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Scientific and historical values of over 100-year-old Flora Museum

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With a history of over 100 years, the Flora Museum under the Institute of Tropical Biology (ITB) under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) has great scientific and historical significance. The museum was established and developed on the foundation of a collection by French botanists. This collection is national property, including outstanding flora samples not only from Vietnam, but also different countries in the region. The museum serves scientists, postgraduates, students and all people who visit and study plants.

Right from its establishment, the museum was managed by the Institute of Indochina Science. From 1954, it was managed by the Sai Gon Institute of Agricultural Studies. Since 1993, ITB - VAST was assigned to directly manage, maintain and develop this property.

Now, the museum is storing more than 80,000 specimens, including 300 typical ones, of more than 10,000 types of flora gathered from 1961 to 1954 on the Indochinese Peninsula by French botanists including Thorel, Harmand, Pierre, Bon (in the late 19th century) and Poilane, Pételot, Chevalier, Eberhardt (in the 20th century). This collection was also the foundation for the compilation of the book entitled “Flore Générale de l'Indochine”. ITB – VAST also supplements the museum with 200 to 300 specimens through projects and exchanges between ITB and partners in Vietnam and in foreign countries.

Along with its flora collection, the museum also preserves more than 2,000 special books. Many of the books have scientific and historical value, showing people’s understanding about plants in newly approached periods such as Horti rarorium plantarum (Comelino J. 1697), Classes plantarum (Linné C.A. 1738), and Flora cochinchinensis (Loureiro 1790).

The museum is promoting research cooperation, exchanging science and specimens with domestic and international partners such as South Carolina University (the US), Kyushu and Kyoto universities (Japan), Paris Natural Museum (France), Praha Flora Garden (Czech Republic), and Reading University (UK). With the annual support of VAST, the museum gradually completes its data base and digitalizes specimens to connect and share global information through online Brahms programme of Oxford University at “http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/vnm”. Each year, the museum welcomes hundreds of arrivals, mainly  domestic and international botanists, graduates and students to visit and study.

Along with its flora collection, the museum also preserves more than 2,000 special books. Many of the books have scientific and historical value, showing people’s understanding about plants in newly approached periods such as Horti rarorium plantarum (Comelino J. 1697), Classes plantarum (Linné C.A. 1738), and Flora cochinchinensis (Loureiro 1790).

The museum is promoting research cooperation, exchanging science and specimens with domestic and international partners such as South Carolina University (the US), Kyushu and Kyoto universities (Japan), Paris Natural Museum (France), Praha Flora Garden (Czech Republic), and Reading University (UK). With the annual support of VAST, the museum gradually completes its data base and digitalizes specimens to connect and share global information through online Brahms programme of Oxford University at “http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/vnm”. Each year, the museum welcomes hundreds of arrivals, mainly  domestic and international botanists, graduates and students to visit and study.

Several photos of the museum:


Flora specimens kept and preserved in the museum


Maintaining and arranging flora specimens in the museum


Taking photos and digitalizing flora specimens in the museum


Library of special book of the museum

Translated by Tuyet Nhung

Link to Vietnamese Version

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