Herbarium of the budding botanist
What is a herbarium?
A herbarium is a collection of dried plants that are kept flattened between sheets of paper. Each plant is called by its scientific name and its common name (or vernacular name).
The herbarium is a catalog of the plant diversity on Earth. It is used to identify plants and keep them as a memory.
Making a herbarium is a simple and exciting experience. If you follow the tips listed here to make your own herbarium, you will discover the beautiful world of plants.
The steps to make a herbarium
How to harvest plants?
Before harvesting all or part of a plant, make sure that it is not a protected or endangered species. Collecting certain plant species is forbidden by law to prevent their depletion or disappearance and the disruption of their environment. In certain public or private sites you need an authorization for sampling the plants. Once the plants have been spotted (if it is possible to harvest them), you must pick them as gently as possible without pulling them out, to ensure that the leaves or petals do not break off. For some large plants, it is possible to settle for just a flower stem with a few leaves. With a tree, for example, just take a leafy branch. Then place your harvest in a box or basket. Make sure not to damage the plant. With a flora or the internet, you can identify the harvested plant.
How to dry the plants?
When you dry a plant you can keep it for a long time. To dry a plant you place first a sheet of blotting paper or any absorbent paper over 5 or 6 sheets of newsprint. Then you carefully lay the plant flat on the blotting paper sheet and cover it with another sheet of blotting paper plus 5 or 6 sheets of newsprint on the top (it is possible to use an old directory and let the plants dry inside). After that, you compress the whole thing under 3 or 4 heavy books. It will take 10 to 15 days for the plants to dry properly if you renwew the blotting paper every 2 to 3 days.
How to complete your herbarium?
Now comes the reward: you discover your dried plant.
After carefully lifting the newsprint sheets and the blotting paper, gently grasp the plant and secure it on a herbarium page with a drop of glue or a piece of adhesive paper.
The sample can also be sewn on the sheet with a few stitches.
At the end, carefully write down the name of the plant, harvest date and where it was found, in the label at the bottom of the page.