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HERBARIUM

Techniques & functions

A HERBARIUM IS A COLLECTION OF PLANTS,


WHICH HAVE DRIED, PRESSED, MOUNTED ON
HERBARIUM SHEETS, IDENTIFIED & CLASSIFIED
ACCORDING TO SOME APPROVED SYSTEM OF
CLASSIFICATION

Luca Ghini initiated the art of


herbarium making by pressing and
sewing specimens on sheets of
paper

FIELD EQUIPMENTS

1. Digger/Trowel & Pruning


Knife/Shear

2. Vasculum
Container-useful for
handling & keeping the
specimens fresh before
pressing them.

3. Field
Notebook

4. Plant Press & Folders

HERBARIUM TECHNIQUES
It involves a series of
operations, such as collection,
pressing, drying and poisoning,
mounting and stitching,
labelling, filling and deposition.

COLLECTION

Plant specimen should bear flowers and fruits,


if present.
Herbaceous small plant specimen should be
collected with roots or other underground parts.
A twig of about 25cm with leaves & flowers, will
form an ideal material.
Note sheets no. & data recorded in the field
notebook
Soon after the specimens are collected, they
should be pressed in the field itself.

PRESSING
Specimens should be carefully placed in the
centre on the pressing sheets. If specimens
are large enough, they should be bent
giving them shape of V, N or W. The
bundles should be uniform in thickness in
the middle & on the sides. Specimens
should be kept one above the other.

DRYING AND POISONING


For effective drying, drying papers
are replaced by fresh ones. Changing of
papers is repeated everyday for about
fortnight, or until the plant specimens
appear perfectly dried. In the humid
climate, the changing of papers is done
twice a day to have good results.
Artificial heat may be given if the
weather is too humid.

MOUNTING AND STITCHING


The standard size of a herbarium sheet is
29 x42 cm. They are usually made of durable
card sheets. The dried specimens are glued
on herbarium sheets and the stem/branches
can be stitched/glued with cellophane tapes.
It is advisable to mount one specimen on
each herbarium sheet. Dissected & loose
parts, such as flowers, fruits & seeds, are
kept in paper packets & pasted to the
mounted sheet.

LABELLING

Name of organization with which specimen


plant originated.
Name of the family
Botanical name of the plant
Local name
Locality of collection
Date of collection
Habitat of the plant
Field notes & collection no.
Name of collector

FILLING AND STORING

Plant specimens, which have been properly


mounted & identified, are filled systematically in
special wooden/steel cabinets.
The herbarium sheets loaded with specimens are
filed inside folders which are of various colour
schemes indicating species, genus, family,
geographical area, etc.
Plants are arranged & stored following Bentham &
Hookers / Engler & Prantls system of
classification.
A periodical fumigation with chemicals &
repoisoning them by brushing with solution of
HgCl2 & using insect repellents would save the
herbarium from damage & check the loss of
valuable plants.

HERBARIUM ALMIRAH

ROLE OF HERBARIUM

To act as a repository of dried plant specimens, safeguard them


against loss & destruction by fungi, insects, etc. & make them
available for study.
Several herbaria of repute, keep Type Specimens-the principal
proof of the existence of a species, in safe custody, often in rooms
with restricted access.
As original documents upon which knowledge of taxonomic
characters rests, herbarium specimens greatly help in developing
floras, manuals & monographs.
Those engaged in taxonomic studies, can personally identify their
engaged collection by comparison with already identified
herbarium specimens.
Voucher specimens preserved in various herbaria, provide an
index of specimens on which studies on chromosomes,
phytochemistry, ultrastructure micro-morphology, etc. have been
undertaken.
Most herbaria have specimens collected from different parts of
the world &, thus their scrutiny can provide information on the
geographical distribution of taxa.