Flora in a frame: how to create a scientific herbarium
An obscure flower in a book or an autumn leaf ironed out – we all made such “herbaria” as a child and did something wrong. It’s time to learn how to treat herbarium making with all the scientific precision to preserve the crumbs of the late summer season for a long time to come.
Herbarium creation is a fascinating activity that turned Sauk Mosgortur into the scientific secretary of the biological museum. K.A. Timiryazev Museum Marina Vladimirovna Kulikova, who held a master course and told how to create a herbarium.
Preparation: gather and dry
A plant for a herbarium must have roots, only plants listed in the red book can be without them – you can’t dig them out. And, of course, old trees. If we collect tree seedlings, they must also have roots.
A herbarium must be done correctly: plants are dug up with roots
When collecting plants, it is advisable to dig out the entire root. If it is very long, such as burdock (up to 30 cm), you can remove only the tip of the root.
Why is this necessary? The fact is that the structure of the root system also indicates whether some plants belong to a certain species, genus or group. Therefore, it is important to see at least the top part – the length of the root can be specified in the description.
Plants should be dry, for example, you should not collect them in the rain, otherwise the work will be spoiled – the drying out reveals spots and stains.
Of course, it is better to distribute the plant on newspapers right at the place of collection. If there is no such a possibility, you can put it in water for some time, so that it spreads the leaves. The main thing is to dry the roots well afterwards. Specialists usually use special nets, which you make yourself. The grid can be replaced by perforated plywood panels.
Newspapers should be changed: first once a day, then at intervals of two or three days. Once the plant is completely dry, it can be fixed on a sheet of paper. In no case do not glue the system to the base, so that if necessary it can not be dismantled. That’s why we sew it on.
Specialists usually use special nets for drying systems.
Tools and materials
For the workshop, we took a lotonus (gardeners know it as clematis). For the base I always take watercolor leaves, they are dense, they have a good texture, because for us it is important, for example, in the exhibition hall. Now you have to choose the color of the threads. For example, if you embroider the stem with red thread, it will look bad. You can choose a color suitable for the whole herbarium or you can choose thread colors for different parts of the plant: green for the trunk, brown for the roots and so on. There are no special requirements for the threads. The main thing is that they should be durable and not slip, so polyester or silk will not do. The best option is cotton. I also don’t recommend taking very thick thread, if you need to sew a thick stem, you can just use double thread. Needles are also the most common. You can take special needles for the visually impaired – they have a removable ear that makes it easier to water the thread. The thinner the needle, the better – if you take an AWL or pen needle, the paper will have a hole in it, which will spoil the appearance of the herbarium. The plant can be placed horizontally or vertically – there is no difference. If the plant is very long, cut off the flowering part and parts of the stem with leaves (because many plants in different parts of the tribe have different leaves) and with a root system – all these are signs by which you can identify the plant. All of the parts are located side by side on the leaf.
To repair a plant on a leaf, it is best to take thin cotton thread
How to repair a system on a leaf
I always start my herbarium sewing from the bottom left or right corner of the leaf. But you can start anywhere from the top.
The first thing to do is to get to the hardest part, the root. The first stitch should lie very firmly. Without breaking the thread, we go over those parts of the plant that move when the paper is hanging vertically, and grab them.
First we repair the most serious part of the plant – I’ve been working in herbaria for a long time, so I go almost blind, and those who are doing this for the first time can find it difficult to drill the paper from the bottom where it’s needed. I always learn to look at the paper through the light: you can see the stem at the back. If the leaves are small, they stay even if you stitch only the stem, and if they are large and as cut out, the leaves have to be stitched separately. So, we have reached the end. Now we need to re-stitch in the same holes – we have a sort of anchoring element. Bring the needle under the needle, pull it out, the resulting loop is put back on the needle and tighten. This knot cannot be undone, it can only be cut.
When we take the stem system, restore the thread from the back of the sheet to check if we have done everything, unroll the sheet and look: If anything is sagging, we need to stitch it up. If everything is straight and firm, the herbarium is well done.
Turned the sheet, we check if the herbarium is well done.
