Research Branch

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Techniques and procedures for collecting, preserving, processing, and storing botanical specimens

Author(s) or contact(s): BC Ministry of Forests - Research Branch
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Botany
Series: Working Paper
Other details:  Published 1996. Hardcopy is available.


Botanical collections are essential to our understanding of British Columbia's flora and plant communities. A good-quality herbarium reference collection provides the following:

- a tool for plant identification;
- a data source for research on the taxonomy and distribution of plant groups and for writing handbooks and floras;
- an historical record of plant locations, and of a collector's contribution to the science of botany;
- a repository for voucher specimens related to published scientific reports;
- an educational resource for learning to recognize the plant species of an area; and
- accurate and permanent documentation of botanical information that adds credibility to data collected in vegetation surveys.

This manual lists equipment and describes techniques and procedures for collecting, preserving, processing, and storing plant specimens. Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, and hornworts) and lichens require different collection and preservation techniques, and are treated separately from vascular plants (seed plants, ferns, clubmosses and horsetails) in this report. In the appendices you will find information to assist you in obtaining supplies, contacting herbaria, or locating reference texts for British Columbia flora.

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Updated November 04, 2009