Our gymnosperm collection comprises of approximately 19,500 specimens, has a strong contemporary element with nearly half of the specimens collected within the last 30 years.
310 type specimens
1,600 carpological specimens
The gymnosperms, which include cycads, ginkgos, and conifers (pines, spruces, firs, cypresses, and larches) are an ancient lineage of plants, dating back at least 300 million years - today they can be found on all continents except Antarctica. The majority are evergreen and include some of the world’s tallest and oldest trees on earth. They are one of the world’s most important resources for timber but also yield non-forest products such as resin and its derivatives, edible seeds and medicines. Globally there are about 615 species of conifers, but sadly 211 (34%) are threatened with extinction.
The Gymnosperm collections have been greatly expanded in recent years, with nearly half being added in the last 30.
The collection has several geographic strengths with collections from the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, New Caledonia (particularly Araucariaceae), temperate South America, Indo-China and the Sino-Himalaya.
Major historical collections include those made by George Forrest, Ernest Wilson, T.T Yu, Wen-pei Fang and Edouard-Ernest Maire.
Our gymnosperm collection is currently being digitised.
- Wen-pei Fang (1899-1983)
- Reginald Farrer, China (1880-1920)
- George Forrest, China, Burma (1873-1932)
- Karl Hartweg, Central America (1812-1871)
- Ernest Henry, China (1837-1919)
- John Jeffrey, North America (1826-1854)
- Edouard-Ernest Maire (1848-1932)
- Hugh McKee, New Caledonia (1912-1995)
- Cyrus Pringle, Central America (1838-1911)
- Carl Purpus, Central America (1851-1941)
- Te-tsun Yu (1908-1986)