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Make a herbarium

You will need:

  • Old newspapers and a scrap book.
  • Samples of plants from your backyard - include flowers as well!
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Heavy books, e.g. phone books


  1. Use a plant ID book to identify the plants in your garden. Include Australian natives and exotics
  2. Pick flowers, leaves and stems from each tree. Try to keep the leaves and flowers on the stems
  3. Place a piece of cardboard on the floor, with a sheet of newspaper covering it
  4. Now place one plant specimen onto the newspaper, with notes on what plant it is
  5. Place another sheet of newspaper over the plant material and then cover with a cardboard sheet
  6. Repeat this process, for all of your plant specimens - making a plant sandwich!
  7. Finishing with a cardboard sheet, place as many heavy books on top to make a 'plant press'
  8. 8. Change the paper every 1 - 2 days. After 1 - 2 months the plants will be flat and dry
Pressing-plants for a herbarium

Professional plant press; note the corrugated cardboard and paper between each plant sheet

Preserving plant material is a major responsibility for botanic gardens around the world.
There are type specimens that go back over 200 years in some cases (a type specimen is the first specimen first identified as an example of a unique species from which all other comparisons to that species are taken).

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