How a herbarium specimen is made

Grass samples are mounted on standard size sheets, typically about 30x45 cm. Some essential elements can be observed in a herbarium sample.


OLOTIPO di Aquilegia lucensis E. Nardi della famiglia RANUNCULACEAE


  1. Dried plant: the main object is the pressed plant specimen. Collected in the field, usually pressed between sheets of newspaper, dried and carefully placed and fixed on a sheet of paper with adhesive straps. Samples can also be sewn on the sheet with needle and thread or fixed with pins.

  2. Labels: each herbarium sample is identified by a label, at the bottom right, containing several standard information. Among these, the scientific name of the plant (which can also be inserted later), the identity of the collector, the date and the place of collection;  other information can be added, such as the appearance of the live plant (colour, size, scent, etc). Other labels may identify the sample as “reference”, that is, the sample used for the description of a plant species, or update its identification.

  3. Barcode: this is the identification code of a single find: there are no two samples anywhere in the world with the same barcode!

  4. Colorimetric scale and ruler: These are standard references for digitized physical specimens. With the colorimetric scale, you can calibrate a computer monitor or adjust the colour in case the image gets printed. The ruler is a dimensional reference regardless of the image quality.

  5. Acquisition stamp: Indicates the date of entry into the herbarium and the name of the donor.

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