Download 150,000+ Botanical and Natural History Illustrations for Free


Biodiversity Heritage Library

Download over 150,000 high resolution illustrations for free from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library makes millions of pages and thousands of high resolution natural history illustrations free to download and use.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is an open access digital library that operates as a worldwide consortium of over 80 partners from natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to digitize the natural history literature held in their collections and make material freely available as part of a global “biodiversity community.”

The collection includes millions of pages of literature from the 15th-21st centuries, thousands of articles from premier scientific publications and 150,000+ animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and various scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries around the globe. There are categories for reptiles and amphibians, shells, algae and fungi and more.

It’s a lot of content. If you don’t need to search the site for something specific, the BHL Flickr and Instagram accounts and the BHL’s site at the Internet Archive are great places to start looking. The Flickr and Instagram accounts are all images and the Internet Archive provides visually organized access to the collection.

Flickr Albums
Illustrations at the BHL Flickr site include images from the Encyclopedia of Life (mostly photographs), fungi, reptiles and amphibians, shells, and algae along with the botanical, animal and natural history illustrations in the collection.

Another stream at Flickr is a book collection of over two million tagged illustrations and photographs titled “Everyone’s photos.”

Biodiversity Heritage Library Instagram

Internet Archive
The Biodiversity Heritage Library at the Internet Archive is a more visually organized way to find areas of the collection such as Smithsonian Field Books, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Library, Art and Archives, Seed and Nursery Catalogs, World Atlas of Biodiversity and more.

Many of the items in the Biodiversity Heritage Library collection are in the public domain and free to reuse without risk of copyright infringement. Check the field to determine the copyright status of any given item. Most content in the BHL can be freely downloaded in a variety of formats, in most cases under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. On occasion, different Creative Commons licenses may be specified.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is an outstanding resource for free illustrations and texts covering the natural world in words and photos.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library

(h/t Cool Hunting)

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Thanks, once again, rhiannon. You always find and share the coolest stuff. :-)

Awwww thank you. :)

Many thanks for doing the research for us. Ed

You're so welcome, I'm glad you like the site.

Thanks rhiannon!
Wonderful web sites!

I'm glad you like them. I spent a lot of time there. :)