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**History and Development:**
– Making of herbaria dates back at least six centuries
– Transformation of plant study from medicine to independent discipline
– Luca Ghini reintroduced study of actual plants in Italy
– Ghini’s methods of plant preservation in winter
– Carl Linnaeus introduced free sheets for easier organization

**Specimen Preservation and Collection:**
– Include as much of the plant as possible on a herbarium sheet
– Plants collected in the field are carefully arranged and dried
– Specimens are mounted on stiff white paper and labeled with essential data
– Soft or bulky plants may be stored in different ways
– Detailed information on collection included for preservation

**Management and Access:**
– Herbaria organize specimens into cases and folders by species, genus, and family
– Locating a specimen requires knowledge of nomenclature and possible name changes
– Many herbaria maintain electronic databases and digitize specimens
– Specimens can be accessed online for public use
– Large herbaria may have hundreds of cases filled with specimens

**Utilization and Importance:**
– Herbaria are essential for plant taxonomy and geographic distribution studies
Herbarium collections can aid in stabilizing nomenclature
– Specimens help in writing field guides for plant identification
– Herbaria preserve a historical record of vegetation changes over time
– Environmental scientists use herbarium data to track climate changes

**Institutional Herbaria and Resources:**
– Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, Sweden
– Many universities, museums, and botanical gardens maintain herbaria
– Each herbarium is assigned an alphabetic code in the Index Herbariorum
– Largest herbaria in the world are listed in order of size
– Various specialized collections like fungarium and wood collection exist

Herbarium (Wikipedia)

A herbarium (plural: herbaria) is a collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data used for scientific study.

Herbarium book which dates from 1633. Made by the Flemish Bernardus Wynhouts.

The specimens may be whole plants or plant parts; these will usually be in dried form mounted on a sheet of paper (called exsiccatum, plur. exsiccata) but, depending upon the material, may also be stored in boxes or kept in alcohol or other preservative. The specimens in a herbarium are often used as reference material in describing plant taxa; some specimens may be types, some may be specimens distributed in series called exsiccatae.

The same term is often used in mycology to describe an equivalent collection of preserved fungi, otherwise known as a fungarium. A xylarium is a herbarium specialising in specimens of wood. The term hortorium (as in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium) has occasionally been applied to a herbarium specialising in preserving material of horticultural origin.

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