Leaves, flowers and fruits – sewing peculiarities
Large leaves are stitched along the veins, because these are the strongest places. If you sew where the soft part is, the leaf will simply tear a hole in the leaf and a separate stitch on the paper. In a herbarium, it is important to show an example of a leaf not only from the front, but also from the back, because, for example, the leaves of some poplar species are distinguished from the front and back. If you are making a decorative herbarium, this is not necessary. I always arranged the flower so that it was clear what was inside: stamens, pistil and so on. The task of the herbarist is to show all the parts of the plant. Scientific studies are very different, and they never know what will be of interest to those who will study this herbarium in the future. Fruits are very interesting for the herbarist’s work: If it is a rowan, for example, each berry should be stapled separately by the stem that fits the fruit. If the fruit is large (such as Rosemina), tightly attached only the stem, I prefer to glue PVA with the fruit itself, because the well-dried fruit (and otherwise should not be) will inevitably tear when you try to blot. Restore the leaves of the plant to their veins.
Filling out the label.
- The name of our museum.
- The family to which the plant belongs in Russian and necessarily in Latin, because only Latin is the scientific name.
- The name usually has a letter (or combination of letters), such as L. This is an abbreviation of the last name of the man who described these plants and gave them their name. In this case it is Carl Linnaeus. Sometimes a number of authors are given in parentheses, which means that the system was recognizable and belonged to other groups. That is, there was someone who identified the plant (for example, the same Linnaeus), then the next author who named it, and so on.
- Place where the plant was collected: country, region, locality. Sometimes coordinates are given.
- Biotope: Field, swamp, broad forest, maybe spruce. That is, we always write the type of vegetation that grows in the collection area.
- Date and time of collection. Very important information for the scientist. For example, if a plant blooms in the fall, it is an anomaly. This means that a secondary bloom is occurring.
- The name of the one who collected and the one who found. We determine ourselves that we only write the collector, but we can’t identify the student, for example, so the last name of the teacher is used.
- Features of the plant. For example, it can be an unusual color. In our example, the modified inflorescences are shown, and it is attributed in pencil that it is a mutation of Rosularis. The same information is entered into the database.
Who needs a scientific herbarium
Herbaria are not just created for scientific purposes. Sometimes they are made for decoration. However, many people want to make such a herbarium, so that it was not just a beautiful flower, but a scientific herbarium. For it, they order a pass, a frame and hang it like a painting on the wall. The frame should be with glass – it protects the herbarium from dust and fading. Schoolchildren and children with their parents come to the biological museum. For example, one mother told me that she and her child travel abroad, collect dried and like parts of plants and hang on the wall as a memento of the journey. So you want to make sure it’s done right and well.
A properly and beautifully designed herbarium will last a long time and can be used to decorate a room. Creating a real, properly decorated herbarium is an interesting and fun experience. If you love plants, you can preserve your favorite specimens with expert advice while creating a beautiful, stylish design element.
Making a beautiful herbarium with your own hands: step by step instructions
Imagine that you are reading a magical book with pictures, which stops your soul. Page after page takes you to unknown lands, tells the story of something amazing and how beautiful this world is. Who is the author of this work? Nature. And the title of the masterpiece is The Herbarium of Leaves and Flowers. Let’s read this book together to see for whom it is intended. And for those who have a desire to try themselves and help the author to continue this grandiose work, we recommend to learn how to make a herbarium with their own hands.
Let’s find out together: what is a herbarium and what are its goals; the little secrets of an herbalist: suitable plants, what are the conditions for drying this or that plant, how to arrange herbs; how to compose a herbarium and what rules apply to its design.
Interestingly, the first memories of a herbarium created by someone speak not about the scientific purpose of the collection, but have romantic roots. The fact is that lovers kept signs of attention in such an unusual way. They wanted to dry the gift of a beautiful flower in memory of the loved one.
But in the 15th century, books about plants began to appear. Some of them were true, others were myths and legends. And it was impossible to take pictures back then. Therefore, more or less accurate drawings were used to compile a herbarium, from which it was sometimes difficult to identify a particular plant. But in the middle of the 16th century, works of a scientific nature suddenly appeared, and the specimens were made of glued dried parts of plants.
Since then the appearance of the botanical collection has not changed significantly. But it began to be collected more often at home for schoolchildren and even for kindergarten. Why? Who needs it And what is the purpose of building such a collection?
