How to Dry Pressed Plants?

Monique Reed monique at
Wed Sep 16 08:40:23 EST 1998

Ooh!  Oooh!  I know this one!  If the cabinet is intact and it's just the 
heating unit that is kaput, go to the nearest Walmart and purchase a small 
space heater.  Just put it on the floor of the cabinet and fiddle with the 
controls until you get a steady 100-110 (max120F) in the cabinet.  You may  
need to put a hole through the wall or back of the cabinet for the cord, but 
that is much cheaper than buying a new cabinet.  The space heaters last only a 
year or so when run nearly continuously, but they are cheap (~$30) and 
reliable.  We have ours rigged with a thermostat that will shut the cupboard 
off if the temperature goes over a certain point, so we are not likely to be 
starting any fires.  

Hope this helps,
Monique Reed
Bio. Dept. 
Texas A&M

>We have an ancient herbarium drying cabinet from Lane Science Equipment
>that breaks down roughly once a week during use and is clearly nearing
>(past?) the end of its useful life.  A replacement that appears to be
>identical would cost about $1,600.  We run two courses that require
>herbarium collections, one aquatic and one terrestrial, so the cabinet is
>in use roughly one semester out of two, however when it is in use it is
>usually nearly full.

>How do your students dry pressed specimens?  There's an illustration in one
>of the Carolina catalogs of a press set upright on a couple of bricks with
>two light bulbs underneath -- anybody try that?  I'm open to any and all
>suggestions for an inexpensive space-efficient scheme.

>Bill Williams

>William E. Williams
>Biology Department, St. Mary's College of Maryland
>St. Mary's City, MD 20686 USA
>WEWilliams at

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