Royal BC Museum’s new guidebook on how to press and preserve plants

FROM novice plant-pressers to experienced botanists, “Pressed Plants: Making a Herbarium,” a new publication launched by the Royal BC Museum, provides practical advice on plant collecting and pressing to help readers track the planet’s rich biodiversity.

Written by Linda P.J. Lipsen, and featuring charming illustrations by Derek Tan, this compact and contemporary handbook balances the ongoing history of plant collecting with hands on advice, and serves as a long-awaited update to Dr. Christopher Brayshaw’s beloved 1996 guide, Plant Collecting for the Amateur.

Lipsen, the collections curator of the University of British Columbia Herbarium at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, has been actively collecting and preserving plants for over 30 years.

Filled with tips and tricks, step-by-step checklists, sustainability ideas, and beautiful hand drawn illustrations and infographics, Lipsen uses Pressed Plants to introduce the art and science of pressing plants in an easy, approachable way, while still being relevant and engaging for even the most seasoned botanist.

“I first started pressing plants for crafts and science and it gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to make a good plant pressing,” says Lipsen. “I have also cared for herbarium collections for nearly 20 years and have experienced first-hand the power a specimen can have on our understanding of the world’s plant biodiversity.”

Seeing a gap in recent literature and a growing interest in the centuries old artform, Lipsen felt it was time to share her enthusiasm for preserving nature and biodiversity.

“I want to share this experience with others, and after teaching many plant pressing workshops and plant collection activities, I find nothing more gratifying than turning someone on to collecting and pressing plants,” she says. “I really want to make Pressed Plants accessible to anyone as a hobby, yet also add enough detail so you too can make or teach this long tradition of documenting our Earth’s plant diversity.”

The book’s detailed illustrations and infographics showcase illustrator Derek Tan’s skill as an artist while giving readers helpful visuals to reference throughout the plant pressing process.

“It has been a great pleasure writing this book and I was one of the luckiest authors to have Derek Tan, the illustrator, to work with closely on all the illustrations,” she says. “Tan is a thoughtful and careful artist who really brought my words to life and I am so grateful to the beautiful work he brought to this book.”

Pressed Plants: Making a Herbarium has gone on sale. A book launch and signing will be held February 16 at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver, BC.