Rules for handling specimens

  1. Specimens may be dissected for study only when the structures to be detached are sufficiently present to do so without harming the future use of the specimen. Use no more material than is strictly necessary. Dissected portions should be dried, put in a paper capsule and glued to the sheet (vascular plants) or attached to the specimen with a paperclip (non vascular cryptogams). Also, please attach a copy of any drawings or observations made to the specimen. Dissections of material from type specimens are not allowed without prior permission.
  2. For the vascular plants Herbarium: detach and use material for specialized study (scanning microscopy, flowers for pollen morphology, leaves for DNA extraction) only when the structures needed are sufficiently present. Use no more material than strictly necessary; do not use type specimens. Attach an appropriate label indicating your study and its publication. In case of anatomical or palynological preparations, one slide of each made must be submitted to the BR collection. For the herbarium of non-vascular cryptogams: seek permission from the curator for any specialised study.
  3. Barcode labels may be attached to the specimens. They bear a unique permanent number that may be used as a reference for otherwise unnumbered collections in any publication.
  4. For the non-vascular cryptogam herbarium: labels should be either placed within the appropriate packet or attached to the outside with a paper clip. Do not glue them in place! For the vascular plants herbarium: follow standard herbarium practice as regards labelling. Attach determinations or confirmations to every specimen as appropriate, i.e. without obscuring existing labels or writing on these. Attach type labels with precise information, especially when a nomenclatural type is not yet marked as such (e.g. "holo/iso/syntype of..."; "neo/lectotype of ...", "selected by..." or "in..."). Please add literature references on labels. Use permanent ink or a laser printer for attached labels.
  5. Please acknowledge your use of the herbarium material in your resulting publications and send a reprint or copy either to the curator of the vascular plant herbarium or the curator of the non-vascular cryptogam herbarium of the National Botanic Garden, Domein van Bouchout, B-1860 Meise, Belgium.


  1. Upon arrival, inform the head of department or another staff member. Sign the department's visitors list stating the purpose of your visit.
  2. Do not enter the herbarium rooms with comparison material unless decontaminated by the staff. Decontamination by deep freezing takes a minimum of two days.
  3. Do not eat or drink in the herbarium rooms. Use the facilities outside the collection rooms (lunch can be ordered in staff restaurant; coffee break in herbarium building is at 3:30 p.m.).
  4. Smoking is not allowed in the entire herbarium and library building.
  5. Do not re-insert or re-arrange material. Leave new identifications on the tables and discuss rearrangements suggested with staff members.
  6. Keep the cabinets closed after working.
  7. Photographing specimens is allowed; a special stand for photography is available.
  8. If you want to borrow material, place it in a separate file with a clear indication where it should be sent. Historical collections (e.g. the von Martius herbarium) are not available for loan. In case you want to take a loan away with you, please make your request in good time.
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