Regulations for the Use of the Real Jardín Botánico-CSIC Herbarium

The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid Herbarium is a restricted-use public collection. Under the regulations governing the management of the CSIC's collections, which were passed by its governing board on 25 July 1991, the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid Herbarium is the property of the CSIC and is considered a national asset.

It comprises:

  • The cryptogamia and phanerogamia collections recorded in the herbarium.
  • Material acquired by the RJB through donations, exchanges, bequests and transfers, and that obtained by collecting and purchase with RJB funds.
  • Material contributed by RJB staff which was obtained in the course of, or as a consequence of, their work for the RJB.
  • The RJB may also act as a depositary and custodian of collections when the relevant agreement is signed with the owner of the collection.

Permits and authorisations:

  • To consult the herbarium it will be necessary to present a duly completed visitor's card for the centre. This must clearly show that a curator's authorisation has been obtained. Visitors' cards may be applied for in reception. The card must state the purpose of the visit.
  • All visitors are asked to sign the visitors' book. This will be offered to them by the herbarium staff. The entry in the visitors' book will include the user's details, the date and the materials consulted.
  • For visits lasting more than three days, or when special services are used (microscopy, photography, very extensive consultation, computer printouts, etc.) it is advisable to give at least a week's advance notice.
  • Any specimens brought in for study in the herbarium must be frozen for 48 hours on site at the RJB to avoid infections. It will be necessary to contact a curator in advance, for this purpose.
  • For the same reason, no sheets may be removed from the herbarium.


Opening hours and General Rules

  • The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid's Herbarium is open to the public Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., twelve months a year. Outside these hours work can only be done with the express permission of a curator.
  • No smoking, drinking or eating is allowed on the herbarium's premises.

Rules for the use of the herbarium

  • The sheets in the general herbarium are available for open access, and may be taken off of the shelves. However, they should be returned to the herbarium staff rather than put back on the shelves.
  • In the case of the historical herbarium and separate collections it will be necessary to ask for assistance from herbarium staff in order to consult the specimens.
  • Under no circumstances may sheets be moved from one folder to another. A member of herbarium staff should be notified if any anomalies are noticed.
  • Specialists are kindly asked to identify the sheets studied using revision labels. Please write the taxon name, the researcher's name, date and the institution of origin on the label clearly using permanent ink. Sheets reviewed in this way are to be handed to the person in charge.
  • If the sheet includes a mixture of materials, write a number or letter at the foot of each specimen, and the same number or letter on the relevant revision label so as to enable unambiguous identification.
  • Do not detach any specimens or fragments from the sheet. Making marks or writing notes on the sheets or on the labels on them is also strictly prohibited.
  • Dissection of specimens in the general herbarium is only permitted when it is essential for their identification and prior authorisation must be obtained. All dissected fragments, including micro-preparations, are to be placed in the envelope that is stuck to the sheet. Dissection is prohibited in the case of sheets containing historical specimens or with only a single type specimen.
  • Taking samples for palynology, anatomy, DNA, phytochemical analyses, etc. or any other material implying the total or partial destruction of the herbarium specimens is not permitted without the written authorisation of a curator. If these destructive tests are authorised the results should be attached to the sheet. (See the Rules on destructive sampling).
  • We would be grateful if you would send us a copy of any publications based on material in the MA herbarium.

Loans from the Herbarium

  • The RJB Herbarium is available to all bona fide researchers who are suitably qualified to study its collections and belong to specific work programmes.
  • The RJB does not normally lend type specimens, historical materials or any delicate material, although it does send photographs of sheets of this kind.
  • Specimens may only be loaned to other recognised botanical institutions. Under no circumstances may they be loaned to private individuals. The RJB reserves the right not to agree to a loan request when, in the curator's opinion, the applicant institution is not able to give the necessary guarantees.
  • Loan requests must be sent in writing by the curator or director of the institution concerned, who shall be responsible for the safekeeping and return of the material. The loan application must state the name of the taxonomist or other specialist due to use the specimen, and the scope and purpose of the intended work.
  • Wherever possible, specimens requested for loan should be listed individually, specifying the country of origin, name of the collector, collection number, etc. The curator may, at his/her discretion, divide the loan and send the specimens in batches when the material requested is excessively bulky. Loans to localities near the herbarium will also be restricted.
  • Specimens are normally loaned for a maximum period of six months. However, we would be grateful if they could be returned as soon as possible.  Specimens should be properly packed before sending them, so as to avoid damage or deterioration during transport. If, due to the nature of the work, it is necessary to study specimens for a longer period, this will require the express authorisation of the curator. Application for an extension to the loan must be applied for before the loan expires. In any event, the RJB reserves the right to request the return of the loaned material whenever it sees fit.
  • Loaned specimens may not be moved from the centre or institution that received them without express authorisation.
  • The same rules apply to all handling of loaned sheets as apply at the MA herbarium's premises.
  • The loan of specimens belonging to taxonomic groups or geographical areas which are currently being studied by RJB researchers will be restricted. However, we will put the applicant in touch with the researcher concerned so that they can try to reach an agreement on cooperation.

Publications based on materials from the MA Herbarium
A considerable amount of collection, nomenclature, taxonomy and morphology work is associated with the herbarium's collections. When researchers access a collection they also receive a multitude of information produced by other researchers who have worked on it before them and whose efforts are often eclipsed. For this reason, we feel it is necessary for institutions and researchers to make an effort at cooperation in order to recognise the work of all. Therefore, publications based on MA material must include:

  • A list of all the MA collections used, preferably with the MA number and the name and number of the collector..
  • In the case of publications based on MA data or specimens, where they are used without adding new information (reviews, georeferencing, etc.) the curator should be consulted to establish the form of recognition that should be given in the publication.
  • In the case of publications relating to MA specimens which are being used, collected, described, identified, iconographed or studied by current RJB researchers, it will be necessary to reach an agreement on joint authorship, depending on the number of specimens used and the nature of the publication.
  • In the case of publications based on data generated using the MA herbarium, the curator should be consulted to establish the form of recognition that is to be given in the publication.

General rules for destructive sampling
The Real Jardín Botánico-CSIC's collections are kept with a view to enabling their use in scientific research in way that is compatible with their conservation. Therefore, while it is our intention to facilitate their use in research to the fullest possible extent, decisions regarding destructive sampling of specimens will be made on a case by case basis.
No material may be separated from the original specimen without the prior written consent of the curator responsible for the collection. This permission, which is also to be signed by the researcher making the application, entails the researcher's making the following commitments, in addition to those mentioned above in the publications section:

  1. Leaves, pollen, spores, etc. may only be taken if the available material is sufficient and subsequent studies will not be compromised by the removal of this material. Extreme care must be taken not to damage the specimen more than is strictly necessary.
  2. No material may be taken from type specimens or from those taxons which are represented in the herbarium by less than 3 specimens.
  3. Each sample must be accompanied by a label indicating the material used, the nature of the study, the scientific name accepted by the researcher, his or her name and that of the centre at which he or she is working, and the date. The MA herbarium must be cited in any resulting publications and copy of the publication must be sent to it.
  4. In general, material may not be used for a second study of the same type as a previous one (pollen for S.E.M, material for DNA analysis, etc.). Exceptions may be considered when the specimen includes additional material for specific purposes, in particular, for DNA analysis.
  5. Depending on the purpose of the material taken, the researcher must return the following items to the Real Jardín Botánico-CSIC Herbarium: a permanent microscopic preparation of the pollen, leaf, spores or other material studied; S.E.M. photographs; and aliquot of the extracted DNA, etc. This material will be incorporated in the MA Herbarium where it will be available to future studies. The relevant cross references will be made between the original specimen and materials produced by destructive studies.
  6. All applications to extract DNA from a herbarium specimen must be accompanied by the extraction protocol, which must always state the estimated amount of material due to be removed from the sheet. The request will be reviewed by the curator in charge of the collection along with an RJB specialist in molecular techniques. The MA Herbarium must be notified of the results of this analysis (positive or negative) in writing. Specimens must be labelled to indicate that they have been used for this type of analysis (see point 3). The Accession number in GenBank or in any other relevant database must be included or sent later. An aliquot of the extracted DNA must be sent to the MA Herbarium. These samples must be stored in an appropriate way and made available to future studies.
  7. The MA Herbarium does not keep records of the treatments the specimens it keeps have been subjected to, so cannot guarantee that the material sent is suitable for the purpose for which it has been requested.
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC. Plaza de Murillo, 2. Madrid E-28014 (ESPAÑA). Tel. +34 91 4203017. FAX: +34 91 4200157
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