How Many Plant Specimens Can be Mounted in an Hour? (fwd)

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Thu Mar 30 09:36:07 CST 2000


Here is an answer from the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. I know the
collection well and all the specimens are dealt with very well. If they
don't meet a high standard, it's usually the collector's fault.

Hope this will help you.

All the best,

Adolf Ceska

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 08:40:11 -0800
From: "Kerik, Joan" <JKerik at>
To: 'Adolf Ceska' <aceska at>,
    "Pinder-Moss, John" <JPindermoss at>,
    "Kerik, Joan" <JKerik at>
Subject: RE: How Many Plant Specimens Can be Mounted in an Hour? (fwd)

Hi Adolf,

The number that can be mounted per hour depends particularly on the nature
of the material. For example small alpines may take much less time than
messy sedges. [I bet Joan wanted to say "YOUR messy sedges". - AC] Sheets
that have tiny specimens may take 30 seconds if there is only one plant or
15 minutes if there are 30 plants to be lined up on the sheet. Plants that
have achenes or other broken parts that have to be put in a fragment
envelope take more time. Plants with dirty roots sometimes take 5 minutes
to clean each plant. Large thick plants may need to be shaved or cut to
fit on the sheet. If there are field labels that have to be cut out and
put into an envelop this also takes time.

We enter label data into the computer and depending on the nature of the
data it can take 5 minutes or 15 if you have to track down the locality or
even longer if you have to contact the collector to get further information
or can't read their writing. Printing labels and cutting labels takes times.
Stamping the accession number is a two part job on our herbarium sheets.

Taking the stacks of mounted specimens with their lead weights and blocks
apart, giving the sheets the final freezer treatment and then filing the
plants takes more time. There are always interruptions of course so it is a
stop start job in any case. Clean up and filling glue bottles, cutting
fragment folders and folding them takes time.

I have been mounting herbarium sheets since 1972 and I would hesitate to
give you an average number per hour because the job is always intermingled
with other herbarium tasks. I can remember mounting about 75 plants in a day
when the labels were already done and not including stamping or filing.
Yesterday I mounted  26 plants, a lot of tangled sedges, and dismounted and
stamped 17 plants from the previous day. I also did several other tasks

If you set a specific number people will rush to be their quota and the
mounting may not be done as carefully as it should be for a job that will be
visible for hundreds of years. Bean counting quotas do not seem to make
sense since each collection is very different.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adolf Ceska [SMTP:aceska at]
> Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2000 8:16 AM
> To:   jpindermoss at; jkerik at
> Subject:      How Many Plant Specimens Can be Mounted in an Hour? (fwd)
> Any answer to this? - Adolf
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 10:07:01 -0600
> From: Diana Horton <diana-horton at UIOWA.EDU>
> Subject: How Many Plant Specimens Can be Mounted in an Hour?
> I would like to know how much time other herbaria have found it takes, on
> an average, to mount one plant.  I'm interested in figures that include
> fixing the specimen to the mounting sheet, preparing and mounting the
> label, and adding accession number and herbarium seal.
> Thanks!
> Diana Horton
> Director and Curator
> University of Iowa Herbarium
> 312 CB
> University of Iowa
> Iowa City, IA  52242-1297

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