The UBD herbarium is an active institute within UBD that is used for both research and educational purposes. Many UBD researchers and students deposit the plants that they study in our herbarium because most journals require that studied plant material has to be available for future reference in officially recognized herbaria. The herbarium is also frequently used for identifying plants collected during ecological and ethnobotanical studies and even the police forensics department uses the herbarium to have their plant identifications confirmed. Another main aim of the herbarium is to document and store the rich plant diversity of Brunei.
Currently there are some 30,000 plant collections, of which ca. 12,000 have been photographed, digitized and databased. Using the UBD herbarium, two final year project students discovered about 400 species of plants new for Brunei by comparing the collections with the Brunei Checklist that was published in 1996. This checklist contains ca. 5000 plant species, which means that our 400 species represent an almost 10% increase in known plants in Brunei, showing that there is still lots to discover in Brunei’s forests.
Because more and more students and researchers are using the UBD herbarium, myself and many student volunteers have worked hard to get as many plants in the collection databased and photographed. Then, in collaboration with staff and students from the Computer Science department in Faculty of Science, we developed an online herbarium website (http://ubdherbarium.fos.ubd.edu.bn/). This means that people can now access the herbarium without having to visit the herbarium itself, making the collections much more useful for its users. The website shows detailed pictures and collection information for about 12,000 plants. We hope that this website will stimulate more use of the herbarium collections and will contribute to exciting new discoveries.
Professor Ferry Slik, Curator of UBD Herbarium