Florida Museum of Natural History

University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)

Specimen Preparation Guide (Fragment Packets)

Fragment packets hold materials that are not suitable for mounting (such as detached acorns and small fruits) and specimen fragments that break loose from herbarium specimens. It is our standard practice to place a fragment packet on every herbarium sheet. The packet should be of a size that will contain materials that are likely to break loose from the sheet.

Fragment packets may be made of paper or plastic. Material in paper packets is generally more accessible and paper packets are more economical. Plastic packets should only be used in rare cases. Plastic packets may not fumigate as well as paper packets, and may be more likely to harbor insect pests. Please note, that paper packets should be made of archival, acid-free paper and plastic packets should be made of archival plastic.

Packets are available from a variety of vendors. Paper packets are generally sold flat and scored, not pre-folded. It is almost as easy to make a packet from scratch as it is to use the pre-scored packets.

Making a Paper Fragment Packet

The two common packet sizes used at the University of Florida Herbarium are made from an 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of archival paper cut in half (i.e., 8 1/2" X 5 1/2") or in quarters (i.e., 4 1/4" X 5 1/2"). Sometimes packets are also made from full sheets (i.e., 8 1/2" X 11").

Fold the bottom of the long portion of the paper just over one-third of the length and fold the top portion down along the edge of the bottom. Be sure there are no gaps between the fold and the bottom edge of the paper. The bottom folded section should be slightly longer than the top folded section so that the top flap does not exceed the bottom.

Open the top section flap and fold along both the left and right edges to make 1" or 1 1/4" side flaps. Both sizes of side flaps are needed to accomodate a variety of materials and to fit on sheets.

Open the side flaps and make a v-fold at the bottom of each (i.e., like a paper airplane fold).

Fold the side flaps back.

Refold the top section flap back down.

Acknowledgement: photos by Frances Combs.