The N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium (NE) at UNE consists of c.100 000 vascular plant specimens, housed in a purpose built facility with excellent stereomicroscopes and specimen imaging equipment.

Herbarium NE was the first university-only herbarium to deliver data to Australia’s Virtual Herbarium and Atlas of Living Australia (c. 83 000 records from 2013). Herbarium NE is internationally recognised, and is able to exchange specimens with, borrow from and lend to other recognised herbaria.

Specimens are housed in two compactus units. All specimens are frozen upon entry for seven days at minus 30 C or colder. The herbarium facility is fumigated with non-residual, low-toxicity insecticide twice a year, and temperature and humidity are carefully controlled by air-conditioning. Insect activity near the herbarium entrance is continuously monitored. All these tactics minimise insect damage to the collection and maximise comfort of the users!

Collections are housed in “open shelf” or open box arrangements. This helps prevent damage that can occur as specimens are being placed into or removed from boxes. This system also allows for easier detection of insect activity, and more thorough coverage during fumigation.

Flowering plant families are arranged according to the APG3 classification. All type material is safely stored in separate enclosed shelving, and clearly identified as type material. ‘Dummy’ type folders are placed in the main collection to alert users of the presence of types in the type collection. Fruit, bark and other items too large to be mounted with on a sheet are kept in separate open boxes on the top shelf of the compactus; items have a separate label.

The collection is protected from fire by a VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detector Alarm) System. In its first year of operation, this system detected smoke from a forest fire over 200 kilometres away.

The herabrium has the full range of resources at its disposal, including excellent facilities for pressing and drying specimens, and laboratories for fixing, preserving and studying material using histological, cytological, phytochemical, macromolecular and electron microscope techniques.