Florida Museum of Natural History

University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)

Protocols for Working with the Seed Collection

The University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS) maintains a comparative seed collection to aid in the identification of seed samples. The collection contains ca. 3200 seed specimens, mostly stored in glass vials. It is presumed that most of the samples do not have corresponding voucher specimens in the main vascular plant collection but a complete cross-check has never been done.

  1. The seed collection is organized by our modified Dalle Torre and Harms family numbering system which is based on the Englerian family delineation and arrangement. This system is outlined in Dalla Torre and Harms (1908) and our own family list pdf. Family placement of genera may also be searched in the Index Nominum Genericorum database. The specimens are arranged by genus and specific epithet within each family.
  2. All new seed collection users are required to complete a collection use orientation from the herbarium's Collection Manager or a herbarium staff member designated by the Collection Manager. The goal of this orientation is to familiarize the user with the collection arrangement and procedures for handling the specimens.
  3. Seed collection users should complete a collection use log and/or report collection-related project titles to the Collection Manager.
  4. You may either select a few vials or pull one drawer at a time to work with. When transporting individual vials to your work area please place them in a small box. If you select a drawer, remove only one at a time for your research. The Collection Manager will assist you in the initial selection of specimens.
  5. DO NOT OPEN VIALS unless you have permission from the Collection Manager.
  6. When opening vials only open one at a time to prevent any confusion and accidental mixing of identified samples.
  7. Place any seeds removed for identification, morphometric, photographic, or other purposes into a petri dish, fragment packet or the like and identify with a small temporary tag as necessary (genus, species, collector, collection date or other unique identifier).
  8. Immediately replace any seeds removed for identification, morphometric, photographic, or other purposes upon completion of their use.
  9. If any seeds require destruction or will be altered in any way, you are required to complete a destructive analysis agreement form and receive written permission from the Collection Manager. Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  10. To insure that the specimens are returned to their proper location, please ask the Collection Manager to assist you.

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