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collection of dried and mounted plant specimens used in systematic botany. To preserve their form and color, plants collected in the field are spread flat in sheets of newsprint and dried, usually in a plant press, between blotters or absorbent paper. The specimens, mounted on sheets of stiff white paper, are labeled with all essential data, e.g., date, where found, description of the plant, altitude, special habitat conditions, and placed in a protective case. As a precaution against insect attack the pressed plant is frozen or poisoned and the cases disinfected. Herbariums are essential for the study and verification of plant classification, the study of geographic distributions, and the standardizing of nomenclature. Thus inclusion of as much of the plant (e.g., flowers, stems, leaves, seed, and fruit) as possible is desirable. Linnaeus' herbarium now belongs to the Linnaean Society in England. Most universities maintain herbariums. Notable herbariums in the United States include the Gray Herbarium at Harvard and those at the U.S. National Museum (of the Smithsonian Institution) and at the New York and Missouri botanical gardens.


See P. W. Leenhouts, A Guide to the Practice of Herbarium Taxonomy (1968); P. K. Holmgren et al., ed., Index Herbariorum (1990).



(1) A collection of specially gathered dried plants, intended for scientific processing. A more or less complete herbarium, gathered within a definite territory, makes possible “systematic floristic study. Compilation of a herbarium is usually accompanied by various geobotanical, soil, and other studies.

One of the largest herbariums in the world, consisting of over 5 million sheets, is in the V. L. Komarov Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Leningrad). The herbarium at Moscow State University numbers over 600,000 sheets. The principal herbarium of the flora of Middle Asia is stored at the Middle Asian State Institute (Tashkent). There are important herbariums in Kiev (approximately 900,000 sheets), Tbilisi, Tomsk, and other cities of the USSR. The largest herbariums abroad are in Prague, London (Linnaean Herbarium), at Kew Gardens (approximately 6.5 million), Geneva (de Candolle and Boissier, 4 million), Paris (6 million, including 1 million sheets of spore plants), Washington, D.C., and Vienna.

Besides general floristic herbariums, there are special ones containing food, commercial, and other plants. For example, the All-Union Institute of Horticulture in Leningrad has the world’s largest collection of cereal, vegetable, and other plants. Plants gathered for a herbarium are filed in a field portfolio between unpasted sheets of paper, and tied. Each plant taken for the herbarium is accompanied by a label (5 × 10 cm) indicating its sequential number, name, location (oblast, region, nearest populated place), habitat (meadow, forest), collection date, and surname and initials of the collector. The plants are first spread to dry between sheets of absorbent paper (filter, wrapping, newsprint) with 3-4 blank sheets between those with plants. The dried plants are mounted on sheets of heavy paper 42 × 28 cm, and the label is transferred to this sheet (on the lower right).

(2) An establishment to house collections of dried plants and to process them scientifically. In a herbarium the sheets with plants of the same species are placed in the general, so-called species file or jacket, and sheets with plants of the same genus in the genus file. Herbariums of plant families are in separate folders. Plant species are filed alphabetically, genera alphabetically or in taxonomic order, and families usually in taxonomic order.


Siuzev, P. V. Gerbarii, 7th ed. Moscow, 1949.
Shishkin, B. K. Kak sostavliat’ gerbarii, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.



A collection of plant specimens, pressed and mounted on paper or placed in liquid preservatives, and systematically arranged.
A building where a herbarium is housed.
References in periodicals archive ?
We visited the following herbaria searching for syntypes of Cheilanthes incisa and its synonyms: FI, G, K, L, LE, OXF, PR, and PRC.
Beginning in 1974, after a year of gaining first-hand familiarity with the Bahama flora, he began visiting major herbaria such as NY to compare critical materials he had obtained with types and other authentic materials at those institutions.
1: Approximate rate of spread of Dittrichia graveolens in California as represented by the number of California counties where plant collections have been made between 1984 and 2012 (Consortium of California Herbaria 2012).
However, over the past year my increasing interest in herbaria has made me want to spend more time studying them.
This trail, combined with collection of the plants for herbaria and for sale by nurseries, reduced the species' limited numbers.
Specimens from this voyage are housed in herbaria in Vienna (W) and Buxelles (BR).
This is the fourth and final volume of an endeavor begun over 70 years ago--a project to prepare an atlas based on specimens in the major public herbaria, some smaller collections, botanical literature, and field work in underrepresented regions.
In my last column, I discussed herbaria and my newfound interest in them (Flannery, 2011).
belemii and can be easily confused with it, and this may be happening in herbaria.
He is a member of the steering committee for the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC), a multi-year project funded by the National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network that will link herbaria databases throughout the southeastern U.
BRIT, with a collection of approximately one million dried plant specimens representing most of the earth's plant families, has one of the largest herbaria in the United States.
The records with tantalizing old specimens in two California herbaria did not pinpoint the location, and no one had collected a live specimen in years.