Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 1963 v9 No 3 FallActions


A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.


The National Fungus Collections


United States Department of Agriculture

The fungus herbaria of the U. S. Department of Agri-culture and the Smithsonian Institution together comprise The National Fungus Collections. The name was adopted in 1953 in order to simplify and standardize reference to the several included units and yet to reflect the nature and origins of the herbaria, replacing the name "Mycological Collections of the Bureau of Plant Industry and Associated Units." In cooperation with the Department of Botany, Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, all of the collections are now housed in the North Building of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Plant Industry Station near Beltsville, Maryland, where they are maintained as a part of Mycology Investigations, Crops Protection Re-search Branch, Crops Research Division, Agricultural Re-search Service. Present plans are for the collections to be moved into the new west wing of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History building upon its completion. Although 'something of the history of these collections has already been recorded by J. A. Stevenson (Taxon 4: 181–185. 1955), a brief review may be of interest here.

Active accumulation of fungus specimens by the U. S. Department of Agriculture began in 1869 with the appointment of C. C. Parry as first botanist of the newly authorized Division of Botany. According to his first report to the then Commissioner of Agriculture, Horace Capron, when he assumed office Parry took over all available her-barium material from the Smithsonian Institution and during the year added to it a complete set of the Texas fungi collected by H. W. Ravenel and "five volumes of southern fungi" purchased from the same collector. Since the material from the Smithsonian Institution is not identified further, the Ravenel collections are the earliest known series of specimens acquired and represent the beginning of our National Fungus Collections. The "five volumes of south-ern fungi" mentioned in Parry's report referred to a complete set of Ravenel's Fungi Caroliniani exsiccati, the first published series of American fungi ever issued, and was one of only 3o such sets, each of which contained duplicate specimens of 500 named fungi. Another set of the exsiccati had been sent earlier by Ravenel to the Smithsonian Institution, according to The private journal of Henry William Ravenel (edited by A. R. Childs), but apparently it was not among the materials turned over to Parry and there now seems to be no record of its continued existence.

The Texas fungi mentioned in Parry's report referred to some 330 specimens collected by Ravenel earlier in 1869 in that state. The pioneer American mycologist had gone there on a temporary assignment by the U. S. Government to investigate the cause of Texas cattle fever, at that time thought possibly to be caused by fungus-infected plants eaten by the cattle. During the trip Ravenel collected all types of botanical specimens including fungi, algae, mosses, lichens, and phanerogamic plants. A set of the Texas lichens was obtained by Parry in February 1870, and as early as J871 Ravenel offered to sell his entire herbarium to the Department. Judge Frederick Watts, the then Commissioner of Agriculture, was agreeable to its purchase, but apparently had insufficient funds at the time. His continued interest in the collection is shown in his published report for 1873: "An individual in Aiken, South Carolina, well known for his researches in fungi, is possessed of a large and valuable collection of specimens, the result of 30 years' accumulations which he proposes to sell for Woo . . . the opportunity should not be neglected . . ." At that time Ravenel's her-barium consisted of approximately 4000 specimens of fungi (including moo duplicates), 624 mosses, 85 Hepaticae, 750 lichens, and 300 algae. It was never obtained by the Department, however, and ultimately went to the British Museum, although some further Ravenel material was secured by the purchase of an 8-volume (Soo specimen) set of Fungi Americani exsiccati that was issued in 1878–1882 in collaboration with M. C. Cooke, the noted British mycologist. Cooke also had looked over many of Ravenel's Texas fungi, which represented some of the earliest collections from that state, as is shown in Cooke's paper on the fungi of Texas (Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1: 177-187. 1878) : ". . . a small collection of two hundred specimens, gathered a few years since by Mr. H. W. Ravenel, has been examined; and after the determination of these, the whole number of species [known from Texas does not exceed one hundred and fifty."

The excellent beginning made by Parry in his initiation of a fungus herbarium was not followed up for a number of years. George Vasey, who in 1872 succeeded Parry as Botanist, directed his curatorial energies primarily toward the higher plants, and built the National Herbarium into a tremendous collection of some 200,000 specimens by 1888. However, Vasey mentioned in an account of the National Herbarium published in the Botanical Gazette in 1886 (II: 153–156) that the mycological collection in addition to the Ravenel material contained specimens from J. B. Ellis, G. W. Clinton, B. D. Halsted. E. W. D. Holway, W. A.



