The Royal BC Museum publishes new guidebook on how to press and preserve plants


VICTORIA, BC — From novice plant-pressers to experienced botanists, Pressed Plants: Making a Herbarium, a new publication launched today 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 goes on sale today. A book launch and signing will be held February 16, 2023, at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver, BC.


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About the Author: Linda Lipsen is the collections curator of the University of British Columbia Herbarium, Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Linda holds a M.Sc. in botany and has previously worked for the UBC Botanical Garden and taught in UBC’s Department of Botany. She also instructs the Master Gardeners.

Plants and plant collections have stories to tell, and Linda is passionate about illuminating them through exhibitions, tours and workshops. She delights in connecting people to the century-old collection, especially the collectors that built it.

About the Illustrator: Derek Tan is an illustrator, photographer, multimedia designer and the digital producer at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. He is a recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Museums. Derek studied biology and art history at the University of British Columbia in his hometown of Vancouver.

About the Royal BC Museum: The Royal BC Museum explores the province’s human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding of BC, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for reflection. The museum and archives celebrate culture and history, telling the stories of BC in ways that enlighten, stimulate and inspire. Located in Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations), we are a hub of community connections in BC—on-site, offsite, and online—taking pride in our collective histories.

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