Oricymba subovalis Jüttner, Krammer & Cox described from Gosainkunda, Langtang National Park, Nepal. (Jüttner et al. 2010)
Porphyra purpurea
A herbarium specimen of a red seaweed called laver (Porphyra purpurea)
Chara globularis
Chara globularis, a widespread Charophyte species that occurs in fresh and brackish water habitats.

Algae is a general term that encompasses diatoms, seaweeds and stoneworts (charophytes). Our collection includes 5,000 charophyte and seaweed specimens on herbarium sheets. We have many thousands of microscope slides of diatoms with corresponding fluid collections.

Diatom Collection

Diatoms are microscopic algae with brown pigments and a silica cell wall. They can be used to assess the quality of water in rivers and lakes, and their cell walls preserved in sediments tell us about past environments.

The majority of this collection has been gathered by the present curator. The geographical focus is principally on Wales and the Himalaya, with smaller collections from other European and Asian countries. The majority of the Welsh and Himalayan collections is from freshwater, in particular streams, ponds, lakes, springs, and from subaerial habitats.

In addition, there are collections from marine habitats from Wales, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.

The Museum also houses 250 diatom slides prepared by N. Woodhead and R.D. Tweed which relates to their publications, mainly on the algae of North Wales, Newfoundland and Sierra Leone. Apart from some phials in the Natural History Museum, London, these represent the whole of their remaining algal material.

Seaweed Collection

Seaweeds are marine algae which form large individual plants, and a few are of great size. Seaweeds are found in abundance around the coasts of Wales. The temperate waters have a large tidal range which creates ideal conditions for seaweeds. Amgueddfa Cymru’s seaweed collection is mainly British material, and although not large, contains around 420 species and represents two thirds of all British seaweeds.

A significant collection is the ‘Herbarium British Confervae’ of Lewis Weston Dillwyn’s, an important figure in Welsh history. It contains 277 algal specimens, which are the original material used by Dillwyn in the preparation of his pioneering 1809 work on British Confervae. (Conferva is an old name for filamentous algae. These can be freshwater or marine, and include some seaweeds).

» Find out more about the seaweed collection

Detailed information about the algae collections can be found in our online catalogues.

Charophyte Collection

This is a small collection of 885 charophyte specimens pressed onto herbarium sheets. The specimens are principally from Great Britain and Ireland, in which the main collectors are G.R. Bullock-Webster, H. & J. Groves, C. Bailey, J.W. White and J.A. Wheldon. The collection includes fascicles 1 and 2 of Groves and Bullock-Webster's British Charophyta.

  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.