National Collection of Vascular Plants (DAO)

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) maintains a National Collection of Vascular Plants, internationally known by the acronym DAO (for Department of Agriculture, Ottawa). This is a premier collection of dried vascular plants. Located on AAFC's Central Experimental Farm, it is the largest collection of its kind in Canada. Properly called a herbarium, it includes 1.5 million irreplaceable specimens protected in a climate-controlled environment. When adequately protected from moisture and pests, dried specimens can last for hundreds of years in the herbarium. This is a tremendous resource that allows identification of plants from anywhere in Canada and supports research on plant classification worldwide.

The collection also provides information for developing new crops and for ecological studies. It is the basis for responding to over 5,000 requests for information each year and services 200 visitors annually, including students from Canadian universities and government biologists. Over 5,000 specimens are loaned each year to research centres around the world as part of a cooperative international network. As a result, AAFC scientists are able to borrow material from other countries for research aimed at improving Canadian crops and increasing the security of Canada's borders and Canadian biodiversity.

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Open Data

We continue to assess different formats in which we can share our data online. Vaccinium: Canadian Wild Crops dataset available:

Contact us

For more information about the Vascular Plant Herbarium, please contact the National Collection of Vascular Plants (DAO) at