How to Dry Pressed Plants?

Monique Reed monique at
Wed Sep 16 13:48:17 EST 1998

Forgot to point out that it must be one of the small (ca. 1 ft. cube) 
ELECTRIC jobs.  You want it to stay well away from the presses (6" min) and 
you would never want to use gas or propane, etc.  Also a good idea to sweep 
out plant crumbs on a regular basis.

MDR in College Station Texas, where it is so wet right now
that if you put plants in a press and didn't dry them on purpose, they would 
never dry, and might just keep growing. (Ever see a cactus do that?)

>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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