The New Zealand Virtual Herbarium (NZVH) website enables a single query to access specimen records from 11 participating members of the New Zealand National Herbarium Network. The data are derived from the information associated with specimens at each of the herbaria which have been collected for scientific research, particularly systematics. It is therefore important to note that the data represent the state of specimens in the herbaria, some or many of which may not yet have been updated; furthermore, the herbaria do not all identify their collections according the same botanical treatments.

The data are also retrieved and displayed as they are provided by each herbarium, including uncertainties, data errors and difference in data entry standards. Thus the patterns of the NZVH are indicative rather than absolute, and may not be suitable for applications that require a high level of precision.



Search terms are case insensitive. 'Raoulia' and 'raoulia' will return the same records.

The wildcard is '%'. 'alb%' will return 'alba', 'albosericea', 'albida', 'albovirens', 'albicans' etc. The wildcard can be placed either side of the search term, or both, to make the desired pattern. However, a wild card at the start of the query value will significantly slow a search.

Navigating the search

The query form has drop down lists for querying taxon names.

The query form requires JavaScript, so Internet Explorer users should allow blocked content if prompted.


Taxon name

You can query using scientific names by entering query values into one or all of the genus, species and infraspecific name fields.

It is important to note that different herbaria may not follow the same system of classification, so you may need to query on a synonym in order to retrieve matches from all herbaria.

The following resources provide authoritative information on plant names and synonomy:


If there is any doubt about the identification of a plant, the record should contain one of the following qualifiers:

  • aff. = akin to or bordering
  • cf. = compare with
  • forsan = perhaps
  • near = close to
  • ? = questionable
  • incorrect = incorrect (this is used where the name applied to the specimen is known to be incorrect, but a new positive identification has not yet been made)

To include uncertain identification tick the box under Include Uncertain Identifications.


Three types of output are available: html, csv and maps.

When interpreting these data please note that there are difference between herbaria in the data provided and the data entry standards that are used.

The fields provided in html and csv formats are: Genus, species, infraspecific rank, infraspecific name, Identification Qualifier, Scientific Name, Herbarium Source, Record Suffix (Accession number), Latitude, Longitude, Nearest named place, State (Province), Country, Collection Date, Collector, Additional collectors, Geocode Precision, Coordinate Error Method, Date Last Edited.


Maps will provide an overview of a taxons distribution. However, the maps are based solely upon specimen records that have georeference data available, and will not provide access to all the specimen data available from the herbaria. To query for these data select the html or csv output type.

The following layers can be displayed on the map. 

  • Search Results:The points resulting from the search text entered.
  • Towns and Cities: Major New Zealand towns and cities
  • Lands and Survey Boundaries: The Lands and Survey Provincal Boundaries (1984).
  • Ecological Regions: The Department of Conservation Ecological Regions (edition 1).
  • Ecological Districts: The Department of Conservation Ecological Districts (edition 1).
  • NZ Area Codes: The New Zealand Areas published by Crosby et al. 1976 and 1998.
  • Hi-ways:  Major New Zealand highways.
  • Railways:  New Zealand railways.
  • Coastal features: layer showing rock and sand areas between low and high tide.
  • Hydrological features:  Detailed layer of the New Zealand rivers, streams and lakes.  The number of features displayed varies with the scale of the map.
  • Urban: shows built up areas, including residential areas, buildings, airports, runways and racetrack polygons
  • Vegetation: Shows major areas of native and exotic forest and scrub.

Four display options are available.

  • Species: If more than one species is mapped, each species can be displayed with a different symbol.
  • Herbarium: Specimen records from different herbaria are displayed with a different symbol.
  • Date: Specimen records are displayed with different symbols according to the date they were collected. This is divided into the following ranges:
    • 1990-2009
    • 1960-1989
    • 1900-1959
    • Before 1900
    • Not collection date available
  • Single symbol: All specimen records are displayed with the same symbol.

HTML table

Use the navigation buttons above table header to move through the results pages. The scroll bar at the bottom of the table allows you to view the fields that don't fit within the table window.

By default, your query results will be ordered by herbarium and accession number. The data can be sorted by clicking on the column header. Clicking on the same column header again will change between ascending and descending sorting.

Note that, because some accession numbers include letters, the accession numbers are treated as text and can not be ordered numerically.


This output type will create a comma delimited text file that can be opened with most text/document editor or spreasheets. The file can be saved or opened directly.