The Queensland Herbarium is at Toowong, at the grounds of the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, moved there in 1998. It’s history goes much further back to 1855, not long before Queensland separated from New South Wales as a colony.
It has a plant specimen collection of more than 850,000, representing native and naturalised plant species in Queensland. Access to the specimens can be accessed by bona fide researchers.
A public reference centre is available for use by students and members of the public to identify your own plant specimens. The centre has microscopes, identification guides, and reference specimens.
If trying to identify plants yourself proves difficult, Queensland Herbarium provides an identification and information service. There is a process to follow for collecting plant specimens, and how they are sent or brought in to the herbarium.
The Herbarium’s research provides information needed for conservation assessments, and management of Queensland’s species and ecosystems and helps us to better understand ecological processes and the services provided by ecosystems and wildlife.
Queensland Herbarium hosts a free public seminar held on the second Monday of each month from February to November. The seminar is typically from 12pm to 1pm in the conference room at the herbarium building. The times can vary on occasions, so it is best to check the seminars and events page to make sure.
With the exception of the public seminars, the Herbarium doesn’t appear to be much as a tourist destination on a day to day basis. There are a couple of things on display in the foyer when you enter, but unless you want to identify some of your own plant specimens, there isn’t anything to do.
It isn’t somewhere to pick up a supply of oregano and rosemary. I didn’t know what a herbarium was before I went here, but I did look it up before entering the building. I still asked, but I think it was either an old joke they are tired of, or didn’t see the humour, and was plainly told, “that isn’t what we do here”.
To get there:
The Herbarium is in the Botanical Gardens along Mount Coot-tha Road at Toowong, west of the city of Brisbane. Coming along Milton Rd towards the Western Fwy. After the roundabout, continue ahead in the right lane and exit after about 200m, following the brown sign to the botanic gardens. At the next roundabout, take the exit to the right onto Mount Coot-tha Rd. After 550m, the entry to the botanical gardens and the herbarium is on the left.
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Food: Yes, cafe at botanic gardens
Wheelchair accessible: Yes