Herbariums (or herbaria) have been made for a very long time.
Dry plant specimen housed at Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, is likely to be the oldest one. Made of olive tree branches, it was found in Tutankhamen's tomb, and is believed to be 3332 years old.
Most common way of creating herbarium is to select, press, and dry, plant specimens. Apart from purpose made plant presses, old newspapers, telephone books, etc, do, too, make good press & dry medium. Once preserved, foliage, blooms, and sometimes seeds, and fruit, are all arranged, and mounted on decorative paper, as album-style, or wall picture, collection.
Herbariums are made for variety of reasons. Some of us, like to preserve fragile beauty of garden blooms, others, to document natural history. French Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris houses the largerst herbarium collection of 8 million plant specimens. Other significant herbaria include those at New York Botanical Gardens (USA), Komarov Botanical Institute (Russia), and Royal Botanic Gardens (UK).
Preserved botanical collections were, and still are widely used in sciences, such as herbal medicine, and botany.
Why not, try making your own herbarium?
Collecting plant specimens from your local area, and own garden, can be lots of useful fun!
Herbarium; highly decorative, educational, a piece of history, and an heirloom to treasure.
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Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: blogger, bulabean, dive-angel (Karin), flickr, Jasmine&Roses, koreana, Michael Reeve, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., sandra_cheatham, Sandra Soss, Bricolagelife, TMRDavies, W.D. Williams, Wikipedia

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