Herbarium collections

The herbarium of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is situated in the Campus of "Plaine". Its acronym according to the Index Herbarium is BRLU. Our herbarium has original collections that are complementary to the Herbarium of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium, which lies just outside Brussels. BRLU is situated near the Centre of Brussels (Ixelles) and is easily accessible by public transport.

Most of the collection consists of dried plants mounted on herbarium sheets, but it also comprises special collections preserved in alcohol (for delicate flowers of specimens) and a collection of dried samples in silica-gel (for DNA extraction).


Dry herbarium

The dried plant collection consists of more than 240,000 sheets stored by country or region. In each country, collections are in alphabetical order for species within genera, genera within families, and families within the divisions of Angiosperms, Gymnosperms and ferns. It includes 757  type specimens. All types in our collection have been entered in our herbarium database and a digitalised image is available on Aluka.

The majority of the samples originates from Africa and was gathered by our own staff. The best represented countries in the collection are Congo (RDC) (150,000 sheets), Equatorial Guinea (15,449 sheets), Central African Republic (3,600 sheets), Congo Brazzaville (9,180 sheets), São Tomé and Príncipe (3,203 sheets), Cameroon (18,053 sheets) and Gabon (22,466 sheets).

Collectors which have contributed substantially to our collection, are: Paul Duvigneaud, Robert Desenfans, Jacqueline Plancke, Lucien Hauman, Jozef Frans Van den Brande, Elise Hoffmann, Frédéric Léon Hendrickx, Jean-Jacques Symoens, Jean Lejoly, Ingrid Parmentier, Bonaventure Sonké, Bruno Senterre, Tariq Stévart, Vincent Droissart, Olivier Lachenaud, Muriel Simo, Gilles Dauby, Nicolas Labrière, Nicolas Texier, Vincent Deblauwe, Pierre Meerts, Serge Kouob and Ehoarn Bidault.


Alcohol or spirit collection

Our spirit collection comprises alcohol-preserved materials (flowers and whole plants) of 8,000 plants; most of them are orchids from Cameroon, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Equatorial Guinea.


Dried samples in silica-gel

The dried samples in silica-gel consist of leaf and cambium material which is dried with silica-gel at ambient temperature. These samples are kept to enable DNA extraction. They are available for molecular phylogeny and others molecular-based research like phylogeography (in collaboration with the Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology Unit). Most of the dried samples in silica-gel made so far concern Orchidaceae, and several tree species from the Guineo-Congolese rainforest.


Slide collection

Since 1976 a slide collections was build which includes at the moment about 10,000 slides from Central Africa (Jean Lejoly).



The past ten years we have been working on a Ms ACCESS. Herbarium database. This database includes more than 79,959 specimens. Most digitised collections concern plants from Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé and Principe, Cameroon and Gabon.


Mangrove Reference Herbarium and Database

In a collaboration with the herbarium of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BRVU), and the National Botanical Garden of Belgium, the Herbarium of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (BRLU) has started to host a Mangrove Reference Herbarium that is linked to an online database hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and includes a fact sheet with distribution data of all true mangrove species in the framework of mangrove biogeography (responsible: Farid Dahdouh-Guebas). For more information of this research click here.