Making a herbarium

Making a herbarium is not rocket science and will teach you a lot about the common plants of your area.

If you are nature lovers and often see many plants varieties as you walk in the woods or on your own land, you will find it very easy to make a herbarium and your kids will love this natural science activity with the whole family.

What is a herbarium?

A herbarium is a collection of dried plants that are glued on a rigid support and identified with labels bearing the scientific name of the species, its English name, the region where it was picked, the harvest date, its utility if any (medicinal, edible, etc.) and the name of the picker. Collected species may be classified by name, region or any other category that you will determine as your collection evolves.

To preserve the ecosystem, pick species that are abundant in the harvesting area. If you allow your children to pick flowers on their own in your garden, be sure to tell them which ones should not be picked and give them gloves because some plants can cause allergic reactions or sting. Remember that it is strictly prohibited to harvest plants in National Parks.

You will need
  • White glue
  • A heavy book or a dictionary
  • A notebook or a binder
  • A pen
  • Labels
  • A book or website about plants
What are the steps?

First, you must pick your plants properly. Whenever you can, pick the whole plant with parts of its root.

Afterwards, you must keep the plant or the flower in a temporary place where it will not rot or place it directly in blotting paper. Carefully place your plant in a position that will show its best parts and place it under a heavy book or in a dictionary where you will leave it until completely dry.

Some plants contain more water than others. If your plant is very humid, change the paper after a few hours so it does not rot.

Once dry, you can glue your plant on the page of a notebook made of thick paper, in a photo album with sticky pages covered with a plastic sheet or in a binder where you will be able to reclassify it at will as you will learn about the various species.

Extra dried flowers and plants can also be used to make greeting cards and other crafts.

For more information

Image de Anne Costisella

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