Preparation of Specimens
Each new plant specimen we add to the Herbarium collection is carefully prepared so that it will remain in good condition for use by future researchers.
Different herbaria use different methods for mounting plant specimens. The sections below outline the methods used at RBGE to prepare:
- flowering plants
- large fruits and seeds
- Bryophytes, lichens and fungi
See also the links in the sidebar.
At RBGE, dried, pressed plants are glued, taped and stitched to supportive mounting boards, so they are robust enough to withstand repeated handling. The video below shows one of our technicians mounting a specimen.
The mounting board, label paper, capsules, tape and PVA adhesive are all archival quality. White polyester thread is used for stitching. For further information on archival materials see section 2 of RBGE Collections Care: Preparation and Care of Herbarium Specimens (link in the sidebar).
Large fruits and seeds
If a plant has very bulky fruits or seeds we pack them in archival boxes for inclusion in the carpological collection.
We can also preserve plant material in three-dimensional form in the spirit preserved collection.
- Some conifer species (eg Picea and Abies) quickly lose their needles when dry
- To preserve them for mounting we soak them in alcohol … then immerse them in 50% aqueous glycerol.
Bryophytes (mosses), lichen and fungi
We mount aquatic plants by floating on to herbarium sheets. For more information see: