Repatriation of Herbarium Data for Northeast Brazil

The information formerly available through the Northeastern Brazilian Repatriation Project site can now be found through Kew's Herbarium Catalogue, where data and images of type specimens from Latin America are also being accumulated through the LAPI programme.

Families available

Families for which data on Northeastern Brazilian data have been digitized and made available are as follows:

  • Araceae
  • Bromeliaceae
  • Cactaceae
  • Compositae
  • Cyperaceae
  • Eriocaulaceae
  • Leguminosae
  • Loranthaceae
  • Passifloraceae
  • Poaceae (Gramineae)
  • Polygalaceae
  • Orchidaceae
  • Myrtaceae
  • Rubiaceae
  • Verbenaceae
  • Viscaceae

To find these records within the Herbarium Catalogue you will need to make an advanced search for the relevant family within Brazil, and then refine your query as necessary.

Once you have completed a search you will be able to use the download facilities that appear at the top right of the results screen to obtain a spreadsheet with more details.

Project background

For historical reasons, many important South American plant specimens, and the data associated with them, are not easily accessible to researchers in the countries from which they were taken.

To facilitate access to these data and specimens, approximately 50% of our collections from Northeastern Brazil have been catalogued, and the information deposited in three local herbaria (IPA, CEPEC and HUEFS). These data are also available on the Internet through an online database.

By databasing material and repatriating data and images of type specimens to Northeastern Brazil, we are building capacity for biodiversity research at a local level and contributing significantly to the identification of areas of high species diversity and endemism - essential for conservation planning.

Digitization of specimens and data was undertaken by Brazilian Repatriation Officers who, whilst completing their one-year placements at Kew, used the opportunity to develop their own specific taxonomic research.

Scanning Procedure

A significant development in this project was the change from the old imaging method, which produced high-quality photographic prints known as cibachromes, to the use of a digital scanner. This enabled us to store the images electronically, and eventually to use them in the online database. The flat-bed scanners we are using have a framework specially developed by Andrew McRobb (Information Services Department). This inverts the scanner and allows the herbarium specimens to be scanned without turning them over, thus minimizing damage to the collections.


Work focused on the most biodiverse and economically important families in the region, not only reflecting our Brazilian partners' conservation priorities but also matching our principal areas of expertise within Kew. Families catalogued included the economically and ecologically important Compositae (the daisy family) and the Leguminosae (the pea family).

Partnerships & Funding

Our partners in this project include the Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau (CEPEC), the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (HUEFS) and the Instituto Pernambucano de Pesquisas Agropecuárias (IPA). Such institutes have a high concentration of plant taxonomists (one of our main user groups), who provide us with fundamental feedback on the quality and usefulness of the information and images repatriated.

This project is part of the Biodiversity Subprogramme of the Plantas do Nordeste Project (PNE), a bilateral collaboration between RBG Kew and the Associação Plantas do Nordeste.

The Northeastern Brazil Repatriation of Herbarium Data was a three year project funded by British American Tobacco, continuing an initial pilot project funded by the UK Government's Darwin Initiative.

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