Herbarium specimens are stored within these sliding cabinets located beneath the stands of Harder Stadium.
Herbaria are collections of plant specimens preserved for future research; effectively a museum for plants. Cheadle Center is home to several collections, including the vascular plant herbarium founded in 1945 which includes over 100,000 taxa to-date. Over the past six months, staff and interns have collected over 140 plant specimens from NCOS in an effort to catalog the wide range of plant diversity on the project; everything from invasive non-natives such as bristly oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides) to our rare or endangered natives such as Ventura marsh milk vetch (Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus).
Alkali mallow (Malvella leprosa)
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
This collection will serve as a historical snapshot of what plants were present during the restoration process. The collection also preserves the DNA of rare species and provides educational and research opportunities for botanists and taxonomists. Specimens are chosen for their diagnostic characteristics, especially flowers and fruits. When collected, they are placed in a plant press to flatten them. The plants are then dried and glued onto sheets, labeled with a brief description and the location and date of collection, and added to the herbarium.
Pressure is applied to plant specimens by tightening the straps.
The plant specimens are sandwiched between two sheets of paper and then separated from each other by a piece of cardboard.
Plant specimens in the drying oven.
An engaging part of the project is the inclusion of an iNaturalist observation of each plant before it is collected. Researchers using the herbarium will be able to find pictures of the exact specimen they are studying as it was growing in the wild by cross-referencing the barcode number in the iNat observation notes.Click here to see the corresponding iNaturalist project and help confirm identifications.