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Pressed Flowers/Plants

In this activity, students get to make their own pressed plant parts to keep.

For centuries, botanists have used pressed plants as the main way to observe and share knowledge about plants. Collections of these preserved pressed plants are called Herbariums.

Accurate pressing and data on where the plant was collected allows scientists to understand change over time and space of species distribution. It is also a way to compare closely related species and even a way to observe evolution!

Plant pressing is also an easy and fun craft project. Pressings can be used for cards, bookmarks, or to start your very own herbarium.

This activity will take about a week to be completed, but does not take up much space while you wait.

Objectives

  • Identify some examples of local plants and some of their uses.
    Increase their observational skills of natural objects.

Materials

  • Per Class:
    1 or 2 old phone or text books
    1 heavy weight (a big rock or textbook)

  • Per Student:
    1 plant cutting or 2-3 flowers (Carefully select local and seasonal plants.)
    1 stiff piece of paper per student

    Optional:
    tape or glue

Key Questions

  • What is a herbarium used for?
  • What parts/types of the plant work best for plant pressings? Why?

What To Do

  1. As a group, go outside and pick flowers or leaves of plants. Don’t choose anything thick and woody.
  2. Return to class.
  3. Open the book to approximately 20 pages in.
  4. Have students place plant parts on the flat page. Ensure to not overcrowd or overlap the plant parts. Have students write their name by their plant part.
  5. If the book’s pages are plasticised you will need paper on each side of the flowers
  6. Carefully flip over 20-30 pages, ensuring that the plant parts stay in place.
  7. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until everyone has placed their plant parts in a page of the book.
  8. Close the book. Place the heavy weight on top.
  9. Set aside for a week. Then, open up the book to find all of the students’ pressed and dried plant parts.

Optional

  1. Students can tape or glue their plant parts onto a fresh stiff piece of paper.
  2. Students can add their names, the name of the plant, where it was found, and when it was picked to the paper.
  3. Use your pressed plant parts and the stiff piece of paper to make a bookmark.

Extensions

  • Take a field trip to the closest herbarium near you to discover a variety of pressed plants.
  • Make a herbarium with the entire class as a tool to learn about local plants and to show off your new found skill.

Other Resources

Beatty Biodiversity Museum | Herbarium