Anatomy of a Herbarium Label
A herbarium label is a crucial part of any scientific plant collection. The accuracy of information recorded on a herbarium label directly determines a specimens overall quality and usefulness in botanical research. Without good location documentation collected plants are of very little use to a herbarium. Obtaining accurate label information is even more important than being able to correctly identify a plant, because a plant can always be correctly identified later but some label information must be gathered at the place and time of collection or often it is forgotten or remembered incorrectly.
The following is a guide for what information should be included on a label, the order it should appear, and how labels are formatted at the Freeman Herbarium (AUA) at Auburn University.
1. Type 'PLANTS OF' then insert the State (or country), in bold, where plant was collected, all-caps.
2. Generic name, capitalize, underline.
3. Specific epithet, underline.
4. Authority, obtained from flora.
5. County (or province), all-caps.
6. Location description using road miles (driving directions).
7. Location description from major landmarks, try to use geographical landmarks (rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, etc., avoid using buildings, street addresses, etc.).
8. Township, Range, Section.
9. Map name and scale used to get Township, Range, & Section.
10. Give latitude and longitude (in degrees, minutes, seconds), obtained from topographical maps or GPS unit.
11. Habitat description, what kind of habitat and soil type was the plant found in? (roadside, pine woods, hard woods, bogs, beach, riparian, montane, etc.)
12. Statement of surrounding plant community, include some other common associated species. Be sure to italicize or underline other scientific species names.
13. Give the elevation of the location, again obtained from topographical maps or GPS unit . Be sure to indicate feet or meters.
14. Collector name and number. Numbering system can be of your own creation.
15. Must include date of collection in the format shown, (dd month yyyy)
16. List the correct family to which the genus and species belongs.
Home|History|Services|Friends|Botanical Links|Alabama Botanists & Herbaria
T & E Plants|Collecting Guidelines|Mounting Guidelines|Loan Information|Staff
AL State Flowers