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Herbarium prep & online specimen search Cheat Sheet by

Preparation of herbarium specimens (technique)and searching of digital or e-herbarium specimens at virtual herbarium


Herbarium prepar­ation is a meticulous process employed in botanical science to preserve plant specimens for scientific study, docume­nta­tion, and reference. This vital practice ensures the longevity of plant samples while mainta­ining their morpho­logical integrity, allowing resear­chers to delve into the diverse realms of plant taxonomy, ecology, distri­bution, and evolution.


Healthy plant specimens
Absorbent paper
Plant press
Acid-free mounting paper or glue
Herbarium sheets
Transp­arent protective sheets
Labels with relevant inform­ation
Pen or marker
Database for recording inform­ation
Herbarium cabinets (for storage)

Herbarium Specimen Prepar­ation Protocol

1.Coll­ection: Choose healthy and repres­ent­ative plant specimens from the field. Collect flowers, leaves, fruits, stems, and any other relevant parts. Make sure to record relevant inform­ation such as location, date, habitat, and collec­tor's name.
2.Pres­sing: Place the collected plant parts between sheets of absorbent paper. Arrange them in a way that the parts are not overla­pping. Place the sheets inside a plant press, making sure the specimens are centered. Add more layers of absorbent paper between specimens if needed. Tighten the press using straps or bolts.
3.Drying: Place the press in a dry and well-v­ent­ilated area, away from direct sunlight. Check regularly and replace the absorbent paper if it becomes damp. The specimens usually take about 1-2 weeks to dry comple­tely.
4.Moun­ting: Once the specimens are dry, remove them from the press. Arrange the dried plant parts on a herbarium sheet. Include leaves, flowers, fruits, and stems if available. Use small pieces of acid-free mounting paper or glue to attach the plant parts to the sheet.
5.Labe­ling: Prepare labels with essential inform­ation: scientific name, location, date of collec­tion, collec­tor's name, habitat details, and any other relevant data. Attach these labels to the herbarium sheet near the mounted specimen.
6.Mounting Sheet: Attach the herbarium sheet to a standard size mounting paper using glue or specia­lized tape. The mounting paper provides support and protection for the herbarium sheet.
7.Cove­ring: Place a protective transp­arent sheet over the mounted herbarium specimen to prevent physical damage, dust, and moisture. This helps preserve the specimen for long periods.
8.Cata­loging: Record all relevant inform­ation about the specimen, including the scientific name, collection date, location, habitat, and collec­tor's name, in a herbarium database. This helps in easy retrieval and reference.
9.Storage: Store the prepared herbarium specimens in a cool, dry, and pest-free enviro­nment. Ideally, a dedicated herbarium cabinet with controlled humidity and temper­ature should be used.
10.Mai­nte­nance: Regularly inspect the stored specimens for signs of deteri­ora­tion, such as mold or insect damage. Make necessary repairs or replac­ements to ensure the long-term preser­vation of the collec­tion.
Data Collec­tion: Record collection location, date, habitat, and collec­tor's name.
Observ­ations: Note any changes in specimen appearance during drying and mounting.
Results and Analysis: Analyze the quality of the prepared herbarium specimens.
Conclu­sion:Successful prepar­ation of herbarium specimens ensures their preser­vation and usability for future reference.

Exploring e-Herb­arium at virtual platform.

1. Access the Website: Open your web browser and go to the Indian Virtual Herbarium website.
2.Explore Naviga­tion: Famili­arize yourself with the website's layout. Look for navigation menus, search bars, and options.
3.Search Options: Locate the search bar, typically found on the homepage or in the navigation menu.
4.Keyword Search: Enter relevant keywords such as scientific name, family, country, collector, or any other criteria you have. Click the "­Sea­rch­" button.
5.Browse Results: Browse through the search results. Thumbnails or brief inform­ation about the specimens should be displayed.
6.Filter Results (Optio­nal): If available, use filters to refine your search. Filters could include family, location, collector, collection date, etc.
7.Select Specimen: Click on a specimen that interests you to view more detailed inform­ation.
8.Detailed View: You will be directed to a detailed page about the selected specimen. This may include images, collection details, taxonomy, and other relevant inform­ation.
9.Download or Save: If permitted, you might be able to download images or inform­ation about the specimen. Use the provided options to save the content if needed.
10.Back to Results: Use the back button or navigation to return to your search results.
11.New Search:If your initial search didn't yield desired results, modify your keywords, filters, or search criteria and try again.
12.Explore Additional Features: Check for any additional features on the website, such as intera­ctive maps, data visual­iza­tions, or educat­ional resources related to the specimens.
13.Fee­dback and Contact: If you encounter any issues or have feedback, look for contact inform­ation or a feedback option on the website to get in touch with the admini­str­ators.
Remember that the specific layout and features of the virtual herbarium website might evolve over time, so always refer to the website's current interface and instru­ctions.


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