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Botanical and horticultural library

Botanical and horticultural library

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A botanical and horticultural library is a library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 specializing in the preservation and collection of literature and materials about plants. The mission of many botanical and horticultural libraries is to make accessible and available to those who use it the information on this topic.

Botanical and horticultural libraries can be found in arboretums, botanical gardens, research institutions, horticultural societies, conservatories, governmental offices, colleges, and universities as part of a larger university library.

Typical users include members of various public gardens, students of the life sciences, researchers, and scholars.


The collections within these types of libraries cover such topics as flowers, grasses, trees, fungi, aquatic plants, weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas. More specifically, the term is often used to...

s, algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

, pests, and fertilizers. The typical collection is composed of books, periodicals, and photo collections. The types of materials depend on the types of patrons. A public botanical garden library may contain books for children, nursery catalogs, seed catalogs, popular how-to publications, movies, and various other media resources. At an academic library, there may be such archived materials, such as historical letters, autographs of famous botanists, plant lists, field notes, and reports of botanic expeditions. Much of the collection in academic botanical and horticultural libraries includes work on the identification of particular plants. Some libraries contain live specimens and preserved samples of plants, referred to as an herbarium
In botany, a herbarium – sometimes known by the Anglicized term herbar – is a collection of preserved plant specimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts: these will usually be in a dried form, mounted on a sheet, but depending upon the material may also be kept in...


Libraries may also hold highly specialized collections of certain species. For example, The Orchid Library of Oakes Ames is devoted exclusively to orchids. The collection is composed of more than 5,000 journals and books devoted to the classification and identification of orchid species around the world.

Patron types

Typical users include: members of various botanic gardens; students of the life sciences including botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

, agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, herbology, turf grass management; researchers; and scholars.

External links of notable examples

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