How to Preserve and Label
Dry Plant Specimens
will learn how to preserve a dry plant specimen by correctly mounting
and labeling it on herbarium (or construction) paper.
NOTE: To help students do this correctly, written student instructions
are on Student Activity
When the plant specimens have dried and it is time to
mount them on herbarium paper, the teacher will need to demonstrate
how this is done. The process is easy, but may require some practice.
Once the teacher is confident about the process, take the students through
each of the following steps:
1) Make a solution of one-half water and one-half white glue by mixing
them together in a beaker or jar.
2) Place a 14" X 16" piece of glass (or a cafeteria tray) in the middle
of several newspapers (to help keep glue drips to a minimum).
3) Leaving a space around the edge of the glass (or tray), spread the
glue/water solution evenly with a paint brush or folded paper towel.
Do not cover the whole glass (or tray) with glue; leave a clean
margin around the edge.
4) Examine the dry plant specimen and select which side should be positioned
5) Place the dry plant specimen on a sheet of herbarium paper and position
it to leave room for a label in the bottom right corner. The paper may
be marked lightly with a pencil to show the position of the plant.
6) Carefully place the dry plant specimen on the glue solution on the
glass or tray. Take care not to get too much glue on the specimen.
7) Pick the specimen up out of the glue and hold it for a minute so
excess glue can drip off. Carefully place the plant on the herbarium
paper as marked. Don't smear the glue around - just lay the plant specimen
8) Place waxed-paper over the specimen and place weights (usually books)
on top of the waxed-paper until the glue is dry.
9) Place the Plant
Collecting Data Form with the plant or write all the collection
data (from the plant press newspaper) lightly in pencil on the lower
right corner of the mounted specimen. Later a formal label with all
the information written in proper form will be placed on the lower corner
SPECIAL NOTE: Stress
the need to be NEAT. Glue smeared all over the plant or paper does
not make an appealing specimen. Middle school students can make a mess
with watery glue very quickly.
Have each group mount a plant specimen and check their