Herbarium Management


[University of Florida Herbarium]

  Collection Acquisitions and Set Preparation

  • Acquisitions Policies - establish an acquisition policy. This policy should govern the type and condition of material to be acquired, geographic focus and legal stipulations. Consideration should be given to the ability of the institution to maintain and store the acquired material.
    Example: University of Florida Herbarium Collection Acquisitions Policy
  • Sources of incoming material:
    • In-house staff, student and volunteer collections.
    • In-house material that has been stashed, neglected or orphaned.
    • Gifts from individuals and institutions.
    • Exchange.
    • Purchase.
    • Acquiring orphaned collections.
  • Criteria:
    • Have scientific importance.
    • Be of reasonable quality.
    • Include adequate documentation (i.e., complete label data).
    • Collected in compliance with all applicable laws. (Look up the Lacey Act)
  • Conditions of sets and common problems:
    • Unidentified material.
    • Unlabeled pressed collections with field notes.
    • Unlabeled pressed collections with notes scribbled on newspapers.
    • Unlabeled pressed collections with acidic labels.
    • Unlabeled pressed collections with confusing labels.
    • Collections mounted on non-archival materials.
    • Improperly pressed specimens (e.g., wider than herbarium sheets, not enough labels)
    • Collections with duplicate material.
  • Sorting specimens into sets.
    • Aquaint yourself with the specimen set and determine what portion of the specimens would be appropriate to keep for your collection. Typically, a full, first set* of specimens is kept by the institution and duplicate sets are created based on the remainder.
    • *The full, first set is a representative selection of specimens from a project/collection. Generally, this set is one of each taxon (not one of each collection number) collected for a floristic project with minimal duplication of species to represent variations in habitats, geography (such as different counties), morphology (flowering, fruiting, variation in leaf shape and growth form) and phenology.
    • It is best to have the specimens sorted by family or taxon to begin with. This makes it easiest to compare specimens of taxa and to select the most representative specimens.
    • Select the specimen or specimens for each taxon for the first set and place one of each duplicate in stacks for set 2, 3, 4, etc. The duplicate sets should be focused more on diversity of taxa than the first set. Therefore, each duplicate set should get only one specimen for each taxon except, perhaps, one in flower and one in fruit. The duplicate sets will be used for exchange.

[University of Florida Herbarium]
University of Florida Herbarium collections:
Vascular Plants | Herbarium Library
Bryophyte and Lichens | Mycological
Wood | Paleobotany (affiliated collection)
[Florida Museum of Natural History]

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Page last updated: 1 May 2013
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