Florida Museum of Natural History

University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)

JR Abbott Agapanthus 24713 specimen
Specimen Preparation Guide (Plant Mounting)

Researchers in many fields of study utilize herbarium specimens. It takes considerable effort to collect, prepare and store these specimens. Plant collector's may have hiked and camped for days to obtain the specimen you are mounting. The specimen must be pressed, dried, identified and have a label prepared. Plant mounting is one of the last steps in the long process. In some cases, there may be few specimens of the plant in existence. Therefore, each specimen should be treated with the utmost of care.

Our goal is to permanently preserve plant specimen collections for long-term study. Therefore, attention is given to insure that all materials used are archival and nothing done to the specimen will degrade its scientific qualities.

Materials and Supplies
Pressed Plant Specimen with typed label and, possibly, one or more annotation slips.
THE MOUNTING CABINET next to the door of the mounting room contains specimens to be mounted. Select the top stack of specimens under the "MOUNT" sign on the left side of the cabinet unless you have been given a special set to work with. Always close the cabinet door securely.
Mounting Cabinet Shelf in Mounting Cabinet
THE PRESSED PLANT SPECIMEN will be in a folded paper cover, usually a newspaper, and should contain one or more typed labels. The specimens may also include slips with plant name changes (annotations), project titles and/or source institutional recognition. Beware, there may be scraps of paper that are not archival and extraneous notes that should not be mounted. Pressed Plant Specimen with Label
  • Glue We currently use Jade 403 PVA Adhesive, but this is subject to change.
    Each mounter will have their own small jar of glue obtained from the gallon container. The glue should be the consistency of honey, if necessary, it may be slightly diluted (up to ca. 6 parts glue with 1 part water). Be very careful not to dilute the glue too much. Don't let the glue sit with the top off of the jar for long periods, unless you are using it, it will skim over. Don't shut the lid of the glue jar or squeeze bottle too tightly and keep them clean or they will become glued shut!
  • Mounting Paper (acid-free paper, 11 1/2" X 16 1/2").
    There are two weights. The heavier weight should be used in special cases where the specimen is bulky and the normal weight paper will not support it. When starting a new box, please inspect the box and make sure the sheets are cut evenly and don't have any blemishes. Make sure each sheet you use is clean.
  • Paint Brush
  • Plastic Squeeze Bottle
  • Gummed strips
  • Fragment packets
  • Plastic clips
  • Paint brushes
  • Scissors
  • Weights (stones and tiles)
  • Cardboard
  • Wax Paper
  • Foam Pad
  • Scalpel
  • Paper Towels
  • Thread
Materials and Supplies Materials and Supplies
Evaluate the Specimen
Compare the collection number on label and pressing paper.
Arrange the Specimen
Arrange the Specimen
Glue the Label and Annotations Slips
Glue the Label Glue the Label Glue the Label
Glue the Plant Specimen (unless there are instructions to use only strips or sew the specimen)
Glue the Specimen
Add Cotton Strips and Sew Bulky Stems
Add strips to flower stem
Add strips to petiole Sew bulky stems
Add a Fragment Packet / Save Loose Pieces
Add fragment contents
Add fragment packet Secure with plastic clip
Save Information
Tips for Unusual Specimens
Stack the Mounted Specimens
Stack specimens to dry
Additional Comments

Specimens are usually mounted only when they have labels. There are rare instances when specimens are mounted before the labels are prepared. Great care must be taken to make sure the correct collection numbers correlates with each specimen.

Specimen Repair

Special instructions will be given for specimen repair. The following are usual guidelines: