Specimens must have all the morphological characters needed to identify the plant: flowers, a good sample of leaves and fruit where possible. The identification of some groups requires further information, e.g. eucalypts require buds, fruit, flowers and bark!
It is absolutely essential that proper records be kept of:
LOCATION: where the plant was found – a traceable location description. Give a grid reference or Lat./Long. if possible.
HABIT: how the plant was growing, e.g. shrub, tree, vine, herb, etc.
OTHER NOTES: information that might prove useful for identification – bark type and colour, colour of flower (these often fade while drying), presence and type of fruit (if of a nature that precludes collection, e.g. juice-filled), sap colour and consistency (if present), leaf colour, texture and smell of crushed leaves etc.
HABITAT: in what environment the plant was growing – whether a forest, plains, swamp and so on, and the type of vegetation – whether rainforest, open forest, woodland, heath etc.
COLLECTOR: the person who actually collected the plant
DATE COLLECTED: this gives an indication of flowering or fruiting time
Without this information, specimens are valueless, for in the event of a specimen being of scientific or other importance, we have no guide to help us locate further specimens. (Please refer to specimen collection details slip for more information.)
Fresh material is the best for identification (note that some keys work on dried characteristics, eg Casuarinas). When specimens cannot be ID’d straight away, as well as to keep a record of those which you do ID, they may be dried in the following way.