· Herbarium is a place where dried and pressed plants, specimens, mounted on sheets are kept systematically according to a widely accepted system of classification.
· Herbarium is a collection of plant samples present for long term study. These materials may includes pressed and mounted plants, seeds, wood section, pollen, microscopic slides, frozen DNA extractions and fluid preserved flowers and fruits. They all are referred to as herbarium specimens.
· Herbarium is a repository or store house for future use. Every institute teaching botany, school, college or university has a small or large herbarium.
· The first herbaria believed to have been established in 1570 in Bologna,, Italy by Luca Ghini.
· There are now 4000 herbaria are found in 165 countries.
· Very large herbaria are maintained by botanical gardens and institute maintained by botanical gardens and institute connected with plant systematic.
· Herbarium specimens are useful as references for plant identification and for the determination of plant locations and ranges, abundance, habitat and flowering and fruiting periods.
· They are used for studies in which differences between plant species are evaluated and described (monographic) or in which the species growing in a region are reported (flora).
· Every student of botany is required to collect plant specimens and prepare herbaria sheets.
1. Digger and pruning knife
2. Sickle with long handle
4. Polythene Bags
5. Magazines or newspapers
6. Bolting papers
7. Plant presser
8. Field notebook
9. Herbarium sheets
12. Small transparent polythene bags
Specimen (Herbarium Sheets) is of following types:
I. Holotype: Herbarium sheet on which the first description of plant is based.
II. Lectotype: In case if holotype is lost, second herbarium sheet is prepared from the original plant is called lectotype.
III. Neotype: In case holotype and original plant is lost then herbarium sheet is prepared from some other plant of same.
IV. Syntype: In case holotype and original plant is lost then many herbarium sheets prepared from many plants of same species.
V. Isotype: It is a duplicate of holotype. In presence of holotype, second herbarium sheets are prepared from original plant.
VI. Paratype: Additional herbarium sheet used in the first description of plant is called paratype. It is prepared from some other plant of same species having some variations.
Method of specimen collection and Mounting:
· An area is selected for botanical excursion. It is preferable to visit the same site in different seasons.
· For herbaceous species the entire plant with intact part is collected.
· For others, shoots having flowers, leaves and fruits are selected and cut with the help of pruning knife; sickle with long handle is used if the desired twigs are present at a height.
· Diggers are used to obtain underground part like root system, tuber, bulbs, corm, rhizome etc.
· The collected materials can be placed in polythene bags or vacuum.
Functions of Herbarium:
· It is an invaluable conservatory of plant material and data.
· It is storehouse of collection including the valuable type specimens. The herbaria greatly aid in all kinds of taxonomic researches.
· It serves as a fundamental resource for identification of all plants of the world.
· It serves as a source for collections of biodiversity. Most estimates of global diversity today are based on herbarium collections only.
· It aids in biodiversity monitoring by carrying out security of herbarium collection to obtain quantitative baseline data on the distribution and abundance of keystone species is essential for all monitoring programmes.
· It serves as a repository of voucher specimens.
· It aids in assessment of conservation status of a taxon.
· It serves as a source for search of new genetic material for improvement of cultivated stock.
· It aids in assessment and cataloging of all species of economic potential.
· It helps in development of computer database on plants and maintains active links to international network of systematic resource and electronic base.
Living organisms are classified to arrange them in systematic format. Classification is needed because it allows scientists to identify group and properly name organism.
Museum is an institution where artistic and educational materials are exhibited to the public, the material available in exhibition for study is called collection.
Zoological parks are places where wild animals are kept in protected environment under human core and which enable us to learn about their food habits and behavior.
Botanical gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purpose of scientific research, conservation, display and education.
Species is the lowest category of hierarchy. Taxonomic hierarchy is the arrangement of various categories in successive levels of the biological classification.