preserving flowers and leaves

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Fri Jun 28 10:48:25 EST 1996

In response to Peter Heinermann's question which follows,

I personally have had no luck with preserving needle-leaved gymnosperm
specimens in a way that prevents the needles from eventually falling off.
I've only tried pressing them, but I can't imagine the dessication
techniques (which also dry but in 3-D) would be much better.  One
preservation technique that might be tried is to put the fresh stems in a
glycerine/water solution, allow the glycerine to be taken up by the leaves,
then pressing or simply hanging (probably upside down) to dry.  I haven't
tried it.  Foster, in the book I mentioned in the earlier post, talks about
various leaves that can be preserved with glycerin but pine isn't one of
them.  She says the glycerin must be diluted with water to a consistency
the plant can take up.  For thick leaves like rhododendron and magnolia she
recommends 1 part glycerin : 2 parts water.  For medium thick leaves like
camellia, beech, holly, and ivy, 1 part glycerin : 2.5 parts water.  For
thin leaves, 1 part glycerin : 3 parts water.  She recommends that the ends
of woody branches be "mashed and spintered" with a hammer before putting
them in the solution.  For ivy she recommends emersing the entire branch
and leaves in the solution for about 4 days before removing and rinsing
with water.  She says that the glycerin changes the color of the leaves,
making them less colorful that the original but still useful for her
purpose... using them in dried flower arrangements!

D. Kramer

>In article <199606271818.OAA11678 at>,
>kramer.8 at OSU.EDU (David W. Kramer) says:
>>>> Dear plant-edders,
>>>>   I have just been asked how to preserve leaves ith their colors, and it
>>>> occurred to me it would also be very useful to me to preserve summer
>>>> flowers with their shapes and colors to use for teaching off-season.
>  Will this method work just as well with leaves?
>>>>   Thanks for any help.
>>>> Janice
>Do the methods suggested in this post apply equally as well to the leaves and
>of conifers.  We have had problems both with drying and freezing of specimens
>in the spring for fall courses.  Thanks for your advice.

Dr. David W. Kramer
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

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