Claude E Phillips Herbarium

What is a herbarium?

A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts; these will usually be in a dried form, mounted on a sheet. Other ways of preserving plants are through using alcohol or some other preservative. Delaware State University is home to the 87th largest herbarium in the U.S. out of approximately 525 and the largest herbarium at an HBCU!


How do you preserve a plant?

To preserve their form and color, plants collected in the field are spread flat on sheets of newsprint and dried, usually in a plant press. The specimens, which are then mounted on sheets of stiff white paper, are labeled with all pertinent data, such as collector, date, location, color of the flowers and/or foliage, altitude, and special habitat conditions.
Detailed information is absolutely required for future researchers!

Why do we have herbaria?

Herbaria are essential for the study of plant taxonomy, plant geography, and many other related fields. Herbaria also help to identify weeds, poisonous plants, contaminants in food and medicine, and other plants or plant parts important to the U.S. economy. Thus, it is important to include as much of the plant as possible (e.g., flowers, stems, leaves, fruit) to prepare a proper herbarium specimen.

Click on the link below to see a guide on perserving plant specimens.