The Botanical Collection is unique and priceless, both in its objective and its breadth and history.
It is a collection of plants used by humans. It comprises the plants themselves as well as the various stages of processing, and emphasizes the wide diversity of plants with respect both to quality parameters and uses. Two bequests formed the basis of the collection:
- the algae collection of the former Hamburg mayor and amateur scientist Niclaus Binder (1870)
- and the carpological collection of the doctor and botanist Heinrich Wilhelm Buek (1879).
The latter included fruits and seeds from approximately 10,000 plant species from all over the world and 2,700 plant genera. In the years following the founding of the Museum, its main focus was on economic plants from overseas. The original collection was expanded, often thanks to bequests from individuals or businesses, and other collections were incorporated. The Botanical Museum’s annual reports,(1) published since 1883, meticulously list all new acquisitions.
Today the Botanical Collection comprises approximately 60,000 objects. It includes:
- the Carpological Collection—Collectio Fructuum Hamburgense—(e.g., the Bueck and Beyle collections) as a scientific reference and specimen collection (approximately 30,000 specimens)
- the display collection, exclusively for purposes of exhibition
- the teaching collection for educational purposes
- medicinal plant collections
- the mushroom collection
- the wood collection
- specimen collections for product research and seed analysis
(1) Jahrbuch der wissenschaftlichen Anstalten zu Hamburg 1983 (Hamburg 1984) ff