Te Papa’s collection of c. 250 000 dried plant specimens grows by about 2000 a year. In part this is from donations, but principally it is from collections made by Te Papa’s Botany staff and associates.
Some of our fieldtrips target particular species that we are researching, but we also undertake two general collecting trips each year.
1) We participate in the annual four day John Child Bryophyte Workshop, collecting mosses, lichens, and ferns.
2) We have a three or four day field-trip in the Wairarapa, collecting seed plants, ferns, mosses, and liverworts.
The 2010 Wairarapa trip was to the Pongaroa area. I’ll blog about it soon.
Why have so many plant specimens? The aim is to represent the morphological variation and distribution of all plants in New Zealand. Even collectively, New Zealand’s herbaria (dried plant collections) are still a long way from that goal.