Abundant plant genetic resources provide broad genetic foundation for plant breeding and genetic research. However, its huge size brings difficulties in collecting, preservation, evaluation and utilization of plant germplasm resources. The concept of core collection was firstly proposde by Frankel in 1984 and developed it with Brown in 1989.It represents to select a sub-set from the whole germplasm by certain methods to represent a maximum of the genetic diversity of the whole collection with a minimum of accessions and a minimum of redundancy. The concept of core collection provides a new strategy for studying and utilizing plant germplasm. So far, core collection was established for more than 20 species in the world, such as wild soybean, durum wheat and peanut. Based on four prominent characteristics i.e. representative, practicality, availability and dynamics, this paper introduced the utilization of data, principls of sampling, methods of sampling, parameters estimation for the establishment of core collection. It was found that the methods for establishing core collection were different for various plants. For most of plants which have bean established core collections, stratification according to geography and agro-ecological uniform zones was used. Clustering was most common method in the establishment of core collection of most plants. At present,research is focusing on the strategy of sampling for the establishment of core collection. There is little research about the evaluation of core collection. Most studies make use of agronomic traits to evaluate the representation of core colletion, few reports concentrated on molecule evaluation.The core collections which have been established need to be tested in the future.