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Botanical Identification Service

The Botanical Identification Service (BIS) annual Summer closure will be extended while we move to our new Herbarium at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan. We will be closed to all enquiries from 1 December 2021. We will reopen to postal and email enquiries on 1st February 2022; enquiries received in late November might be subject to delays. For urgent matters (suspected poisonings, urgent police matters) please contact us on the email below and provide a phone number we can contact you on (we will be unavailable 25 December 2021 to 7 January 2022, inclusive).

We will advise our new office and postal address soon. In the interim, specimens sent to our current address will be received and transferred to our new address. Counter services and the Public Reference Collection at our new facility will open 14 February 2022. We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you to our new facility in 2022.

The National Herbarium of New South Wales is closed to the public, as we are digitising the collection and staff are preparing our move to new facilities at the Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan in 2021 (for more information see National Herbarium of New South Wales). Consequently, there are changes to the Botanical Identification Service. We are closed for in-person enquiries and the Public Reference Collection (PRC) is unavailable to visitors.

We continue to provide a comprehensive identification service, with emphasis on wild (native and naturalised) and cultivated plants of New South Wales.

The specimens we receive and retain through the Botanical Identification Service make a significant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the New South Wales flora. They become a permanent record in the herbarium providing invaluable data on the distribution and ecology of our flora. This data contributes to resources such as NSW FloraOnline (PlantNET), Australasian Virtual Herbarium and Atlas of Living Australia.  
The identification of plant specimens can be difficult and at times requires a considerable amount of time and effort. In order to give you accurate identifications we require well-collected specimens with adequate accompanying information. To determine the best way to prepare your specimens for identification please see our printable booklet on collecting plants
Please print, complete and submit this form with your plant specimens: Botanical Identification Service Enquiry Form (PDF)
Before you collect, please ensure you have permission. An appropriate licence is required prior to collecting plant specimens from land managed by National Parks and State Forests in New South Wales. Permission should always be sought from the landowner and/or manager when collecting specimens on private land. The collection of species listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 requires a licence – see Licence to pick or harm a threatened species or ecological community. Please provide permit/licence details with your plant specimens.

If your enquiry relates to:

BIS does not provide:

  • general gardening advice
  • medical advice – however BIS will attempt to identify plants suspected of poisonings
  • definitive identification based on images alone
  • identification of plant cultivars
  • identification of wood and timber
  • advice of plant edibility or toxicity
  • advice on where to purchase plants


Free Identification

For up to 12 specimens (or four hours work) per year for members of the public and Foundation & Friends members, after which commercial rates apply. 
Note: please restrict your enquiry to no more than 12 specimens at any one time

Minimum Charge Mail - $50.00
Plant Identifications Per specimen - $26.00
Consulting Fee $250.00/hour depending on the complexity of the job
Urgent Enquiries Enquiries requiring immediate attention are charged at a rate of 50% more than standard enquiries

Note: Enquirers with new, important or quality specimen(s) that we can add to the Herbarium collection, will have reduced fees.

Download the Botanical Identification Service Enquiry Form (PDF)

Contact Us

Mail: [There may be delays in responding to mail enquiries, see above, please DO NOT send fresh material.]
Botanical Identification Service
National Herbarium of NSW
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney, 2000

Email: [at]

Phone: (02) 4631 5135 or (02) 4631 5136