How your herbarium will look like, depends directly on the purpose of creating a herbarium.
- Special For example, a herbarium for elementary school.
- Systematic. Any system is taken as the basis. For example, by genus or family, the same colors of dried plants or a collection in alphabetical order.
- Periodic. Compiled according to the periods in which the materials were collected.
- Thematic. Medicinal, cereals, weeds or houseplants, etc.
- Morphological. If material of the same species is dried with altered organs.
- Floral. All plants of a particular region.
- Herbarium leaves should be healthy and not damaged by insects.
- Carefully dig them out along with the root; free the roots from the soil.
- Make a herbarium of leaves of high quality and longevity only if you collect them in warm, sunny weather during the day.
- The specimen should have flowers in full bloom, and the presence of fruit is also desirable.
- You should not limit yourself to a single specimen. It is desirable to collect with a reserve, so you can choose the best option for creating a herbarium.
The necessary tools and materials for collecting material for making a herbarium of flowers: spatula, knife, excursion folder (they can be made from two sheets of plywood/box), newspaper “shirt” for drying, label and label AND pen.
What you need to note on the label: the name of the system, the name of the area and its designation (forest, field), the date, what was collected (if there was a group outing and if you did the collection yourself or with children Can’t make that note).
The conditions for drying a particular plant
The collected roots are cut lengthwise with a sharp knife to make them dry faster.
Flat drying is the most common. The material is dried, so it can be used for decorative applications and albums.
How to make a herbarium by flat drying.
- What you need to consider when drying flowers: – plants are collected only in dry weather; – it is desirable to find a place outside. – The time to choose when the air is warm; -Nur Suitable fresh plant with no signs of wild.
- Choose a suitable book so that our leaves are loose on the page. Don’t forget that you don’t want to ruin the book, and plants dry faster if you cover them with clean paper on both sides.
- We need a press that compresses the book. There can be other important press editions as well.
Want plants to dry quickly and reliably? Then it pays to clean and dry the paper every day for a week.
When the leaves dry out, they fill with moisture that the paper absorbs. If it is not changed, it will affect the quality and appearance of the material.
Later you can get plants from the book and store them in a dark place. Of course, losses are inevitable. But they can be reduced.
How long does it take to dry the plants? Small material is prepared in 2-3 weeks. For dense and voluminous need a month.
In addition to the usual book, you can use a hot iron. How to properly dry them? Put the system on a sheet of paper and cover with another sheet. Press with an iron and then iron.
Blue/blue flowers don’t lose their brightness if you put them in denatured alcohol for half a minute.
The density of the plant is achieved by leaving it in a solution of PVA and water (4: 1).
A solution of glycerin and water (60 degrees), 3: 1, preserves the shape of the flowers. At the same time, this solution makes the plants darker.
To dry the dandelion so that it does not separate, it is torn, like tearing a slightly opened box of umbrellas. Pull a wire through the stem and dip the dandelion head for 10 seconds. In boiling water.
The whole process takes only a few minutes if you use the microwave with the lowest capacity.
How do you dry bulk material, such as what to do with a flower bud? To do this, place parts of trees or flowers in boxes and cover them with sand or silicobogel. At the same time, the buds should face down.
How to dry flowers for a herbarium outside? Do it in the shade. Flowers are placed buds down. The plants should not touch each other.
How to sell herbs in an album
Decorating a herbarium begins with learning the main rule: all the plants are joined to scrapbook sheets and covered with embossing paper (there are special albums for herbariums, which can be bought in a bookstore in stationery). .
To assemble the material, you can use thread: white or green, paper straw and glue. But by no means a band-aid or leukoplasty.
How many plants should be in the collection? It’s up to you to decide how big your collection should be. You can even put together many volumes.
If you don’t have a special album, you can create one yourself using regular scrapbook sheets and transparencies.
But to arrange everything nicely, it is advisable to have a view of the plant on the sheet. If it is larger than the side, the material can be cut in several places.
Important! Each page should be signed.
How to make a herbarium with a child, so that the baby was also interesting? You can decorate everything creatively by adding pictures.
See some more ideas for creativity, perhaps such an unusual design will inspire you to do something interesting and creative: