In the past, dried plant materials, such as fragments of herbarium specimens, have generally been softened for dissection by boiling in water. Such a process has obvious disadvantages: slowness, fire hazard, and inconvenience. Furthermore, it is impossible to apply the boiling technique to mounted herbarium specimens without removing portions of the plant. While the author was engaged in the examination of the ligules of large numbers of grass specimens, it became evident that a solution which could be applied directly to the mounted specimen to soften it in situ would be of great advantage in preventing unnecessary breakage. A little experimentation led to the formulation of the solution whose composition is stated below. It proved very satisfactory for softening most plant specimens quickly, without boiling.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1954 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Pohl, Richard W.
"A Rapid Softening Agent for Dried Plant Structures,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 61(1), 149-150.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol61/iss1/17