The main difference between herbarium and botanical garden is that a botanical garden is a place created to preserve and maintain living plant collections of different species, while herbarium is a place built to preserve and maintain the dried and well-pressed plants specimens as a collection.
A botanical garden is a place that grows and maintains only living plant collections of different varieties. Modern botanical gardens are quite large, and we can find herbariums, greenhouses, research laboratories, and even libraries inside them. Herbariums are usually located inside botanical gardens. Apart from dried and well-pressed plant specimens, they also possess wood materials, drawings, photographs, micro slides, etc.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Herbarium
– Definition, Features
2. What is Botanical Garden
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Herbarium and Botanical Garden
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Herbarium and Botanical Garden
– Comparison of Key Differences
Herbarium, Botanical Garden
What is a Herbarium
A herbarium is an establishment usually located inside a botanical garden. In addition, it is also possible to find herbariums inside universities. Herbariums house collections of dried and pressed plant specimens and data associated with them. Researchers and students can use this data for further scientific studies and research purposes. Specimens preserved in a herbarium can be used as reference material in order to describe plant taxa.
Plant specimens found inside herbarium not only include parts of plants but also plants as a whole. Generally, herbarium staff mounts dried plants or the parts of plants on a sheet of paper that is called ‘exsiccatae.’ However, based on the material, they also use alternative methods of preservation, such as storing them in boxes or keeping in alcohol or other preservatives.
What is a Botanical Garden
A botanical garden is a place built to preserve and maintain a living collection of plants. A botanical garden is usually maintained under scientific management for research and education purposes. Therefore, inside a botanical garden, it is possible to find laboratories, libraries, herbaria, and even museums as they are vital to its operations.
Due to different reasons such as location, extent, personnel, fund availability, and the terms of its charter, every botanical garden naturally develops special fields of interest that vary from each other. They may involve an herbarium, greenhouses, arboretums, test grounds, and other establishments like museums. In addition to scientific staff, botanical gardens also employ plant-growing staff and publication staff. In fact, publication staff plays a vital role as one of the key modes of expression of a botanical garden.
Similarities Between Herbarium and Botanical Garden
- Both herbariums and botanical gardens focus on plant preservation. A herbarium preserves plants in their dried form, while a botanical garden preserves a live collection of plants.
- Herbarium and the botanical garden are both significant for plant-based research and studying purposes.
Difference Between Herbarium and Botanical Garden
A botanical garden is a place created to preserve and maintain living plant collections of different species, while a herbarium is a place built to preserve and maintain the dried and well-pressed plants specimens as a collection.
Type of Plants
A herbarium preserves plants in their dried form, while a botanical garden preserves a live collection of plants.
Classification of Plants
In a botanical garden, plants are classified into groups such as medicinal plants, economic plants, cultivated ornamental plants, industrial plants, etc. However, in a herbarium, herbarium staff arranges plant materials according to a particular system of classification.
Simply put, the main difference between herbarium and botanical garden is that a herbarium works towards the preservation of the dries plants and plant materials for further education and research purposes, whereas botanical gardens focus on the preservation of a collection of live plants.
1. “Naturalis Biodiversity Center – Siebold Collection – Herbarium book” By P. F. Siebold – Sieboldcollectie Naturalis, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Botanical Garden of Peradeniya 03” By Bernard Gagnon – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia