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Collecting Guidelines

Guidelines for creating plant specimens for submission to the Bell Museum of Natural History

The University of Minnesota Herbarium, Bell Museum of Natural History, strives to align procedures with national museum standards. We assess each potential acquisition for its contribution toward our mission and goals and for specimen quality. It is not practical or desirable to accept every specimen offered for inclusion in the Museum's research collection; if specimens are not of sufficient quality they may be transferred to the teaching collections or used in our exchange program or simply not accepted. This guide is intended to provide the basic framework to insure high quality museum specimens. It is also important to note that once specimens are deposited in the museum, they become the Museum's property and are subject to Museum policies. Once specimens are accessioned they are generally available to all botanical researchers with the exception of type specimens (reserved for those doing revisionary or nomenclatural research).

Requirements for submitting specimens

Specimens must:

Specimen labels should be no wider than 3.5 inches, printed on acid-free or quality bond. The data should be arranged in a logical fashion such as:

Project Name

Scientific name of plant and Authority
Country (if other than USA)
State, county, park or other special area, further locality specifics, township, range, section (if available).
Latitude, longitude
(be sure to indicate if using min/deg/sec or decimal degrees).
Abundance (if noted).
Flower color and other plant features (if noteworthy).
Collector name, collection #
Collection date (spell month)
Collection permit #, issued by agency name (if collecting occurred under permit)

It is not necessary that you provide mounted specimens. However, if you wish to do so, please contact a curator to learn our preparation protocols.

Common mistakes made in collecting:


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