All About Herbaria
What is a herbarium?
A herbarium is a collection of dried plant specimens that exists in a repository for long-term preservation and documentation. Herbaria have great historical, cultural and scientific value that directly benefit humanity, industries, and local communities if accessible to the people.
While most if not all herbaria are academically held institutions that do not provide direct access of their specimens to the public, we believe that separates those in the industry from being the decision-makers about cultivar standards. Canndor prides itself as being the People’s Herbarium- the first and only industry-based herbarium, serving the industry directly to provide resources rooted in the utility of an herbarium.
Uses of herbaria:
Define species and cultivar types
Herbarium specimens are the classic way of documenting and defining a plant species or “type” (e.g. cultivar or variety). Without them, there is no way to trace back the definition of a plant type in any meaningful way.
Understand phenotypic variation by studying the evolution of phenotype
Backup apellations and claims of a better strain-specific product
Apellations are legally protected geographic regions showing that some aspect of a region’s terroir produces a better quality product for specific cultivars, with scientific data to back it up.
Without scientific studies based on the same genetic material grown in different environments, it is impossible to determine the chemical differences a plant produces in a particular location.
To secure the economic future of the county and the integrity of county-produced medical cannabis products, appellations need everyone speaking the same language when it comes to cultivars, and that requires backup by herbarium specimens.
Preserve historical record of change in vegetation time
In such cases, specimens preserved in an herbarium can represent the only record of the plant's original distribution. Environmental scientists make use of such data to track changes in climate and human impact.
Many kinds of scientists use herbaria to preserve voucher specimens from their projects. Scientists preserve representative samples of plants used in a particular study to demonstrate precisely the source of their data, or to enable confirmation of identification at a future date.
Establish genetic varietal standards through a physical record
Catalog or identify the flora of an area
A large collection from a single area is used in writing a field guide or manual to aid in the identification of plants that grow there. With more specimens available, the author of the guide will better understand both the variability of form in the plants and the natural distribution over which the plants grow.
Herbarium in Practicum:
Pressed, dried specimens are brushed with archival glue and mounted on special paper sheets
How preservation works
Herbarium specimens may be whole plants or plant parts, that are dried and mounted on a sheet of special paper but, depending upon the dimensions of the material, they may also be stored in boxes or kept in alcohol. Along with the physical samples detailed information on where and when the plant was collected, its habitat or cultivation method, and additional phenotypic information such as: color, chemical profiles and yield amounts can be included. The name of the collector, original breeder, steward or farm is included as well.
Herbaria housing voucher specimens, or the plant material that was used to describe a particular “type” of plant are of greatest value. This is especially true of herbarium samples that describe a new species or specimens on which the study of a species was founded.