Fragile Science


Wood Anatomy Lab at Harvard University Herbarium
Botanical specimens are inherently fragile; they are composed of living matter doomed to wilt, dry, and crumble to dust. The specimens sent to herbaria are housed there to be preserved, their lives suspended indefinitely in time. Many precautions are taken to ensure the longest life span and the best conditions possible for each incoming specimen. But despite the care and devotion from the curators of the herbaria, there are destructive elements waiting around each bend.