Preparing the specimens for mounting

Leaves.  When gathering leaves, carry a good-sized notebook, which will hold the specimens without crushing.  A good substitute is a large catalog.  For each tree, two or more leaves should be selected, taking foliage without holes, galls, or unnatural shapes.  For sassafras, a sample of each of the three shapes should be collected.

Keep the leaves of each tree together with a piece of paper bearing the name.

Carefully dry and press the leaves as soon as they are brought from the woods.  This may be done in a press similar to that used in school for flowers and leaves.  A simple press can be made at home by placing the leaves, well spread out and not overlapping, between sheets of newspaper on a flat surface and placing a weighted board on the pile of papers.  Specimens can be kept in the press until you are ready to mount them.  Dip hemlock and spruce in shellac to hold the needles.

Twigs.  These small branches, except for those of the conifers, should be kept, properly tagged, in a cool, dry place where they will dry gradually.  The twigs of conifers should be mounted at once or the leaves will drop off.

Fruits.  Many of the fruits are fragile, such as cones of the birches and of balsam fir (which should be collected green) and sycamore balls, and should not be pressed.  Such fruits, if dipped in paraffin, rubber cement, or white shellac, will remain in good condition.  Delicate fruits of willows and poplars keep well if placed in small cellophane or oiled paper bags, which can be mounted complete.

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