A Simple and Safe Method for Rapid Drying of Plant Specimens Using Forced-Air Space Heaters


field methods
herbarium specimens
portable dryer
space heaters

How to Cite

Blanco, M. A., Whitten, W. M., Penneys, D. S., Williams, N. H., Neubig, K. M., & Endara, L. (2006). A Simple and Safe Method for Rapid Drying of Plant Specimens Using Forced-Air Space Heaters. Selbyana, 27(1), 83–87. Retrieved from https://ojs.test.flvc.org/selbyana/article/view/121327


We describe the use of forced-air space heaters for drying herbarium specimens with a setup that is simpler, lighter, safer, and more economical than most previously described portable dryers. We have tested this method during collecting trips in the tropics with excellent results. Access to electricity and a rain-protected site are the only requirements. Temperatures inside the press reach ca. 63 and 106°C with the space heater model we use (Lakewood ® 707) under low (750 W) and high (1500 W) wattage modes, respectively. At the low and high wattage modes, herbaceous samples can be dried in 5-6 or 2-3 hours, woody samples in 9-12 or 5-7 hours, and succulent material in 18-24 or 8-12 hours of continuous operation. The quality of the specimens produced with this method is very high; even when dried with the high wattage mode, they do not show signs of burning, and most specimens dried with the low wattage mode retain their natural colors and are often suitable for later extraction of DNA. Describimos el secado de muestras de plantas para herbario mediante el uso de calentadores eléctricos de aire forzado, con un equipo más sencillo, liviano, seguro y económico que el de otras secadoras portátiles descritas hasta el momento. Hemos usado éste método durante viajes de recolecta en el trópico con excelentes resultados. Los únicos requisitos son el acceso a electricidad y un sitio protegido de la lluvia. Con el modelo de calentador que utilizamos (Lakewood ® 707), la temperatura dentro de la prensa alcanza 62 y 106°C en las modalidades de 750 y 1500 vatios, respectivamente. Con las modalidades baja y alta, respectivamente, muestras herbáceas pueden secarse en 5-6 o 2-3 horas, muestras leñosas en 9-12 o 5-7 horas, y muestras suculentas en 18-24 o 8-12 horas de operación continua. Los especímenes producidos con éste método son de muy buena calidad; no hay signos de quemadura ni siquiera con el secado en modalidad alta, y muchos especímenes secados con la modalidad baja retienen sus colores naturales y pueden usarse para la posterior extracción de ADN.


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