Collecting plants

Before making a plant specimen you must first collect the plant.

Things you will need:

Long-sleeved shirt

Long pants


Rain gear




Adhesive bandages & antiseptic

Comfortable, sturdy shoes

Tools you will need:

Pruning shears




Marker pens


Field board (Cardboard or hard board (2)

Rubber bands


Collecting Tips

Q: What kind of plant is best?

A: A plant with flowers or fruit and preferably without insect damage.

Q: Collect the roots too?

A: Yes. It’s not absolutely required but it’s a good idea to collect the roots too. Carefully dig in the soil and remove the roots. Wash them carefully and remove all the soil.

Q: How much of the plant should I collect?

A: Try to get a plant that can be placed on the specimen board (equal to a newspaper folded into fourths). Large leaves or stalks can be bent or cut.

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do collect only what is needed.
  • Don’t collect plants in restricted areas (e.g., preserves).
  • Don’t collect plants in dangerous areas.

Collecting the specimen

  • To make a proper plant specimen, remove the soil after collecting the plant and place the plant on a newspaper.
  • Place the newspaper with the plant inside in the field boards (cardboard or hard board) and secure the boards with a rubber band.
  • Record the information about the plant (e.g., location, date, collector, habitat, etc.) on the newspaper or in your notebook.
  • Put the collected plant in the plastic bag so that it will not become dry or wilted.
  • If you bring the plant back in the plastic bag, make sure to immediately place the plant in the newspaper.

After bringing the plant back in the newspaper or field board), you can start making the plant specimen.

Collect the whole plant with the roots (if possible)
and remove any soil.

Insert the plant between the newspaper sheets

Write the information about the plant
(e.g., location, date, collector, habitat, etc.)

Bundle the plants (in newspapers) with the field boards.
Secure the boards with rubber bands.
Take the boards home.