Smithsonian Institution
Washington 25, D. C.


HARLAN P. BANKS    Cornell University

NORMAN H. BOKE   University of Oklahoma

SYDNEY S. GREENFIELD    Rutgers University

ELSIE QUARTERMAN    Vanderbilt University

ERICH STEINER    University of Michigan

JULY 1963   VOLUME 9


CHANGES OF ADDRESS: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society of America, Inc., Dr. Charles Heimsch, Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

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Kellerman, T. G. Burrill, and A. B. Langlois. He added that the Collections were housed in one room of the Agri-cultural Building under the care of Prof. F. Lamson Scribner, the assistant botanist. The total number of fungus specimens at that time was less than 3000.

For the short time that Scribner was in the Department, he was very active. He joined the Division of Botany in 1885, becoming the first Federal phytopathologist, and immediately began publishing on plant diseases and building up the herbarium. Within a year his work had assumed such importance that a Section of Vegetable Pathology was set up in the Division. In his report as Chief of the Section for 1887, Scribner noted that the herbarium consisted of 9300 labeled fungus specimens mounted on 5572. sheets and that some 500 permanent microscopic mounts were made during the year. P. Viala, the noted Italian mycologist with whom he had investigated a serious outbreak of grape disease in California, presented a collection of European fungi of the vine, and W. W. Calkins and S. M. Tracy deposited a series of specimens collected in Florida and certain west-ern states.

When Scribner left the Section in 1888 to become Director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, his position was assumed by B. T. Galloway, an assistant hired late in 1887. Galloway continued the fine work of building up the herbarium, as is shown by the following excerpt from his report as Chief of the Section for the year 1889: "For the work we are engaged in a collection of fungi is

absolutely necessary; realizing this we have spared no effort to make the herbarium what it should be. Three years ago the number of specimens in the collection did not exceed three thousand; now there are something over fourteen thousand named, labeled, and mounted on seven thousand herbarium sheets.

"During the year a large number of economic fungi have been collected, one assistant spending a month in the field engaged in this work. . . . With the exception of one new assistant, Mr. D. G. Fairchild, the laboratory force practically remains the same, those now actively engaged in this work being Dr. E. F. Smith, Miss E. A. Southworth, Mr. M. B. Waite, and Mr. D. G. Fairchild."

The work of the Section was of such importance by 1890 that the Section officially separated from the Division of Botany and formed the Division of Vegetable Pathology. By 1891 the staff had increased to 1o, double the number in 1889; the new additions included such noteworthy men as W. T. Swingle, N. B. Pierce, P. H. Dorsett, and J. F. James. In his report for 1891 Galloway stated, "There are now in the herbarium 7,865 standard sheets, upon which are mounted 16,397 specimens, representing 779 genera and 6,424 species. The more important published exsiccati are represented, the sets in most cases being complete." He pointed out that the fungus herbarium had reached a condition "requiring the entire attention of one assistant and a considerable part of the time of another," that "The species arc arranged alphabetically, the genera according to Saccardo's Sylloge Fungorum," and that "The entire her-barium is indexed by a card catalogue according to hosts and fungi, the cards containing the herbarium references as well as others giving published descriptions, etc." This last item, the herbarium card index, has become increasingly useful with the continued growth of the collections.

The period between 1891 and 1895 was a difficult one for the collections. As the work of the Division increased and diversified, the various aspects of the new field of plant pathology became more attractive to mycologists assigned to the herbarium. Galloway in later years (Phytopathology 18: 8i7. 1928) recalled the situation: "The glamor of field service in phytopathology . . . was irresistible so that our collections and herbaria were beginning to languish and our mycological technique becoming rusty for lack of use. To meet the situation, insofar as it related to the Department's work, we tried various expedients and made numerous experiments. It was the conviction of my colleagues of the period that our only hope was to find a good man, rich in experience and so wedded to mycology and its attendant interests that nothing could swerve him from the then recognized beaten path. The experiment was made, but the man failed us." Galloway referred to F. S. Earle, who re-signed after a short time to take a position at the New York Botanical Garden.

