Mounting specimens

Mounting specimens

If you can, mount your specimens on card. This will display the specimen and data in a way that allows observation and detailed study, and also it will preserve the specimen. If you cannot get hold of card, then paper will do.

Make sure all working surfaces and hands are clean before starting this procedure to avoid making dirty marks on the herbarium sheet.

  • Remove all extraneous material from the specimen such as soil, mud, and any other plant species that may be mixed up with the sample.
  • Before gluing, arrange the plant specimen, label, and any paper capsules on the sheet so everything fits without hanging over the edges (Figure 2). Bear in mind the following possibilities: Display the best side of the specimen, it may be necessary to remove some leaves to reveal obscured features. Turn some leaves over to show both surfaces. Large specimens can either be cut and mounted on more than one sheet, or bent to fit in a V, M, or N shape. 
  • Once the arrangement is complete, apply PVA glue to selected areas on the underside of the plant specimen and place it on the card. Avoid gluing parts that may be useful in identification (e.g., nodes, floral parts). Instead concentrate the glue at internodes, stems, and leaf midribs. Use only enough glue to provide a firm attachment to the card or paper.
  • Affix the data label to the bottom right hand corner of the card or paper (see labelling specimens). Position it approximately 5mm from the edge, and attach by gluing along the top edge only. Note: Labels should be complete before being glued on the sheet.
  • Affix a paper capsule to the card if required. Fold and glue capsules according to instructions in Figure 3. Place small items, such as seeds, inside a small plastic bag in the capsule. If flowers are plentiful, remove several from the specimen and place them in the capsule for easy study.
  • Leave the specimen to dry on a clean flat surface. PVA glue takes about half an hour to set. Specimens can be kept in place with small weighted objects while drying.

This page last updated on 23 Sep 2012