Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)

FRIM Herbarium Collection

The herbarium of Forest Research Institute Malaysia (internationally known as KEP) began in early 1900s with the humble collection made by A.M. Burn-Murdoch. Up to the Second World War, the collection continued to grow through the activities of dedicated botanists and foresters e.g., G.E.S. Cubitt, F.W. Foxworthy, J.G. Watson and C.F. Symington. In a span of about 40 years, the KEP collection has about 43,000 specimens from Malaysia and South East Asia region. These collections formed the basis of important publications on the timber trees of Malaya e.g., Burn-Murdoch’s “Trees and Timbers of the Malay Peninsula”, Foxworthy’s “The Commercial Woods of the Malay Peninsula” and “Dipterocarpaceae of the Malay Peninsula”, Watson’s “Mangrove Forests of the Malay Peninsula”, and Symington’s “Foresters’ Manual of Dipterocarps”.

After the Second World War, the herbarium came under the charge of J. Wyatt-Smith competently assisted by K.M. Kochummen. During this period, herbarium collection and research activity were focused on the tree families to be included in the production of a series of Manuals of Malayan Timber Trees, culminating in the publication of “Pocket Check List of Timber Trees” and “Manual of Malayan Silviculture for Inland Forest”. By 1965, the collection numbered 74,694 specimens.

T.C. Whitmore was engaged under Colombo Plan Aid between 1965 and 1972 to organise and produce a “Tree Flora of Malaya”. During this period, collection activities were greatly intensified to augment the existing collection for the project. This project took about 24 years to complete, resulting in the publication of four volumes of the Tree Flora of Malaya. The four volumes, containing accounts of 2,830 tree species in 99 families, have become the standard reference books for trees in Peninsular Malaysia.

Currently, 1,700 type specimens are kept in the Herbarium and 258,211 specimens have been documented in the BRAHMS database. Family Annonaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae, Lauraceae, Moraceae, Palmae and Rubiaceae constitute most of the collection. From this specimen documentation, seven volumes of Flora of Peninsular Malaysia, 3 volumes of Ferns and Lycophytes, and eight volumes of Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak were published.

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Kepong Herbarium, Jalan Jelutong, Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia, 52109 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor