Friday, 12 December 2008

My herbarium

For several years I have been making a herbarium.

I've been collecting, drying and pressing one of each of the plants I have found growing on our property at Homerton. Each collection is mounted on card and labelled with the GPS reading, date, scientific name and family, common name and details of the environment I found it in such as soil, dampness etc. I also photograph the plant. (I should point out that I don't collect rare or threatened plants.)

It's been a lot of fun and I'm always on the lookout for new plants to add to my herbarium. One of the best aspects has been that it has forced me to look at the references to try to identify the unknowns. Now I'm extending the project by mapping where I find those plants in the an area of about 10 kms by 14 kms around the property - this corresponds to one block on the grid in Flora of Victoria. If I find a plant that's not listed in my area on the DSE list (called the Flora Information System, FIS) I send in my record which is gratefully accepted. I feel like I'm contributing to the greater body of knowledge in a small way.

For a long time I resisted recording weeds, but have finally come to the realisation that they are an important component of the environment now and we should be keeping tabs on them. So now I look for weeds as well and send in reports to FIS.

This is one of my mounted collections. It's Amyema pendulum Drooping Mistletoe in the Loranthaceae family. Because it's a mistletoe I included a piece of the plant I found it growing on, Acacia podalryiifolia Queensland Silver Wattle growing in the farmhouse garden.

1 comment:

Graeme Lyall said...

An excellent idea, one that has gone out of fashion, but has a great deal to offer. It certainly helps you get to know your plants, and there is no better reference guide than a folder of dried specimens.

I love weeds so I am glad they are getting the attention they deserve!

good luck