- Choose several plants showing as many growth stages as possible.
- Collect whole plants including roots where possible.
- Ideally, flowering and fruiting stages should be represented as the most distinctive identifiable features are seen at these stages.
- Ensure all sections of the Plant Identification Request Form are complete and submitted along with the sample .
Preserving and Packaging
- Plants can be placed between dry absorbent paper (e.g. newspaper) on a flat surface and pressed by adding weight on top of the plants in the paper. Pressed plants should be checked for moisture and replace the paper if wet. More frequent inspection is required in the early stages of pressing. Once the plants are dry they should be placed in rigid containers that do not allow the specimens to be damaged in shipping. Placing dried specimens between rigid pieces of cardboard is effective.
- Plants requiring urgent identification may be shipped immediately, without pressing, loosely wrapped in dry paper towel to prevent damage during shipping. A rigid cardboard container containing packing materials to prevent movement in shipping is appropriate.
Note: Although the above conditions are ideal we will attempt to work with plant specimens at any growth stage and in less than ideal conditions. On occasion, a single seed may be enough to identify a plant to the species level. However, most identifications are more difficult and a positive identification may not be possible without all growth stages being represented.