Fortunately for the collections, Mrs. Flora W. Patterson was then found to take charge of the herbarium. She assumed her duties in 1895 as Assistant Pathologist, a title


changed to Mycologist in 1901 shortly before the reorganization resulting in the formation of the Bureau of Plant Industry, and immediately devoted herself to building and improving the collections. She soon recognized the value of fungus exchange specimens and began putting the ac-cumulated duplicate specimens into shape suitable for distribution. In her report for 1898 she mentioned that "About 12000 specimens, representing Goo different species of fungi, arc now almost ready to be sent out." The work was delayed, however, and the first list of specimens and species available for exchange was not published until early in 1902.

When Mrs. Patterson retired in 1923, after 28 years of continuous service in charge of the Office of Pathological Collections, the fungus herbarium had been considerably enriched. Attempts had been made throughout the years to secure all American exsiccati and most of the European ones. The number of accessioned specimens had increased by more than 95,000 to a total of 114,504. The herbarium card index, which at that time included literature citations and synonymy, contained 145,000 cards. Host and subject indexes had been kept current and had reached totals of 96,288 and 32,400 cards, respectively.

After Mrs. Patterson's retirement, the Office of Pathological Collections was combined with the Plant Disease Survey under the direction of C. L. Shear and J. R. Weir was transferred from work in forest pathology to become Mycologist in Charge of the mycological unit. Weir continued the fine precedent established in maintaining and building the herbarium, even contributing to it his out-standing personal herbarium of some 40,000 specimens that had been assembled with particular reference to the pathology of plants of the western United States. He was an indefatigable collector (Phytopathology 36: 487-492. 1946) and his work was interrupted by extensive field trips, during which he collected fungi in a number of Central and South American countries. When he resigned in 1927 to join the Rubber Research Institute of Malaya, the number of specimens in the herbarium had almost doubled, increasing to some 200,000, according to an annual report for 1926 made by C. L. Shear to the then Chief of the Bureau, W. A. Taylor.

J. A. Stevenson was transferred from the Foreign Plant Introduction group to replace Weir. Although ably assisted through the years by such outstanding mycologists as W.W. Diehl, A. E. Jenkins, V. K. Charles, E. K. Cash, E. B. Lambert, R. W. Davidson, L. P. Lentz, and others, and although supervised by C. L. Shear for many years, Steven-son undoubtedly contributed more than any other single individual toward building and improving the mycological collections. His first act was to arrange, with the assistance of F. V. Coville, Head of the Botany Division, to have the mycological herbarium of the noted C. G. Lloyd deposited in the Smithsonian Institution by the trustees of the Lloyd estate. For more than 33 years Stevenson devoted himself unceasingly to making the Collections into a world-wide reference herbarium of the most possible usefulness and diversity of representation. Despite additional administrative duties assumed in 1945 when he was placed in charge of the whole Division of Mycology and Plant Disease Survey and despite the gradual decrease in the Mycology Section staff number due to insufficient financial support, Stevenson had by the time of his retirement built the National Fungus Collections into one of the world's finest and largest, with the number of accessioned specimens totaling al-most 650,000. Stevenson was in turn succeeded by the writer in 1960, but has continued to assist the group in his new capacity of Collaborator. Reorganization in 196o again separated "Mycology" and "Plant Disease Survey," with the National Fungus Collections and the Mycology staff forming the new unit called "Mycology Investigations."

The fungus herbaria of the Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution are currently maintained as separate segments of the Collections. The U.S.D.A. segment consists of a general herbarium, several smaller special collections, various supporting indexes, a microscopic slide collection, a reference collection of literature, a photographic negative and print collection, a topical file of historical material, and other pertinent records. The Smithsonian segment consists of a general herbarium, the special C. G. Lloyd herbarium with its attendant files, negatives, and records, and the Stevenson mycological library.

