Herbarium: collect and preserve your favorite plants!

Herbarium drying technique makes it possible to freeze and capture all the natural beauty of plants. It will satisfy botanists and nature lovers.

How to collect plants for the herbarium?

Bring a few simple tools that are easy to carry in your backpack: a garden trowel, pruning shears, a magnifying glass, a large flat storage box, strips of paper, a notebook and a pencil.

Harvesting of plants should be done after dew and in dry weather. Otherwise there is a risk of damage to your samples. If it will be possible, take the plant as a whole, with its stems, leaves, roots, flowers and fruits. Use a magnifying glass to select healthy items with whole leaves, not bitten by insects. When the sample is large and bulky, take only a representative branch of the plant. Feel free to take multiple samples at different times to sample each stage of the species’ development.

Identify each plant with a strip of paper on which you note the name of the specimen, date and place of collection. Use your notebook to record additional details. Then place the samples in the box without stacking them.

Label each plant in your herbarium with a strip of paper on which you note the name of the specimen, date and place of collection.
Label each plant in your herbarium with a strip of paper on which you note the name of the specimen, date and place of collection. 

How to effectively dry plants in your herbarium?

The easiest and most effective method is to wring the plant out to dry. To do this, carefully remove one of the plants from your collection box and remove the soil from the roots. Then put it down on a sheet of thick paper, absorbent paper or a type of painting paper. Avoid printed paper that may leave ink marks on your plants. Adjust the position and align the subject so that the leaves, stem and petals are well highlighted. Cover with a second sheet of paper, being careful not to fold or crush any fragile items.

Place everything between your wooden planks and clamp down or place a heavy load on top. You will be able to monitor and correct the position of your plant for up to 24 hours. Then you risk breaking it. Let dry for one month for strong plants and for two weeks for small flowers or thin plants. Once dry, secure the plants in the herbarium with a small dot of glue or a strip of paper stuck to the stem. Avoid adhesive tape, which tends to yellow over time.

Once dry, secure the plants in the herbarium with a small dot of glue or a strip of paper stuck to the stem.
Once dry, secure the plants in the herbarium with a small dot of glue or a strip of paper stuck to the stem. 

How to present and label your herbarium?

The presentation of your herbarium depends on the style you want to adopt. Is it a fun herbarium to collect plants collected during your vacation, or a slightly more scientific approach aimed at listing plants from a very specific environment?

With the fun version, you can afford to be fancy, but still try to include at least the scientific name of the plant, its common name, place and date of collection, properties and uses, as well as any information that you may think is relevant (altitude, exposure, soil type, etc. .). We recommend write all this information on the label rather than directly on the page. This allows it to be edited later without damaging your herbarium. Respect the same rigor and the same logic in all your work, it will be easier to consult.

Before you start creating your herbarium, find out about protected species your region. It would be a shame to accidentally take them. Finally, for optimal preservation, store the herbarium in a dry place and protect it from pests.

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