Green Collection

By TheHindu on 21 Jun 2016 | read

For you collection: The leaf of a cycas plant. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Learn more about plants by creating your own herbarium

Ever saw a pretty flower or an interesting leaf and wished to preserve it forever? Well, you can just do that using the method of herbarium or herbaria (plural). Herbarium refers to a collection of preserved plant specimens. Herbarium contains plants from various families ranging from lichen and moss to pine trees. Plant specimens are dried and mounted on herbarium quality paper and placed in a folder with details of the plant.

Herbarium isn’t just about drying plants and pasting them; it also involves learning about the plant species. Details such as the scientific name of the plant, the family or genus to which it belongs, when and where the plant sample was collected and description of the plant is recorded in a herbarium. Thus, herbarium helps one in learning about plants. Anita Gupta, a teacher at Sherwood Public School, points out the uses of herbaria, “Herbaria are essential for the study of plant taxonomy, the study of geographical distribution of vegetation. It also serves as a record for changes in vegetation over time. Environmental scientists make use of herbaria to track changes in climate and human impact.”

Start your own

Here’s how you can start making your very own herbarium.

Collect the plants or flowers that you’d like to preserve.

The specimens must be arranged inside the folder between a few layers of paper, so that every plant has some paper on both sides. The closed folder does not have to press the specimens too firmly between the newspapers. If the plants are fleshy more newspapers are needed and you can also add some additional cardboard inside the folder.

Cover the folder either with a cloth or belt.

Do remember to change the paper at regular intervals.

Voila, your very own herbarium will be ready in a few days. Now go ahead and give it a try. Also, this is the ideal season to start a herbarium.