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    Bringing Plants into the Collections Area

In order that the herbarium central collections area be maintained as a (hopefully) pest-free environment without relying on paradichlorobenzene or other toxic chemicals, NO PLANTS ARE TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE CENTRAL COLLECTIONS AREA until or unless they meet the following guidelines:

a. All incoming dried meterial MUST be frozen for a week (if a shorter time period is essential, microwaving is an option). This is particularly critical for specimens shipped from other institutions, including returned UC/JEPS specimens. Even specimens that are not prone to infestation (e.g., algae, bryophytes) should be frozen in order to eliminate potential paper-destroying pests.

b. As an exception rather than the rule, a limited quantity of recently collected specimens that 1) have not been housed where infestations are likely and 2) are needed in the collections area for only a brief period of time (e.g., for comparison with UC/JEPS collections) may be given clearance after a visual inspection by an authorized staff member. This is a pragmatic alternative to microwaving, based on the fact that even if eggs are present they are unlikely to hatch and cause an infestation within a few hours. As a corollary, the specimens should subsequently be frozen if they are to be left in the herbarium.

c. Living material is generally okay, following the logic that the pests that attack live plants are not the same as those that attack dried plant material (also, living plants do not hold up well to freezing or microwaving). However, pollen-bearing structures and dead portions should be inspected and/or removed.

d. Specimens left out overnight should be frozen prior to refiling (evening is the period of greatest adult herbarium beetle activity). It is also recommended that material that has been housed outside of the main collection area (e.g., research offices) be frozen prior to refiling, just to be on the safe side. Specimens that have been outside of the contiguous herbarium area (e.g., offices elsewhere in VLSB) must be frozen prior to reentry.

e. Fluid-preserved material does not need to be frozen. Remember, however, that formalin-preserved material should be examined only under an operating hood.