Herbaria of the world are a source of vast information on plant diversity and genetic resources. Over 2639 herbaria world over representing 147 countries approximately hold 280 million specimens. India stands authenticated thirteenth in position among the herbaria of the world with the representation of over 3.5 million specimens. The country has 45 recognized herbaria.

Herbaria are repositories of preserved plant collections, usually in the form of preserved and dried specimens mounted on a sheet of paper. It is a great filing system for information and documentation of plants, both primary in the form of actual specimens of the species and secondary in the form of published data, significant notes on distribution, phenology, and economic uses. The plant specimens themselves function as vouchers for identification and a source of materials for systematic work.

Calicut University Herbarium (CALI) established in 1968 stands first in terms of its holdings among university herbaria in India. The herbarium is an internationally recognized one with over one lakh collections of vascular plants from India. Collections from other countries are also represented through exchange programmes. The herbarium holds a complete set of specimens from (1) Silent Valley National Park, (2) Agasthymala Biosphere Reserve (3) Pteridophytes of South India, (4) Bryophytes of Kerala, (5) Complete set of voucher specimens used for the Interpretation of van Rheede’s Hortus Malabaricus, (6) Apart from the general collections, it also holds vocher specimens of the revisionary studies of the families such as Araceae, Asteraceae, Commelinaceae, Cyperaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Gentianaceae, Gesneriaceae, Malvaceae, Musaceae, Poaceae, Podostemaceae, Zingiberaceae etc. The Herbarium holds 63 type collections and a number of type photographs and cibachromes useful for taxonomic research.

The herbarium has now digitized over 60,000 specimens and each provided with barcodes. They can now be retrieved from anywhere in the world. The whole herbarium is now rearranged according to the latest system of classification and placed in newly constructed compactors in two air-conditioned rooms. Every year thousands of specimens come to the herbarium as a part of the ongoing research programmes in Angiosperm Taxonomy, and as voucher specimens from other disciplines. Dis-infestation (fumigation) of specimens is done regularly in the herbarium.

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The details of the herbarium can be had by searching with the herbarium code (CALI) at


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Department of Botany
University of Calicut
Thenhipallam PO
Malappuram - 673635
Phone : (0494) - 2407406 / 407
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