The U.S.D.A. general herbarium, the largest single unit, contains specimens of all fungal groups and of world-wide distribution, but has especially good coverage of the rusts and polypores. Here can be found the mycological and plant pathological specimens collected or used by many of the past and present departmental workers, including the more-or-less complete collections of W. A. Archer, R. K. Beattie, E. R. Bethel, M. A. Carleton, V. K. Charles, W. W. Diehl, P. H. Dorsett, J. C. Dunegan, D. Fairchild, F. D. Fromme, B. T. Galloway, J. R. Hansbrough, G. G. Hedgcock, A. E. Jenkins, A. G. Johnson, C. L. Lefebvre, W. A. Orton, F. W. Patterson, F. L. Scribner, C. L. Shear, E. F. Smith, N. E. Stevens, J. A. Stevenson, W. Stuart, W. T. Swingle, M. B. Waite, H. J. Webber, J. R. Weir, and many others. Also here are located important series of specimens and collections received from otuside sources by deposit, purchase, or exchange, including those of J. P. Anderson from Alaska, G. Bresadola from Europe, W. W. Calkins from Florida, G. W. Carver from Alabama, J. H. Faull from Massachusetts and worldwide, F. D. Heald and F. A. Wolf from Texas, A. A. Heller from California and Puerto Rico, N. Hiratsuka from Japan, E. W. D. Holway from Iowa and South America, W. A. Kellerman from West Virginia and Guatemala, A. B. Langlois from Louisiana, J. Lind from Denmark, J. L. Lowe from U. S., E. Mayor from Europe, E. D. Merrill and O. A. Reinking from Philippine Islands, L. W. Nuttall from West Virginia, H. E. Parks from California, A. B. Seymour from Illinois and Massachusetts, R. Sprague from Oregon and North Dakota, P. C. Standley from Central America, F. L. Stevens from Puerto Rico, British Guiana, Ecuador, Panama, Hawaii and Philippine Islands, B. C. Tharp from Texas, S. M. Tracy and F. S. Earle from Mississippi, and F. L. Wellman from


Central America, as well as such collections as the fungi from the Wilkes' Expedition, the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, and the remainders of the J. B. Ellis herbarium. In addition, the fungus herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden has recently been incorporated into the general her-barium, particularly enriching the area of the Thelephoraceae and adding such noteworthy collections as those of E. A. Burt, N. M. Glatfelter, D. H. Linder, L. O. Overholts, P. S. Spaulding, and W. Trelease.

Regarding the U.S.D.A. special collections, the smut fungi (Ustilaginales) of G. L. Zundel are of particular economic importance. Acquired in 1948, this collection of specimens, photographs, and other records are the materials used in the extensive, specialized studies made by Zundel over a period of many years. The personal herbarium of C. E. Chardon of Puerto Rico, deposited in 1950, also is maintained separately. This collection is very rich in tar-spot fungi (Dothideales), which were Chardon's special interest, but contains specimens of various other fungal groups, all collected in the West Indies and Central and South America. Of great historical interest as well as for its value of taxonomic reference is the herbarium of Ezra Michener. Michener was an amateur botanist given per-mission to go over the Schweinitz herbarium and to extract portions of specimens for his own herbarium. His herbarium, then, contains many specimens that were collected both by Schweinitz and by M. A. Curtis, another noted early American mycologist. This collection of 38 volumes was found in a Pennsylvania library in 1917 by C. L. Shear and N. E. Stevens, who succeeded in having it transferred to the National Fungus Collections.

Other important units of the U.S.D.A. collections that are maintained separately include (1) the E. E. Morse collection of Pacific Coast Fungi; (2) the Chinese National Herbarium, consisting of that portion of the Nanking collections not destroyed by the Japanese; (3) the E. F. Guba collection of Monochaetia and Pestalotia, specimens, microscopic slides, and records which were used in Guba's extensive studies and which comprised the material used for his monograph of those genera; (4) a series of annotated portions of P. A. Karsten's type specimens of polypores, de-posited by J. L. Lowe with the kind permission of the museum staff at Helsinki; (5) the C. C. Plitt lichen herbarium; (6) the S. F. Blake collection of the lichen genus Cladonia; (7) entomogenous fungi; and (8) a small series of specimens preserved in liquid.

The Smithsonian general herbarium, like that of the U.S.D.A., is unrestricted as to fungal group or geographic source. It contains the fungal material accumulated in the U. S. National Herbarium since 1893 when the phanerogamic herbarium was returned to the Smithsonian Institution during the curatorship of F. V. Coville. Recent additions to the general herbarium are the W. H. Long and the Goucher College herbaria. The former, received by be-quest to the Smithsonian Institution following Dr. Long's death in 1947, consists primarily of Long's extensive collections of Gasteromycetes and Uredinales from the south- western United States and includes the types of his many new species. The latter, more recently donated, contains the collections of C. B. Stifler, an alumna of Goucher College, and J. E. Humphrey, an early U. S. phytopathologist.

