority of the samples originates from Africa. Many of our collections from tropical Africa were gathered in the past 50 years by our own staff, collecting material in almost all African countries. The most important countries in which material was collected are Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar. In addition to these own collections, a fair amount of material was obtained by exchange with other herbaria that had material from Africa available.
Collectors which have contributed substantially to our collection, and of which the first set is usually available in Wageningen, are: H.J. Beentje, W. Beijerinck, J. Bokdam, B.K. Boom, J.J. Bos, F.J. Breteler, J. de Bruijn, C. Geerling, E.M.C. Groenendijk, J.W.A. Jansen, P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jeswiet, C.C.H. Jongkind, J. de Koning, A.J.M. Leeuwenberg, L.J.G. van der Maesen, F.I. van Nek, J.M. Reitsma, R.R. Schippers, M.S.M. Sosef, L.A. Springer, P. Vermeulen, C. Versteegh, A.G. Voorhoeve, J.J. Wieringa, J.J.F.E. de Wilde, W.J.J.O. de Wilde (only African collections, Azian collections are kept in Leiden H.C.D. de Wit, P. Wit and A.P.M. van der Zon. The Wageningen herbarium includes important duplicate sets of, among others, J.G. Adam, B. Balansa, J.W. Baldwin jr., P.E. Boissier, E. Bourgeau, A. Chevalier, A. Dietrich, K. Dinter, J.V.G. do P. Espirito Santo, T. von Heldreich, R.F. Hohenacker, E. Huet du Pavillon, H. Humbert, T.-J. Klaine, K.G.T. Kotschy, G.M.P.C. Le Testu, R. Letouzey, A.M. Louis, J.K. Morton, F.W. Noë, T.G. Orphanides, C. Pinard, A.G.H. Rudatis, G.H.W. Schimper, F.R.R. Schlechter, M. Schlechter, A.F. Stolz, C.M. Wilks and G.A. Zenker. Some of these duplicate collections, particularly those from German collectors collected around 1900, were acquired in 1984 when the collections of African higher plants from Groningen (GRO) were transferred to Wageningen. An important collection kept at Wageningen is a part of the Clifford Herbarium (1685-1760), which is kept as a separate collection.
Wageningen collectors have always been 'broad' collectors, resulting in nearly all higher plant families being well represented in the herbarium. These collectors of course tend to put a little more effort into collecting plants of their own speciality or that of their colleagues. This has resulted in some families or genera being relatively over-represented in the Wageningen herbarium. This concerns mainly Apocynaceae, Begoniaceae, Combretaceae, Connaraceae, Dichapetalaceae, Dracaena, Leguminosae, Loganiaceae (s.l. in old classifications), Rinorea and Rubus. Because the older generations of Wageningen collectors usually were forestry engineers, they frequently gave some special attention to trees. Therefore trees, even the forest giants, are fairly well represented in our collection, while they are often extremely underrepresented in other herbaria due to the great difficulties to obtain the material.Since the Wageningen University originally is the agricultural university of The Netherlands, another emphasis in the collection is found by cultivated plants, both food plants and ornamentals.