The Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy is based in the Department of Plant Sciences and is managed in association with the Oxford University Herbaria, which contain specimens to which many of the printed and manuscript works in the library collections relate. They contain both modern floras and species monographs, mainly housed in the Herbaria but available to all library users, and historic works, many of which are grouped in the Sherard Collection. The latter is housed in an air-conditioned stack and originated in the collections of the Oxford Physic Garden (now the University of Oxford Botanic Garden), founded by the Earl of Danby, Henry Danvers, in 1621. It is now recognised as one of the finest collections of pre-Linnaean material in the UK. Highlights include Ferdinand Bauer's 966 original drawings for the Flora Graecaof J. Sibthorp and J. E. Smith; Sherard's work on Bauhin's Pinax; 139 coloured drawings of African plants, known as Herbarium Capense; and some beautiful watercolours of Japanese (Chinese?) plants with inscriptions by N. Witsen.

Fauna Graeca : Red Squirrel

Fauna Graeca : Red Squirrel (Ms Sherard 238 Pl. 8)

For more information on the Sherardian Library's resources, please see our Plant Taxonomy LibGuide.

Contact details and opening hours

  • Monday and Tuesday: 9.30am - 2pm
  • Wednesday: 9.30am - 5pm
  • Thursday: 2.30pm - 5pm 

The Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy is open by appointment only and subject to availability.

To book an appointment, please email

The General Reading Room on the First Floor has 24 hour swipe card access for members of the Department of Plant Sciences.

Collections are available for Reference Use Only within the library.

Further information:

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