12 November 2018
News from the herb field
Our Herb Field apprentice Sianne has been exploring creating a herbarium using the vast array of herbs that we have in our own Somerset herb field.
"The definition of a herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data, systematically arranged in a way that can be used for scientific study. Herbariums are most often used as a reference material in describing plant taxa, and preserved plant specimens can be used to provide samples of DNA or to validate scientific observations. Herbariums are a vital resource for plant identification and classification - Kew Gardens holds a herbarium as does the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, as well as many other organisations and institutions dealing with plants.
A herbarium will be a valuable reference for Organic Herb Trading to better enable us to identify plants and to better validate our botanical knowledge ensuring rigour and quality. It will also be a useful tool in the study of the biodiversity of the herb field and we will be able to use the collection in support of conservation, ecology and sustainable development in the work environment.
We have seventy plus species of medicinal plants growing in the herb field throughout the season which is of tremendous value for biodiversity in the region. To date we have successfully managed to press thirty species of flowering herbs which have been catalogued and according to their official classification order and with key data references.
Not only has the project been an interesting experiment but the results are also quite beautiful. It has been a wonderful fusion of art and science and we will be framing some samples for decoration in the office too. The challenge for next season is not only to preserve more species and collect more data but to try and preserve some of the more fleshy and woody of the flowering plants, to get better quality specimens and to experiment with preserving root cuttings also.”