Our country has 25 botanical gardens and arboreta, 25 gems, each with its own collection of plants. All these gardens together hold no less than 83 000 plants belonging to 25 000 different species and varieties, well documented, and therefore invaluable for research, horticulture, garden tourism and the preservation of plant species for the future. Bringing these collections together on one clear, user-friendly platform is the purpose of botanicalcollections.be.
Gardens are often asked whether a certain plant species is present in their collection or not. As of today, every plant lover can find out where his favourite plant grows or browse through the collections with just a few clicks. For example, are you curious to know where you can admire giant sequoias in our country? Or the rare Wollemia nobilis? Enter a plant name on botanicalcollections.be and see in which botanical garden or arboretum you can find it. Depending on the garden and the size of the garden or arboretum, details of where exactly the plant can be found in the garden in question will also be available. For many plants, images are also available.
Besides information and location of living plants, botanicalcollections.be also contains images and label data of nearly 3 million herbarium specimens, a work in progress that also aims to bring together the country's various herbaria on one platform. Herbaria are collections of dried plants for scientific research. Botanicalcollections.be allows scientists from all over the world to view the study material online.
Bringing all data from several botanical gardens and arboreta of a country together on one portal, is a first in the world. V.B.T.A., The Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta of our country is therefore proud of this realisation, which came about with the support of the FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen) within the project DiSSCo-Flanders (Distributed System of Scientific Collections). This project is part of the international trend to make important and well-documented data available to anyone who can benefit from them.
This new platform is the successor to the PLANTCOL platform that saw the light of day in 2003, when nine V.B.T.A. members made their database of living plants accessible via one website.