Herbarium of the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun which is internationally known as Dehra Dun Herbarium (DD) was originally started by James Sykes Gamble in 1890 as the Forest School Herbarium with his own collections from Madras and Bengal, and private herbaria of several forest officers presented to the School. In 1908, the Saharanpur Herbarium which was started in 1816 was also transferred to Dehra Dun Herbarium. Dr George Govan was appointed the first Superintendent of the Saharanpur Botanic Garden in 1816. He collected plants mainly in the adjacent Sirmoor State, now in Himachal Pradesh. Dr. John Forbes Royle succeeded Dr. George Govan in 1823. He collected plants in the adjacent Himalayas. Dr. Huge Falconer succeeded Royle in 1831 and sent his collectors to Kashmir and Ladakh. Dr. William Jameson succeeded Dr. Falconer in 1842. After Jameson's retirement in 1876, John Firminger Duthie was appointed as his successor. During Duthie's time Gamble vigorously built up the Forest School Herbarium. Other classical collections of the late 19th Century are by John Ellerton Stocks and Aitchison. After the amalgamation, Dehra Dun Herbarium grew in proportion and prominent botanist like J.S. Gamble, Henry Haselfoot, Haines, Robert Selby Hole, R.N. Parker, U.N. Kanjilal, P.C. Kanjilal, B.L Gupta, C.E. Parkinson, N.L. Bor, M.B. Raizada, K.C. Sahni, K.M. Vaid, K.N. Bahadur, S.S.R. Bennet, R.C. Gaur, Sas. Biswas, H.B. Naithani, Ms. Veena Chandra, Ram Dayal, S.S. Jain, Sumer Chandra, Anup Chandra, Ms. Ranjana and P.K Verma deposited their collections in the Herbarium. In the recent years, excellent collections have been added from some of the under explored regions of India. Besides the departmental collections, there are notable collections by Falconer, Brandis, Thwaits, Strachey, J.H. Lace, Lowrie, Gammie, G. Mann, Rogers, Drummond, A.E. Osmaston, Talbot, Keshwanand Mamgain , H.G. Champion, R.R. Stewart and N.D. Bachketi. In addition to the excellent collection of Phanerogams of India and other countries of the World, the herbarium has a valuable collection of Cryptogams.
The original Herbarium was located in the Forest School, Dehra Dun city and later shifted to the imperial Forest Research Institute then located at Chandbagh (now Doon School). The Institute was again shifted to the present site (New Forest) in 1929 together with the Herbarium. A modern, fully air-conditional building on the design of Edinburgh and Kew Herbaria was build up in the F.R.I Campus and the Dehra Dun Herbarium was shifted in its new site in 1978. The collections, which contained over 0.3 million specimens, stored in 200 stationary wooden almirahs most of which were stifled within pigeon holes. Realizing the problem expansion cum modernization of Dehra Dun Herbarium executed in the beginning of the year 2017. With this expanded part, the Herbarium building now comprises of two sections, in the ground floor there is Dicotyledons section with mobile herbarium compactors and state to art facilities along with well equipped digitization lab whereas, the top floor is housing the Gymnospermic, Monocotyledonous and Cryptogamic (Pteridophytic and Bryophytic) collections.
The Dehra Dun Herbarium houses approximately 3,30,000 specimens. The system of classification of plant specimens followed is that of Bentham & Hooker. The oldest collection dates back to 1807. Besides collections from the Indian region, Herbarium contains specimens from all over the world. In addition to the phanerogams the Herbarium has valuable collections of Pteridophytes. It also includes invaluable 1300 Type specimens. Expeditions sent out from the Herbarium have explored many unexplored and underexplored parts of India viz. Indo- Nepal and Indo-Tibet border, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gir Forests, erstwhile Tehri Garhwal state, Sikkim, Goa, Daman & Diu and Ladakh. The collections housed in the Herbarium have been of inestimable value to specialists of different Groups/Families/Genera in revisionary/monographic work. The Herbarium serves as a ready reference in collecting information on rare and threatened plant diversity and their habitats, it also has many unknown or little known uses of plants recorded on their sheets. Besides, it serves many other educational purposes.
The Herbarium has CARPOLOGICAL MUSEUM as its adjunct. It has approximately 1000 samples of fruits / seeds, some of which cannot be preserved with the Herbarium specimens. It supports in the morphological studies and in identifying fruits and seeds of plants from different parts of the country without resource to microscopic details.
Dehradun Herbarium is working on digitization of its herbarium specimen collections. The current Herbarium database, named Digital Herbarium Specimen Database comprises of digital images along with label data and other information about species with the primary objective of storing invaluable data and to provide an easy access to the worldwide audience to the collection. It will also reduce the anticipated wear and tear of specimens thus ensuring their long-term preservation.