The Collections of the P.N. Krylov Herbarium of Tomsk State University is a collection of documented plant specimens preserved by drying under pressure. A herbarium sheet is a quantity unit of the collection. It is a paper of herbarium format with plants mounted on it (a plant or its part) with a label attached to it, containing the name of the plant species, information on the location and date of collection and the name of the collector.
The first collections of the Herbarium (it was called at the time the Botanical Museum of the Imperial Tomsk University) were the botanical collections from the polar regions of Siberia and America collected during the expedition of N. Nordenskiold on the ship “Vega”, delivered in Tomsk in 1882 at the suggestion of A.M. Sibiryakov and tranferred to V.M. Florinskiy; small collection, brought by P.N. Krylov from Kazan; herbarium collections made by him on the way from Kazan to Tomsk; collections received from the Tomsk Provincial Gymnasium and Alekseevskoe Tomsk non-classical secondary school (1885). Moreover, in response to an appeal of P.N. Krylov “From the Botanical Museum of Tomsk University” with a request to collect and send plant materials, the museum began to receive large and small collections from the territory of Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia. After the establishment of the Herbarium, its founder, P.N. Krylov was the major collector. He also arranged and systematized the collections. Since 1893, the Head of the Department of Botany, V.V. Sapozhnikov also had begun to replenish the collections, and since 1908, this was also done by the students of the Imperial Tomsk University, Tomsk Institute of Technology and the attenders of Siberian Higher Courses for women. By 1913, the herbarium contained 142,500 sheets, and seven departments were established: the Department of the Altai and Tomsk province, the General Department (from different countries), the Semipalatinsk and Semirechye Department, the departments of Northern Mongolia and Uryankhay lands, of Yenisei province, of Tobolsk province, of Eastern Siberia, while only the first two were established and the rest were scheduled.
Current collection of the TSU Herbarium comprises more than 500 thousand specimens; the specialization is vascular plants (ferns, horsetails, club mosses, gymnosperms and angiosperms). In terms of the size of collection, the TSU Herbarium is among the largest Herbaria of Russia and occupies the third place among those in the higher education system. More than two thousand collectors contributed to the establishment of the Herbarium. The collections are divided into departments corresponding to the major areas. Within the departments, the collection are distributed systematically in accordance with the system of A. Engler. The collection is divided into 13 departments: Western Siberia, Yenisei Siberia, Eastern Siberia, General, Tuva and Mongolia, Central Asia, tropical, arctic, spore-bearing plants (lichens and bryophytes), type specimens, educational, thematic collections, doublet; it is scheduled to establish department with working title “The department of new collections”. To maintain records within the collection, each department has inventory books, which contain the information on the number of specimens of each species.