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A herbarium or herbarium ( from Latin: herba = herb) is a collection of dried and pressed plants or parts of plants for scientific purposes, or for documentation and as leading to Proof of employment with botany.

Individual plants or its parts are glued on as a recognizable unit on a herbarium sheet.

Creating a herbarium

To create a herbarium, first plants must be collected. Previously Botanisiertrommeln were used to meet today plastic bags that purpose. The plants should be pressed before they wither, otherwise important features such as leaf shape and flower structure are no longer clearly visible. In order to press the plants, using either special grid plant presses with extension springs or the simple case shall be the plant between newsprint and wood panels and complained this (eg with heavy books ). The paper should be changed in very damp plants every day, or every two days.

Collecting or Herbarisieren some species is strictly forbidden by the current Federal Species Protection Ordinance ( BArtSchV ) and can be punishable by substantial fines. Therefore, seek accurate information before Herbarisieren.

Purpose of an herbarium

A herbarium allows botanists to compare plants of different origins and to check uncertain terms ( " Vergleichsherbar " ) or presence of certain types of evidence to their growing sites ( " Belegherbar "). By evaluating older herbaria can be often changes in the frequency or shifts in the distribution areas of trace. The later ( re) determining a plant in the herbarium is almost always possible; the spatial structures remain namely obtained from the drying and pressing. While colors may fade or change; However, use is made of certain " rules of thumb " - so you know that yellow plant parts are slow black after drying.

To ensure permanent access to the collected plants Herbarpflanzen be stored under climate- controlled conditions. Dry storage is important to prevent rot and mildew. Dust lice, beetles museum or other collection pests that live on dried plants are best combated by random freezing. The individual herbarium sheets are kept lying in the optimal case in shallow trays. The views about the use of plastic foils to cover instead of paper are divided. The name of a plant species often goes to a certain dried specimen, the holotype of this kind, in a herbarium back.

Creating a herbarium was formerly a prerequisite for the preliminary examination as a pharmacist. Even today, the application of a small herbarium is required as training in biology and related studies and programs at many universities. In some cases a small herbarium is also applied at school in biology class; the requirements here are of course much lower.

Claim to a herbarium sheet

The gathered on a herbarium sheet plant is to be complete and of good quality. For large plants should be present relevant parts of plants ( flowers / fruit, leaf, shoot, root ). The plant material is without damage (mechanical, fungus, yellowing ) to be pressed and dried and interesting ingredients should be clearly visible. To prevent damage during handling, the plants are stuck with rubberized strips of paper on the herbarium sheet. Minimal information on a Herbariumsblatt are locality (preferably GPS coordinates ), find the date and page. Most also the scientific name of the plant is given. It is common that the collector assigns a unique number for each voucher specimen collection. Of importance for future viewers also have information on the location, frequency, companion plants and other observations. In addition, features should be noted, are detectable only on the living plant ( total plant height in woody plants, color of fresh flowers, etc.).

Virtual Herbarium

Meanwhile, some herbaria have digitized parts of their collections to make them for example via the Internet available to a broad audience. Herbarium Digital is a research project to streamline virtualization ( digitization ) of botanical specimen material.

Large herbaria

Important herbaria can be found at major botanical gardens, museums and scientific institutions:

  • London ( Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Herbarium ) - about 7 million documents
  • Paris ( Musée National d' Histoire Naturelle ) - about 7.5 million documents
  • New York (New York Botanical Garden) - about 7 million documents
  • Geneva ( Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève ) - about 6 million documents
  • Saint Petersburg ( VL Komarov Botanical Institute) - about 5.8 million documents
  • St. Louis ( Missouri Botanical Garden) - about 5.5 million documents
  • London ( The Natural History Museum ) - about 5.2 million documents
  • Vienna ( Naturhistorisches Museum ) - about 5 million documents
  • Berlin " Herbarium Berolinense " ( Berlin Botanical Garden ) - about 3.5 million documents
  • Jena " Herbarium servant " ( Friedrich -Schiller- University Jena, Institute of Systematic Botany) - about 3 million documents
  • Munich ( Botanical State Collection Munich) - about 3 million documents, many of the holotype.
  • Paris
  • Hamburg Herbarium Hamburgense the University of Hamburg, Biocenter Klein - Flottbeck - 1.4 million documents, 4,000 type specimens.