Plant Collection for Botany 113


Each student in Botany 113 will make a collection of plants as part of the course requirements. Each student collection will be presented in the format of a formal herbarium collection such as that found at Centralia College. Details and instructions for the collection are as follows.† Refer to Chapter 7 of your textbook for further information on plant collecting.


Collection overview

         30 specimens, each a different species.† 10 of these will be formally mounted.†

         Plant species you may use include angiosperms, gymnosperms or ferns.† (No mosses, horsetails, or lichens).† Because of difficulties in identification, do not use grasses or other graminoids.

         For reasons of conservation, do not collect orchids or Trillium; be aware of other rare species including some members of the lily family.† To be certain you are not collecting rare plants, identify them before you pick them.†

         Do not take a plant even locally uncommon.† Do not take a plant if you see less than 5 in an area.†

         Plants should be native to or naturalized in our region. Horticultural varieties are not to be included, but non-native invasive plants are acceptable if they are listed in Pojar and McKinnon.

         Do not collect from the Kiser Native Plant Garden or elsewhere on campus.†

         Grading is based on quality of specimens, correct identification, proper labeling and mounting, and neatness.

         Ten of your best specimens will be formally mounted. The others will be presented in folds of newspaper.

         A preliminary collection is due Thursday, May 7th, consisting of 5 plants pressed and labeled in newspaper.†

         Plant collections are due on Thursday, June 4th.


Collecting Plants

         Locate and collect a representative plant, or collect a range of flower color, type, etc.

         Collect a plant with reproductive (cone, flower or fruit) parts and more than one leaf present on a stem.

         To minimize damage to native plants, do not collect roots of plant.

         If plant has basal leaves which are different from leaves on stem, collect samples of these.

         Use a field notebook to take notes about the plant specimen. Include date collected, location where collected, notes on size of plant if entire plant is not collected, type of root, flower color, whether plant has milky juice, odor, or any other characteristics that will be lost when the plant is collected.

         Hint: Number the plant by taping a tag to plant or numbering the plastic bag in which plant is placed. Use a corresponding number in plant notebook to record details about plant.

         Plants wilt easily.† Put your specimens in a plastic bag, transfer to refrigerator if you canít press right away.† Donít leave them in a car.

         Obtain permission before you collect plants on private property.† Be discrete in public areas.

         Be respectful of the natural environment and others who wish to enjoy it.†


Pressing Plants

         Place the plants in a once-folded newspaper. Number the newspaper to correspond with the plant. If you are using a shared plant press, be sure your name is on each newspaper with your plants.

         Arrange the plant so the floral parts and other identifying characters are well displayed.

         Place the folded newspaper with its plant specimen enclosed between blotters.

         Place blotters between corrugated cardboard to allow air circulation.

         Apply weight or pressure to plant press by use of weights, straps or tightened rope.

         A phone book may substitute for a plant press for small plants.†

         Most plants will dry in about 3 days under normal, room-temperature conditions.†



Mounting Plants

Ten of your specimens will be formally mounted. The others should be presented in folds of newspaper.

Materials Needed:

         glue (such as Elmer's)


         brush (optional)

         piece of 10" x 15" glass or cookie sheet

         herbarium-quality paper sheets (100% cotton fiber) - provided.

         waxed paper


After the specimen is dried you can proceed to the final mounting.


Mounting Procedure:

         Dilute glue with water (2:1) and spread it evenly over the glass or cookie sheet using a brush.

         Place dried specimen on glue-covered glass and press softly to assure complete and uniform gluing.

         Lift plant specimen from glass with two pairs of tweezers and carefully place it on the sheet.

         Place and glue identification label (see model) at the lower right hand corner of the page.

         If you canít let air dry completely before stacking them, place waxed paper between specimens.


Specimen Label:

Your labels should follow the model given here. They will be typed for all 30 specimens.

         Habitat describes the type of environment where a specimen was collected (e.g. moist low elevation forest, dry prairie, gravel bar in stream channel).†

         Location describes how to find a collection site (name of park, road, county, street address in a town, etc.)



Latin name:

Common name(s):






Collected by:†††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Date:



Additional Comments:





Turning in your plant collection:

         The 20 unmounted plants should be placed each in a separate fold of newspaper (the Blue and Gold is the perfect size).† The label for that plant should be in the same fold.

         Stack your 10 mounted plants on top of your 20 plants in newspaper, and place all in the folder provided.†

         Type a list of the scientific names of your 30 plants in the order youíve stacked them, and include that in your folder.†

         Make sure your name is on the outside of the folder near the top edge.†

         Your collection is due by Thursday, June 4th.† (You may turn them in early.)