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Preparation of Plant Specimens (UF Herbarium Instructions)

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Presentation on theme: "Preparation of Plant Specimens (UF Herbarium Instructions)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparation of Plant Specimens (UF Herbarium Instructions)

2 A voucher herbarium specimen is a pressed plant sample deposited for future reference at LSSC It supports research work and may be examined to verify the identity of the specific plant used in a study Voucher material is needed because plant classification is constantly changing. Plant identifications are subject to change

3 How to Prepare Specimens Specimens are pressed in a plant press which consists of: – A wooden frame – Corrugated cardboard ventilators to allow air flow through the press – blotter paper to absorb moisture, and – A folded newspaper to contain the plant material The plant press is tightened using straps with buckles

4 How to Prepare Specimens The objective of pressing plants is to extract moisture in the shortest period of time, while preserving the shape of the plant without damaging it The plants that have been pressed will be mounted on herbarium paper for long-term storage In order to fit on a standard herbarium sheet, a plant specimen should be pressed flat to no more than 11 X 16 inches

5 How to Prepare Specimens If the specimen will not fit those dimensions, it may be folded or cut into sections Multiples of smaller plants may be pressed together in order to provide ample material for mounting and study Large fruits and bulbs are often cut in in half lengthwise or in slices prior to pressing In order to ensure rapid and thorough drying, extremely succulent materials such as cactus stems may need to be sliced open and some of the fleshy interior scraped out

6 How to Prepare Specimens Each specimen should consist of a stem with attached leaves and if possible, flowers and/or fruit Each collection of a plant specimen should be assigned a collection number and data for each collection should be entered into your field notebook (do not trust your memory for this information!)

7 How to Prepare Specimens Pressing material immediately upon collection results in the best specimens Samples that are allowed to wilt prior to pressing will often produce inferior specimens Leaves, flowers, and fruits should be spread out so that they do not overlap and can be observed from different perspectives The collection number should be clearly written on the outside of the folded paper containing each plant specimen

8 How to Prepare Specimens The plant press must be kept tight to preven shrinkage and wrinkling of the plant material The pressed plants must be thoroughly dried prior to storage and mounting As the specimens dry, it may be necessary to further tighten the straps on the press to minimize shrinkage and wrinkling

9 Herbarium Specimen Labels Scientific name: genus, species Detailed location: state, county, description of the location in reference to roads, road junctions, mile markers and distance from cities or towns Gps is also a desirable addition to the locality description

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