Herbarium Projects Guidelines



To be able to prepare scientific voucher specimen for a living collection and to become familiar with plants. The label is to contain the following information: location of collection, accession number, date, collector, number, family, genus, species and authority, notes on the plant emphasising characters not seen when plant is dry, information on the original collection for natural sourced accessions. All the techniques for mounting, drying, type of labels, boxes for carpological collections can be used.

The choice of plants must reflect the following:

A theme for the collection should be used (conservation plants, Korean plants ….). 20 collections to be prepared.

Three ancillary collections included: could be illustration, carpological, spirit.

Plants to be collected at their best time for identification purposes (with diagnostic characters)


Herbarium Cultivated Plants



Adonis cyllenea Boiss.

Notes: 11 yellow petals, Anthers yellow, sepals glabrous.
Photo[.x.] ...  Spirit[…] ...    Carp[...]   ...   Draw[...]

Locality: Greece: Mt. Parnias, S. of Killini.
Lat:           long:                alt:  1500m
Field notes:  Seed from plant at Copenhagen B.G. Collected in 1984 on Mt Parnias) (part of the Oliyirtos massif, S of Killini)

Example of a Herbarium voucher from Adonis cyllenea Boiss.


Before collecting anything, make notes. Habitat, height, colour, scent, etc. (incl. an initial name, if you have one.)

Quality not quantity.

No sterile specimens, unless particularly rare or important.

Collect mature flowers or fruits. Immature specimens make identification difficult.If collecting small herbs, then collect several plants to show all features, but don’t “wipe out” a population.

If collecting from a plant with compound leaves, then try to collect a whole leaf, rather than a few leaflets.

When removing parts of plants, (leaves, carp, etc.), be careful as to where you are cutting.
Number everything.

Remember, herbarium specimens are “2D”, so everything has to be on show on one surface. Twist leaves or flowers when the plant is still green, so that both sides of a leaf are on show, and that the back and front of any flowers are on show.

Detailed notes on collecting can be found in The Herbarium Handbook, pages 193-206, incl. notes on what to collect for specific families.


Material should be pressed as it is collected, however, “fine tuning” can be left for 24 hours or so.

Material is placed in a flimsy or a sheet of newspaper.

Collecting number is written on jewellers tag, flimsy, or both.

Press arrangement


Lay straps out flat.

Place half of press in the middle of the straps, long stays should be outermost, see separate handout.

Corrugated metal sheet is placed on top of one half of the press.

2/3 sheets of drying paper are placed on top of the metal sheet.

Specimen, in flimsy, is placed on top of drying paper.

1 sheet of drying paper is placed on top of specimen, (use more if very fleshy).

Next specimen is placed, and so on. Metal corrugates may be added throughout layers to speed up the drying process.

Many specimens can be placed in one press, strap length and weight are the limiting factors.

Once all the specimens have been layered, finish with 2/3 drying papers and place second half of press on top.

Bring straps up and tighten. Try to keep even pressure, and make sure straps are as tight as possible.

Drying methods

Drying oven – dries specimens quickly. Straps should be tightened regularly to ensure good pressing. Unless plants are particularly fleshy, papers don't need to be changed.

Indoor drying – on the top of a radiator or in a dry and warm room.

For larger carp. – These can be placed separately in paper or mesh bags and airdryed. Cut carp. to show the inside.

In the field or far from any facilities you can carry heavy gears like this frying box with bulbs which require electricity but .....


If you have followed all the collecting rules, then “laying out” and mounting the plant should be very straightforward.

Place the label  in the bottom right-hand corner. Labels are nearly always found here.

Ideally, the label should be completely stuck to the sheet. However, if the specimen is large, then it is ok to attach the label on the far right edge only, and then mount the specimen underneath it. If there is a location map on the back of the label, then the label should only be attached on the far right edge.

Place the specimen on the sheet. “Pruning” is allowed here, but be careful, the specimens will be fragile. This is where you ensure that all the relevant features can be clearly seen.. Remove any leaves that are covering flowers or fruit, and trim any overhanging material. Any material that is removed at this stage, or that has come loose during pressing/transporting, should be gathered up and placed in an archival capsule.

Once you are sure that all the relevant features are on show, and that there is enough room on the sheet for everything, (specimen, label, capsule, etc.), then you can mount the material.

Jewellers tags should be left on the specimen, and can be stuck down if they only have information on one side of the tag.

More than one sheet can be prepared from a specimen. Remember, there are
c. 7 million specimens within the Herbarium, so one sheet per specimen if at all possible. If more than one sheet is needed, then sheet 1 should contain flowering/fruiting material and sheet 2 should contain leaves. Sheets should be marked Sheet I/II, etc.

For more information see The Herbarium Handbook, p. 65-78.


labels can have many different design from handwritten to the one generated automatically by databases or containing locality maps and images.

Nevertheless they all have the same informations on them:


Ancillary collections

Carpological collections, wood collections, spirit collections, illustrations and photos/slides.
Ideally collections should be kept whole.

Carpological collections – carp. may be too large to be mounted with the rest of a specimen. In this case, it should be detached carefully from the specimen. Care should be taken to remove it in such a way that all attaching points are kept intact. It can be pressed and mounted separately, but make sure it is numbered. At some point it will need its own label. The herbarium specimen label should be clearly marked “ See Carpological Collection ” and the carp. label should be marked “ See Herbarium Sheet ”. Carpological Collections are kept within the Herbarium.

Spirit collections - are kept entirely separate from the rest of the collections, they will need a separate label. Herbarium sheets are marked “ See Spirit Collection ”, Spirit Collections are marked “ See Herbarium Sheet “. The Spirit Collection is kept in the Herbarium.

Wood collections – should be treated as carpological collections. The Wood Collection is kept, mostly, in the Economic Botany department.

Illustrations – if the illustrations are small they can be mounted with the rest of the specimen. Larger illustrations are kept separately, and again need a label. The labels should be marked accordingly.

Photos/slides – there are slide collections within the Herbarium, but many people keep the slides separately/personally. Slides are not kept with Herbarium specimens. This is mainly for archival purposes. Photos are occasionally mounted in envelopes with the specimens, but this is not a common practise. Labels should indicate that photos/slides are available.