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Herbarium collections are an important part of the attempt to protect endangered plants. Herbaria are the best source of information documenting the presence of any species within an area. The plant vouchers stored in herbaria have labels which describe where and when the plant was collected, and (if the collector has done a good job) information on the type of habitat, associated species and the size and health of the population from which the voucher was taken. From this information, gathered from all herbaria in the region, the researcher can get a good understanding of how the species is distributed and how common it is. This label information is also helpful in identifying what kind of habitat is necessary for the species.

A herbarium is also an essential resource for the training of botanists who will study natural ecosystems and native plants, including endangered species. They are also often important sources of the published literature relevant to endangered species. When rare species are similar in appearance to other, more common species, the information necessary to distinguish them is usually gleaned from the information associated with the vouchers.



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Last updated on April 15, 2014