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INTRODUCTION.

Chap. IV. Collection, Peeseryation, and Determination of Plants.

224. Plants can undoubtedly be most easily and satisfactorily examined when freshly gathered. But time will rarely admit of this being done, and it is moreover desirable to compare them with other plants previously observed or collected. Specimens must, therefore, be selected for leisurely observation at home, and preserved for future reference. A collection of such specimens constitutes a Herharium. . A botanical Specimen, to be perfect, should have root^ stem^ leaves^ flowers (both open and in bud) and fmit (both young and mature). It is not, however, always possible to gather such complete specunens, but the collector should aim at completeness. Fragments, such as leaves vvithout flowers, or flowers without leaves, are of little or no use. . If the plant is small (not exceeding 15 in.) or can be reduced to that length by folding, the specimen should consist of the whole plant, including the principal part of the root. If it be too large to preserve the whole, a good flowering branch shovild be selected, with the fohage as low down as can be gathered with it ; and one or two of the lower stem-leaves or radical leaves, if any, should be added, so as to preserve as much as possible of the peculiar aspect of the plant, . The specimens should be taken from healthy uninjured plants of a medium size. Or if a specimen be gathered because it looks a little different from the majority of those around it, appai'ently belonging to the same species, a specimen of the more prevalent form shoidd be taken from the same locahty for comparison. . For biingiug the specimens horoe, a hght portfolio of pasteboard, covered with cahco or leather, furnished with straps and buckles for closing, and another for slinging on the shoulder, and contaming a few sheets of stout coarse paper, is better than the old-fashioned tin box (except, perhaps, for stiff prickly plants and a few others). The specimens as gathered are placed between the leaves of paper, and may be crowded to- gether if not left long without sorting, . If the specimen brought home be not immediately determined when fresh, but dried for future examination, a note should be taken of the time, place, and situation in which it was gathered ; of the stature, habit, and other particulars re- lating to any tree, shrub, or herb of which the specimen is only a portion ; of the kind of root it has ; of the colour of the flower ; or of any other particulars which the specimen itself cannot supply, or which may be lost in the process of drying. These memoranda, whether taken down in the field, or from the living specimen when brought home, should be written on a label attached to the specimen or pre- served with it, . To dry specimens, they are laid flat between several sheets of bibulous paper, and subjected to pressure. The paper is subsequently changed at intervals, until they are dry. . In laying out the specimen, care should be taken to preserve the natural posi- tion of the parts as far as consistent with the laying flat. In general, if the specimen is fresh and not very slender, it may be simply laid on the lower sheet, holding it by the stalk and drawing it slightly downwards ; then, as the upper sheet is laid over, if it be slightly drawn downwards as it is pressed down, it will be found, after a few trials, that the specimen will have retained a natural fonn with very little trouble. If the specimen has been gathered long enough to have become flaccid, it will require more care in laying the leaves flat and giving the parts their proper direction. Speci- mens kept in tm boxes, will also often have taken unnatural bends which will require to be corrected. . If the specimen is very bushy, some branches must be thinned out, but always so as to show where they liave been. If any part, such as the head of a thistle, the stem of an Orohanclie^ or the bulb of a Lily, be very thick, a portion of what is to be the under side of the specimen may be shced ofi". Some thick specimens may be spht from top to bottom before drying.

. If the specimen be succulent or tenacious of life, such as a Sedum or an