The largest and most important unit of the Smithsonian segment of the Collections is the separately maintained C. G. Lloyd Mycological Collections. Acquired in 1928 by gift from the Trustees of the Lloyd Library and Museum, this collection of more than 58,000 specimens represents the life work of the late C. G. Lloyd of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is particularly noteworthy for its extensive world-wide collections of the Polyporaceae, gasteromycetes, and Xylariaceae and its large number of type specimens. In addition to the specimens it includes some Io,000 photographic negatives with a subject index, a series of microscopic slides of types and other specimens studied by Lloyd in Europe, his set of notebooks also compiled in European herbaria, two sets of his mycological writings (one as published and one as rearranged systematically in loose-leaf notebooks), and a portion of his correspondence. Also maintained as part of the Lloyd herbarium are accession and card catalogues in which each specimen is indexed.

A recent addition to the Smithsonian segment is the personal herbarium of the noted Italian mycologist, R. Ciferri. Acquired by purchase under a National Science Foundation grant, this collection of 18,000 specimens is still in the process of being curated. It is especially noteworthy in that it contains Ciferri's extensive tropical American collections, including his exsiccati specimens from the Dominican Re-public, and his excellent collection of Ustilaginales.

Exsiccati specimens comprise an important and valued segment of the Collections. Prior to 1927, such specimens were interpolated in the U.S.D.A. general herbarium, but ones received since that time have been maintained separately in their volumes as issued or, where published unbound, have been bound into standard exsiccati folders in numerical order. No attempt has been made to remove exsiccati specimens already distributed in the herbarium and their total number is not known. Those maintained separately now total 107,000.

In addition to the herbaria, an integral part of the National Fungus Collections is the Stevenson Mycological Library, a taxonomic reference collection of mycological and phytopathological literature. This specialized collection of 4500 volumes of books and journals and 45,000 reprints or separates is an invaluable working tool, greatly facilitating the research and service activities of the staff. The library is available as well to other workers for reference, but not for loan. Practically all volumes that are strictly mycological are included, but ones of broader coverage that are readily available from the National Agricultural Library are not represented. The book and journal series is composed primarily of the extensive, very valuable personal library of J. A. Stevenson, who generously donated it in 1952 to the Smithsonian Institution. The reprint series contains materials accumulated over a period of many years


and from a wide variety of sources. Noteworthy are the many thousands of reprints collected by E. F. Smith that after his death were acquired by the Department of Agri-culture.

With a few exceptions, such as the exsiccati and the Michener collection which are in bound volumes, the various herbarium units are curated uniformly. The procedures followed do not differ greatly from those recently outlined by D. B. O. Savile in his book Collection and care of botanical specimens (Canada Department of Agriculture Publication 1113, Ottawa, 1962). Insofar as is practicable, all specimens are packeted, labeled, and glued to standard-sized herbarium sheets (161/2 X 111/2 inches). Each sheet is labeled in the lower right corner with the name of the fungus species or variety and that of the host, if it is known. Separate sheets are used for each host of a fungus and are filed alphabetically by the host name. Fungus species are in turn arranged alphabetically within genus covers, each of which bears the genus number and name, together with letters indicating what alphabetical portion of the genus it contains.

Delicate and bulky specimens are boxed. The myxomycetes are kept in especially shallow, covered boxes and trays, with 24 rectangular boxes per tray and 5 trays per compartment of a standard herbarium case. All other boxed specimens are maintained in a standardized series of covered, cardboard boxes of 4 rectangular sizes in each of 3 different heights. These boxes number 4, 8, 16, or 32 per tray and are thus interchangeable within the tray, effecting complete space economy. The trays themselves are rectangular, cardboard boxes with lids and are of 3 depths, 11/2, 21/2, and 5 inches, each accommodating a single layer of specimen boxes. Specimen labels are pasted on the tops of the box covers for ease of reference. Trays are labeled essentially like genus covers and are located as near as practicable to the sheet specimens of the same genus or species.

