Collecting plants in the field
Each plant must be correctly collected, i.e. it must in principle be taken off the ground entirely (aerial and underground parts) and possess a maximum of elements that can help its identification (stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, roots or other organs).
As regards species for which it is not possible to collect a complete sample because of its size (for example ligneous plants or high graminaceae), a branch of 30 cms will be cut (or several parts separately).
In order to facilitate the identification and locate the sample, it is necessary to write down, apart from the reference number, complementary information that do not appear on the sample.
- height of the plant,
- growth habit (straight up, spread out, creeper, climber, etc...),
- colour of the flowers, fruits, leaves, stems,
- type of fruit (akenes, berries, drupes, etc...).
Description of the environment
- date of the collection,
- localisation of the plot (topography, soil, climate, etc...),
- type of environment (crop, fallow field, irrigated, inundated, etc...).
Conservation of the samples.
The samples will be laid out, well spread (specially for the leaves) between two sheets of newspaper. When the plant has bulky organs (fruits, tubers, roots, etc. ), it will be necessary to cut them lengthwise. If the plant is too big for the whole to be presented in a herbarium display, the plant must be cut in several portions showing the most representative characterisics.
It is preferable to pace a sheet of corrugated cardboard between several sheets of newspaper, thus allowing a better internal ventilation and a better drying. The complete set of newspaper sheets thus prepared will be pressed together. They will have to be renewed each day until the sample is totally dry.
Layout of the samples
After drying, the samples will be displayed on a sheet of paper (preferably cardboard) and maintained by sewing thread or scotch tape (do not use too much scotch tape, but just enough to keep the sample on the sheet since the hygrometric variations would break samples too tightly fixed).
The information sheet will be annexed with a name, and, if possible, the botanical name the common name, the plant and environment description and the name of the collector.
Sending for identification
When the sample is sent for identification, place it in a big envelope between two sheets of cardboards to avoid degradation. Note that sending a herbarium sample for scientific purposes does not need an import permit. It is possible to send also one or more pictures of the plant on paper or digital format.