Founded in 1902 in Amani, Tanzania, the East African Herbarium (EA) maintains the largest botanical collection in tropical Africa. It now holds over 1,000,000 plant and fungal specimens. Collections of roots, rhizomes, woods, fruits and seeds too large for standard herbarium sheets are also maintained. EA is a major regional as well as national botanical reference centre. Research focuses primarily on the taxonomy, distribution, use and conservation of East African plants. Investigations have generally been project based, the Indigenous Food Plants Programme and the Coastal Forest Survey being examples. Field surveys have contributed to the Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA) and more specialized floras such as those for Kakamega Forest, Coastal forests, Afro- Alpine ecosystems, and moist and dryland hilltops as well as to publications in peer reviewed journals. Digitization of EA collections is ongoing. Type specimens (>4500), endemics (>1100), rare and CITES listed species have already been digitized. Information for them is already online. The major library collection housed in the herbarium is an indispensable research source and the Herbarium's plant identification service is extensively used by local and international researchers as well as by interested members of the public. In 1992, plant Ex Situ and In Situ Conservation programmes were established for the express purpose of ensuring the survival and proliferation of threatened flora. Activities include collection and maintenance of seed accessions for long term storage and propagation. Some of the rare plants, especially succulents and orchids, are preserved at the Nairobi Botanic Garden. The EA herbarium offers training courses in plant conservation, herbarium techniques, and bioinformatics. In addition, over 1500 biology students from universities visit the herbarium for plant taxonomy and conservation talks. Collaboration with other local and international research/academic institutions is welcome.
Contacts: Dr. Itambo Malombe, firstname.lastname@example.org