Plant recording for National Collections


A plant record is as important as the plant itself.

For a National Plant Collection it should contain as a minimum a unique identifying code (accession number), correct plant name, date acquired and from which source.

Plant records should be kept electronically. The best way of recording a plant collection is to use a horticultural database.  Plant records can be stored and linked to images, cultural information, research relating to that plant, map locations etc. 

The Persephone Plant recording database is designed around the needs of Collection Holders.


Find out more

Our preferred recording system, if a prospective or current Collection Holder is not already using a horticultural database product (such as BG-BASE or Iris), is called Persephone. This is a free, secure online database and help will be given to get you started.

Alternatively, if you prefer to start out recording your plant list using a simple excel spreadsheet, here is a basic template. As different collections have different data recording needs, please ask us for advice on how best to set this up for your particular collection.  

Contact us here for friendly advice and help on the different ways of recording your collection.

The Demeter database is still being supported for current users but is not taking on any new users. Contact us for more details.

It is important to keep paperwork for any plants that are subject to legislation such as CITES or the Nagoya protocol . These should be linked to the accession number for future ease of reference.

Plants can also be physically recorded by making herbarium sheets. These can either be kept for your own records or sent to a herbarium, where they will be available as a resource for future researchers.

See here for more information on herbarium sheets

Conserving the diversity of garden plants

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.