Showpiece dried leaves

The collections of the Department of Botany

The Herbarium

The Department of Botany's collection of dried, pressed, labelled plants, most of which are glued to sheets of paper, comprises around 140,000 objects. The oldest material dates from the end of the 17th century and goes back to the early days of the botanical garden or botanical research in Innsbruck. The collection is continuously updated and expanded and is firmly integrated into the research activities and nationally and internationally networked. Herbaria offer the possibility to check source material and classifications and thus to verify discoveries. They are therefore an indispensable source for diversity research, nature conservation work such as the compilation of Red Lists or systematic work on specific groups. For the description of new species, it is necessary to define a reference to which the new name is linked.

The algae collection

An exceptional collection is the Department's algae collection, which consists of living algae cells cultivated in culture tubes on agar, grown under constant conditions and inoculated at regular intervals. At present, about 1,000 isolates are in stock, which are scientifically tested according to morphological and phylogenetic aspects. Some of the algae have been in culture for almost 100 years. The focus of the collections is on soil algae from alpine regions, making this collection unique in the world. Most of the algae appear green; the fact that some of the tubes show a reddish growth is related to special protective substances which then become colouring. This collection of algae is to be handled quite differently from conventional collections, which can be left dormant for centuries if properly stored. Living organisms need care, as we know from our room plants.

Further collections

Besides these collections, the Department of Botany also has a collection of over 7,000 pollen types of Central European and tropical plants. The focus here is also on alpine plants. The light microscopic preparations and their extensive photographic documentation are accessible to students and scientists. A recent collection of large plant remains consists of vegetative and reproductive plant parts. The vegetative parts include bud scales, leaves, epiderms and woods of native species. In addition, the collection contains over 2,000 seeds of Central European wild plants with the main focus on the Eastern Alps. There are also seeds of 500 cultivated plants, including 400 old cereal varieties from the inner Alpine region of the first half of the 20th century with a focus on wheat, barley, rye and oats. This unique collection of old varieties for Tyrol represents an extraordinarily high scientific value for the conservation of the genetic diversity of cereal crops and a high genetic potential for the cultivation of new varieties. The barley is already included in the gene database of the University of Oxford and is accessible to scientists. A recent wood collection includes 164 species, which are available as alcohol preparations for anatomical studies. It is mainly used for teaching purposes and as a reference for a phytopalaeontological collection of 155 plant fossils from the Carbonic to Quaternary period. Another special feature is the "Tallantire Collection". It consists of about 2,000 specimens of large plant remains from the Quaternary period from various regions of Europe.



Department of Botany
Sternwartestrasse 15
6020 Innsbruck

The collections are accessible for scientific purposes by appointment.

Collections of the Department of Botany

Curator Herbarium

Ass.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Konrad Pagitz
T: +43 512 507 51059


Curator algae culture collection

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Mag. Andreas Holzinger
T: +43 512 507 51028

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