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Herbarium – Preparation and Uses

Herbaria are store houses of preserved plant collections. Plants are preserved in the form of pressed and dried specimens mounted on a sheet of paper. Herbaria act as a centre for research and function as sources of material for systematic work.

Preparation of Herbarium Specimen

Herbarium Specimen is defined as a pressed and dried plant sample that is permanently glued or strapped to a sheet of paper along with a documentation label. Preparation of herbarium specimen includes the following steps.

  1. Plant Collection: Field collection, Liquid preserved collection, Living collection, Collection for molecular studies.
  2. Documentation of field site data
  3. Preparation of plant specimen
  4. Mounting herbarium specimen
  5. Herbarium labels
  6. Protection of herbarium sheets against mold and insects

Uses of Herbarium

  1. Herbarium provides resource material for systematic research and studies.
  2. It is a place for orderly arrangement of voucher specimens.
  3. Voucher specimen serves as a reference for comparing doubtful newly collected fresh specimens.
  4. Voucher specimens play a role in studies like floristic diversity, environmental assessment, ecological mechanisms and survey of unexplored areas.
  5. Herbarium provides opportunity for documenting biodiversity and studies related to the field of ecology and conservation biology.

Kew Herbarium

Kew Garden is situated in South West London that houses the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world” founded in the year 1840. Living collection includes more than 30,000 different kinds of plants.

While herbarium which is one of the largest in the world has over seven million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 7,50,000 volumes and the illustrations and also a collection of more than 1,75,000 prints, books, photographs, letters, manuscripts, periodicals, maps and botanical illustrations.

Preparation of Herbarium Specimen
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International Herbarium
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National Herbarium
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