Genera are arranged in the herbaria according to the system found in Saccardo's Sylloge f ungorum. Each has a number, following the original plan published anonymously by W. A. Kellerman in 1890 in an unnumbered publication of the State Agricultural College, Manhattan, Kansas. Kellerman apparently arranged all of the genera found in volumes I–VIII and addenda I–IV of the Sylloge, placing them in the families of Saccardo's Conspectus systematicus generalis. The genera were then numbered consecutively from r to 1523. Thus, Amanita has the number "1"; Amanitopsis, number "2"; Lepiota, number "3"; and so on, to Spegazzinia, which has number "1523." Further numbers have been added during the 72 years that the system has been in use, but these have been limited to such genera as those of the Mycelia Sterilia so that a semblance of a taxonomic arrangement can be maintained. Practically all new genera encountered are incorporated into the existing numerical structure by use of alphabetical letter-adjuncts of the numbers of closely related genera. For example, when Allescheria was added, it was assigned the number "372a" and filed next to Eurotiuna, a near relative having the number "372." In a few instances where single letters of the alphabet have been exhausted, genera have been assigned double letters, such as "aa" and "bb," after the numbers. For convenience in locating specimens, alphabetical lists of the genera with their numbers are kept in looseleaf note-books on the herbarium study tables.

Card indexes comprise a useful adjunct of the Collections. One, the herbarium fungus index, lists alphabetically all species and varieties present in the general herbaria, special collections (except the Lloyd Collections which have their cwn index), and exsiccati series, indicates their hosts, and names the particular segments of the Collections in which they are located. This index, started many years ago, now contains some 190,000 cards. A second, the herbarium host index, is somewhat similar to the first, but lists the species under an alphabetical arrangement of their hosts and permits the finding of specimens on that basis. A third index, one that is very useful for nomenclatural purposes, is the new taxa index which contains the scientific names, authors, dates, places of publication, and, where pertinent, basonyms of all newly described fungi, including new species and varieties, new combinations, and new names. This index was begun in 1923 by E. K. Cash at C. L. Shear's suggestion to provide a compilation of names for those fungi described subsequent to Saccardo's Sylloge f ungorum. The new taxa index, now of substantial size, includes the names published by Petrak in his "Lists" and, together with the Sylloge, provides the most nearly complete source of names and publication data on fungi in this hemisphere. Close cooperation is maintained with the British Commonwealth Mycological Institute to cover the world literature as completely as possible and all new names compiled are published by the C. M. I. in its Index of fungi, issued twice yearly.

The mycological and plant pathological literature of the world is indexed insofar as time permits. Begun in 1927 and substantially increased during the depression years of the 1930's, when extra assistants were provided, the literature indexes are currently maintained as a cooperative project with Epidemiology Investigations, the other group formed by the reorganization of the "Section" in 1960. At the present time only foreign literature is indexed, with cards arranged in two catalogues where they are filed in one by the host name and in the other by the fungus name. Although far short of complete coverage, the literature indexes now comprise more than 1,000,000 cards and provide an extremely useful cross-section of the literature of the field. All of the indexes are used extensively in the information service functions of the staff and have been consulted by visiting scientists for periods of time ranging to a year or more.

A fungus exchange service has been in operation since the turn of the century and has been an important source of acquisitions. Specimens duplicating ones already in the herbarium are accumulated, packeted, and labeled. From time to time lists of these specimens available for exchange


are prepared and distributed to institutions and individuals to facilitate their selection of specimens of interest to them. The current list consists of some 2I00 entries which initially represented 35,000–40,000 individual specimen packets. First issued in 1961, the list is no longer completely accurate, but is still available upon request.

In 1955 the National Fungus Collections contained approximately 550,000 specimens and was reported by Steven-son (Taxon 4: 181–185) "to rank second in size in the United States according to figures prepared by F. J. Seaver, formerly Curator of Fungi of the New York Botanical Garden, the Farlow Cryptogamic Herbarium of Harvard University taking first place." At the present time specimens in the National Collections total more than 677,000 and include approximately 16o,000 Uredinales, as well as what J. L. Lowe of Syracuse, N. Y., has termed "the largest and finest collection of Polyporaceae in existence."

