National Herbarium of Namibia (WIND)
The National Herbarium, known by its acronym WIND, is a section within the National Botanical Research Institute.
A herbarium is a collection of dried plant specimens arranged according to a specific classification system and stored according to specific regulations.
Plants are named according to the binomial system, i.e. genus and species. This system is governed by the International Code of Binomial Nomenclature (ICBN).
What is the herbarium for?
The purpose of a herbarium is to:
- Provide an identification service to the public
- Information centre
- Education centre
- Reference centre for taxonomists
- Research centre
Other sections and projects of the NBRI, as well as researchers from other institutions/projects, rely on the identification service provided by WIND as the primary source of information.
WIND was established in 1953 and houses important collections such as collections from M.A.N. Müller, R.J. Rodin and W. Giess amongst others.
Namibia has a total of 4,196 indigenous taxa and WIND currently houses a collection of approximately 95,000 specimens. Reference material used for identification includes the Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika, A Checklist of Namibian Indigenous & Naturalised Plants, Flora of southern Africa and Flora Zambesiaca.
WIND has migrated from the Specimen Database (SPMNBD) to Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS) database. The complete collection was encoded as part of the now-ended regional Southern African Botanical Diversity Network (SABONET) project. This has contributed to the easy retrieval of data thus enabling the provision of information in the form of checklists, distribution maps, etc.
Information requests are subject to regulations of our Ministerial Information Policy, which means that the request must undergo a screening process before it can be processed. A prescribed Information Request Form [pdf 68 kb] is available for such requests.
To request an identification
The following procedures should be followed when submitting specimens for identification:
- An admission form is completed by a WIND staff member
- Specimens are decontaminated for 48 hours if they are dry
- Specimens are oven dried (± 60°C) in the case of fresh material, whereafter they are decontaminated
- Identifications are done according to a priority list
- On completion of identifications an identification report is dispatched
- Specimens are then returned to the collector or incorporated into the National Collection.
Incorporation of specimens into the National Collection entails the following:
- Specimen data are computerised and labels are generated
- Specimens are then mounted and filed phylogenetically.
To submit a specimen
It is important to note that:
- Specimens must be in a good condition (as set out in the Collecting Guide [pdf 338 kb])
- Specimens have all the relevant required information (as set out in the Collecting Guide [pdf 338 kb]). This can be recorded on the collecting form [pdf 13 kb].
- A plant collecting permit is required, which can be obtained from the Permit Office of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Permit application forms can be downloaded here:
A Collecting Guide [pdf 338 kb] and Collecting Form [pdf 13 kb] is available for the collection of good herbarium specimens outlining the equipment needed as well as procedures on how to press plant specimens.
The institute is open to visitors Monday to Friday from 08:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 16:30. However, use of this facility is subject to prior arrangement with the curator. Tours and training courses on collecting and mounting procedures are available upon written request.
The institute is fumigated twice a year using dry fumigants as part of a maintenance programme for the national collection.