At the Herbarium, Part II: Sticky, Inky, and Yellowing

As she has amply demonstrated, Sigyn knows how to mount plants. The people who work here do it in much the same fashion. Sigyn wants to help. Some specimens are already laid out, ready for glue.

mounting%2Bgrasses.jpg

My sweet, where do you want this weight? And don’t you think it looks as if someone is trying to put a multitude of different grasses on the same sheet? That sheet in the background has even more different kinds. And shouldn’t there be a label? Sigyn, your specimens were nicer.

What’s going on over on that other table? What does this mechanical lobster-ish thingummy do?

lettering.jpg

Oh, I see now–this is a scribing/transcribing tool for doing neat lettering. The pointy stylus goes in the letter groove, the peg foot goes in the track, and under the little knobby bit is an ink reservoir. I like this little device–anything that has a stabby bit and can make inky blots all over folders, fingers, and clothes is a fine bit of mischief indeed!

Nearby is a stack of specimens that have already been mounted. Hmm. What have we here? Great Frigga’s Hairpins! Sigyn–look at the date on this one!

old-specimen.jpg

Do you see how old it is?! 1853! This fragile old paper is yellowing and a little brittle. If I’m reading the human scrawl correctly, someone named V. Hayden collected it and said it was “Spurtrina cynosuroidy” from near place called “Fost Bcrtholesquiggle.” At some point more recently, another botanist amended the label to read “S. pectinata.” This lends credence to the theory that taxonomists just like to change nomenclature around to mess with people’s heads.

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