Second to the Economic Botany Collection (EBC) in Kew (London), the Hamburg "Applied Botany Collection" (ABC) is the world's largest collection of economically and technically important plants and parts of plants. It comprises c. 45,000 objects, some of them more than 200 years old, in several sub-collections. Everything is represented, from tiny seeds to giant fruits, infructescences and fibres, as well as known and unknown medicinal plants, wood samples and rare phytopathological preparations. The German colonial period played a major role in the creation of the collection. Therefore, mainly plants from the subtropics and tropics are represented, which were important for Hamburg's trade. But the ABC is not only of interest from a historical point of view. It also offers a rich potential for studies on changes in biodiversity, on micro-evolutionary processes and for the search for plant raw materials to replace fossil raw materials.