Around the world, there are over 390,000 plant species known to science. That makes it challenging for scientists to study them. A systematised database is important to provide an insightful reference for plant identification, ecological surveys and conservation. A research team from CUHK has developed a first-of-its-kind 3D and high-definition open database of authenticated fruits and seeds voucher specimens in herbarium archive, allowing researchers, teachers and students to explore, rotate and magnify lifelike 3D models of plant species – just like holding the real thing in their hands. It is a template for botanists and herbaria worldwide to establish their own 3D databases and help revolutionise our approach to studying a key part of the natural world.