General Question

xTheDreamer's avatar

Is there a way to preserve leaves?

Asked by xTheDreamer (897points) November 7th, 2009

I wanted to know if there is a way to keep leaves green after you’ve picked them off the tree or stem. I don’t want the leaves to dry out and turn orange/brown and all that.

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10 Answers

Dog's avatar

My mother used to dip them in wax that way just at melting temp. It would slightly change the color but seemed to prolong the appearance and color for several weeks. One note- if the wax is too hot the colors shift to dark. If it is too cool the leaves get too thick a coating and they get a milky look.

She used regular paraffin wax like that used in canning.

dpworkin's avatar

Leaves aren’t green. They are the color that you see in the Fall. The chlorophyll is green, and you can’t preserve it.

sakura's avatar

Try laminating them, that may make them last a little longer.

patg7590's avatar

I preserved some in kindergarten using wax paper somehow.

Dr_C's avatar

you can dip them in paraffin. In my experience if it’s good enough to preserve human tissue for study under a microscope.. then it’s good enough for a leaf.

sdeutsch's avatar

@patg7590 You probably ironed them between sheets of waxed paper – it makes the wax transfer off the paper and onto the leaves, so you get a nice, thin, even coat of wax all over the leaf. It works best if you put the leaf between two sheets of waxed paper, sandwich that between two sheets of newspaper, and then iron both sides – the newspaper soaks up any stray wax, so it doesn’t get all over your iron. We used to do this all the time when I was little – it’s so much fun!

dpworkin's avatar

Are you sure they will stay green? I know people use wax to keep leaves that have turned, to preserve the natural color, but I really don’t think it works with chlorophyll.

sdeutsch's avatar

@pdworkin I don’t think I’ve ever tried it with green leaves – it’s likely that it wouldn’t work with the chlorophyll. I’d try experimenting with it, but I don’t think we have any green leaves left. Guess I’ll have to wait and try it in the spring…

bagelface's avatar

I did the wax paper thing with several different kinds of green leaves in July. They are now starting to fade slightly. Still pretty green though,...

Beta_Orionis's avatar

I asked this question a while back.

The best way seems to be to submerge them in a half vegetable glycerin, half water mixture for 6 or 7 days. This requires that they still have their stems, so you must pluck them from the tree. The glycerin is absorbed into the leaf’s cells and preserves it’s color in addition to keeping it naturally flexible.

I call it the best because it preserves from the inside out, rather than sealing the leaf inside of a covering. I think the flexibility factor is a huge perk.

Not sure if this works with green leaves though… I will have to try it and get back to you.

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