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Department of Plant Sciences

The unique concentration of plant sciences collections and institutions in Cambridge makes this a truly exciting place to work and study. We benefit from the presence of two exceptional collections – the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Cambridge University Herbarium. In addition, the Department has tight associations with the Sainsbury Laboratory, an independently funded research institution with a focus on plant cell and developmental biology.


Algal Innovation Centre 

The Agal Innovation Centre is a Centre for Excellence with test and scale-up facilities, connecting the entire pipeline of algal research from strain selection and improvement, through harvesting and processing, to development of underpinning technology and engineering solutions. Find out more about the Algal Innovation Centre.


Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden's living collection comprises some 14,000 accessions and more than 8,000 plant species. This collection represents a remarkable range of living plant diversity and supports world-class education, learning and research. During the 20th century the collection supported seminal work in plant genetics, plant physiology and plant pathology. Today the collection is used extensively by researchers in the Department as well as visiting researchers from all over the world. Find out more about the Botanic Garden.


Cory and Herbarium Library

Housed at the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Cory and Herbarium Library includes horticultural reference works, floras by geographical area, 19th-century works on taxonomy and systematics and serials related to taxonomy and horticulture. It also holds the Cory Collection, which includes works on practical horticulture, botanical illustration and landscape design and rare, valuable early botanical and horticultural works dating back to the 16th century. Also held in the library is the Simpson Collection of UK-focused botanical works, which includes books collected by botanist Norman Douglas Simpson. Find out more about the collections held in the Cory and Herbarium Library.


Crop Science Centre

The Crop Science Centre is a partnership between the University of Cambridge and NIAB and is a unique translational research operation in crop sciences. The new Centre benefits from the diverse skills and expertise of the University and NIAB, providing an environment for research excellence in crops, with the drive and expertise for scientific translation to address real-world problems. Find out more about the Crop Science Centre.


Downing Site

The Department's main building is located on the Downing site. Find out more about the facilities at the Downing Site building. 



The University of Cambridge's Herbarium dates back to the 1703 and houses an internationally renowned collection of more than one million pressed, dried and mounted plants as well as a unique collection of taxonomic books and floras. Its historic collections include specimens gathered by Charles Darwin on the voyage of HMS Beagle and its British collection is one of the finest in the world with specimens continuing to be added. Find out more about the Herbarium.


Plant Growth Facility 

Located within the grounds of the Botanic Garden, is the Department's Plant Growth Facility, which provides state-of-the-art controlled environment capabilities and containment facilities for plant pathogen work. The facility includes both glasshouse and outdoor plots for horticultural and ecological studies.


Plant Sciences Library

The Department of Plant Sciences Library contains a large collection of current periodicals and more than 20,000 books. It also holds the Department's archives, including correspondence and drafts of contributions to the Department’s spoof publication Tea Phytologist from 1908 to 1984, botany lecture notes and photos and portraits belonging to the Department. Find out more about the Department of Plant Sciences Library.