standardized colors

Joseph Kirkbride jkirkbri at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Thu Jul 24 09:51:30 CDT 1997

    Several years ago, I made enqueiries concerning the
available color charts.  There were three color identification
and cataloguing systems readily available here:

    Munsell Color.  1976.  Munsell Book of Color (1976 edition).
         Munsell Color, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
    Royal Horticultural Society, London.  1986.  R.H.S. Colour
         Chart.  Flower Council of Holland, Leiden, The
    Kornerup, A. and J. H. Wanscher.  1983.  Methuen Handbook of
         Colour, 3rd edition.  Methuen, London, United Kingdom.

Each of these have advantages and disadvantages.  The Munsell
Book of Color costs US$755.00 in Baltimore, Maryland.  According
to their literature it is available in some foreign countries.
The R.H.S. Colour Chart costs less than US$100.00, and is available
from the Flower Council of Holland, Verbeekstraat II, 2332 CA
Leiden, The Netherlands.  The Methuen Handbook of Colour, 3rd
edition, is supposed to cost less than US$50.00 and is available
from technical bookstores.  Our mycologists use the Methuen
Handbook of Colour, and they warn that care must be used about
which edition you employ.  Apparently due to printing, perhaps at
different printing plants, they feel that there are differences
of two to four shades between the various editions.  You will
have to pick one of these as your standard; I favor the R.H.S.
Colour Chart because it is less expensive, is used by
phanerogamic plant scientists, especially in horticulture, and
apparently its colors are more stable over various editions.

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory
Room 304, Building 011A, BARC-West
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2350 USA
Voice telephone: 301-504-9447
FAX: 301-504-5810
Internet: jkirkbri at

On Thu, 24 Jul 1997, Joseph E. Laferriere wrote:

> I have seen books in the US showing standardized colors for use in
> writing botanical descriptions. Does anyone know where I can buy one? I
> would very much prefer one in Spanish, preferably from a Mexican
> distributor, but am open to other suggestions.
> Joseph E. Laferriere
> Herbario HUMO
> Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

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