Botany in Mexican Schools


Kansas Wesleyan University

In very recent years an increased emphasis has been placed upon botanical research in tropical areas. Expanding populations and rapidly developing industries are placing increased pressure on the existing undisturbed lands. A sense of urgency has arisen to study and record the biota of these areas before they are irrevocably altered by man's quest for a better life. In this respect, our neighbor to the south, the Republic of Mexico, offers an excellent opportunity for North American botanists to assist in this important task, and to work in a tropical region of high botanical importance which is rapidly being affected by industrialization. One may, of course, work effectively in another country without a knowledge of the national culture and language. But it must also be conceded that such knowledge greatly facilitates the amount of work accomplished and contributes to the effectiveness of procedure in general. In most cases the North American botanist, studying in Mexico, will meet his counterpart in the Mexican university. Consequently, some knowledge of the Mexican educational system should be helpful in appreciating the position of these people in the system and in collaborating more effectively with them.

Pre-university educational experience in Mexico consists of six years o felementary (primaria), three of secondary (secundaria), and two to three years of preparatory school (preparatoria). Primary education is quite similar to that in the United States in that the objectives deal with fundamentals, and develop a consciousness of national society and culture. Secondary education amplifies the primary experience and adds cultural depth to what has been attained on the primary level. During these two phases, the student contacts botany through nature study and general biology. Preparatory education is strictly concentrated preparation for entrance into an institution of higher learning, and even for that particular faculty in which the student expects to matriculate. Preparatory education is considered an integral part of higher education by Mexican law and preparatory schools are closely associated with institutions of higher education. The curriculum of the preparatory school is more or less set by the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. During his preparatory study, the student usually takes a general botany course which treats those topics ordinarily found in the general botany course of the North American university or college. This contrasts strongly; with the situation in the United States where a student rarely has the opportunity to study general botany until he enters a college or university.

The Mexican university is a direct descendant of the European university, and until recent times, was physically arranged as such with buildings scattered about a city. Lately, modern university cities (ciudades universitarias) in which all facilities are concentrated have appeared all over the Republic. Practically every major city in Mexico has a university city or one under construction. Almost all institutions of higher learning are supported by the state. The Instituto Technol6gico of Monterrey is an exception. The university is administered by a Rector, Vice-rector, and a Secretary. An academic council functions in matters of policy. Usually the Rector and Vice-rector serve definite terms of office while the Secretary lends continuity to ad-ministration. Students are represented on councils to a degree unknown in the United States. Academic rank is more or less equal to that found in the United States, but the great contrast is that full-time faculty members are much in the minority. Again we have an exception in the Instituto Tecnol6gico of Monterrey which has a full-time faculty. However, there is a movement to establish full-time faculties in Mexican universities to provide effectiveness of instruction, development of research, and creation of a professional group of university instructors. If present trends continue, the ranks of part-time professors will be markedly reduced.

In practically all the provincial universities the student has some opportunity to study botany. Mostly this will be pharmaceutical botany, but in normal schools botany is developed through a biology course. The University of Guerrero offers three botany courses in its normal school: general botany, cryptogamic plants, and vascular plants. These are taken by students who are specializing in the teaching of biology. At the moment, the main centers of botanical study which offer programs approaching those studied by botany majors in the United States are: the National University in Mexico City (Universidad Nacional Autdnoma de Mexico), the National Polytechnic Institute of the same city (Instituto Politecnico Nacional) in its School of Biological Sciences (Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biolōgicas), the National School of Agriculture (Escuela Nacional de Agricultura) located at Chapingo a short distance outside Mexico City, and the Technological Institute of Monterrey (Instituto Tecnolōgico y de Estudios Superiores).


The Technological Institute of Monterrey offers the degree of Ingeniiero A_grc nomo (Agricultural Engineer) in its School of Agriculture. This program of study (carrera) requires a basic period of training of nine semesters and a professional thesis. Courses required in botany are: general botany, systematic botany, agricultural botany, cereals and legumes, plant anatomy, general genetics, industrial plants, horticulture, general microbiology, applied plant genetics, fruit culture, mycology, plant pathology, plant ecology, and plant physiology. Electives may be chosen from cotton culture, citriculture, tropical crops, agrostology, plant hormones, and herbicides. In addition to botany, the student takes courses in animal sciences, physical sciences, and applicable engineering areas. The campus of the Institute is located on the south side of Monterrey and consists of mod-ern classrooms, laboratory, and dormitory buildings. A greenhouse is located on the campus for research purposes, and an experimental farm is established at Apodaca, a short distance to the east of Monterrey. Research is encouraged and a herbarium has been established. A certain number of faculty members are annually sent outside the country for advanced study; a large number have studied in the United States. The School of Agriculture has done much to advance the agricultural economy in the northeastern part of Mexico and will play an increasingly important role in the development of the nation.

The Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City offers the degree of Biōlogo (Biologist) in its School of Biological Sciences which occupies a modern campus with up-to-date classrooms and laboratory buildings. The laboratory building devoted to botany also contains the herbarium. Here again research is encouraged and there are continuing plans to advance postgraduate research and provide facilities for professional investigation in all areas of biology.

The campus of the National University in Mexico City is well known to North American tourists because of its modernistic architecture and huge size. The degree of Bidlogo is offered and courses in general botany, plant morphology, cytology, genetics, plant anatomy and physiology. pathology, vascular and cryptogamic plants, and forest re-sources may be pursued. The National University has a botanical garden and herbarium.

The National School of Agriculture is located some distance outside Mexico City on what was formerly a private hacienda at Chapingo. The original structure is now used as an administration building and offers the visitor the added treat of some of Diego Rivera's early fresco work in the former chapel. Botanical sciences are taught in a large, attractive building which also houses the herbarium. Immediately adjacent one finds an experimental garden, and some distance away is a large greenhouse of sufficient height to contain small trees. Plants from the tropical areas of Mexico are grown here. The curriculum contains courses offered in any well organized agricultural school, and leads to the degree of Ingeniero Agrōnonso.

Additionally, the University of Guadalajara has a Botanical Institute, and a regional botanical garden is planned for the University of Guerrero. Agricultural experiment stations are scattered in strategic locations about the nation. A program of adiestramiento sponsored by the federal government teaches vocational agriculture to Mexican farmers and is designed to develop new techniques to cope with the special problems of rural life.

It must be emphasized that Mexico is undergoing a period of rapid change from an agrarian to an urban way of life. With it go all the dislocations that such an upheaval entails. This will be reflected in the educational institutions of the country because it is through education that problems of change must be ameliorated. Owing to a high rate of population increase (35 per cent) coupled with the need for expanded food production, the pressure is very great on professional botanists to perform applied research. However, there is also acute recognition of the need for basic research, and it is encouraged as much as circumstances permit. One may confidently look forward to increased activity in this area. With the complexity and variety of the Mexican flora and the diversity of ecological situations, we should expect an upsurge in botanical science. Historically this would be in keeping with the keen appreciation of plant life for which the Mexicans have been noted, and which they still display to an extent not known in the more urbanized areas of the Western World.

North American botanists interested in communicating with teachers and investigators in those institutions mentioned in this article may find the following listing helpful:

Instituto Tccnol6gico y de E. S.. Monterrey. N. L.. Mexico:

Atg. Leonel Robles G.

Prof. Paulino Rojas Mendoza.

Prof. Manuel Rojas Garcidueiias.

Instituto Politēcnico National, Mexico, D. P.. Mexico:

Prof. Antonio Corzo.

Biel. Gast6n Guzman H.

Escuela Nacional de Agricultura, Chapingo, Edo. Mexico, Mexico: Prof. Efraim Ilernandez X.

Universidad Nacional Autōnoma de Mexico, Mexico, D. F., Mexico: Prof. Maximino Martinez.

The Botanical Society of Mexico welcomes cooperation of North American botanists. It publishes the professional journal Boletin de la Sociedad Botcinica de Mexico. Inquiries about membership should he directed to:

Sr. Secrctario

Sociedad Botanica do Mexico

Ap. Post. No. 30203

Z. P. 7 Mm. No. 27

Mexico, D. F., Mexico

Annual dues arc S4.00 US.

Teaching Section Symposia


The Unversily of Arizona

This year, the Teaching Section of the Botanical Society of America will present an instructive and thought-provoking program at the Amherst meetings. It is noteworthy that so many outstanding teachers and research biologists have cooperated to make this program possible. Two symposia have been planned and two films produced as special projects will be a part of the paper session, the largest in


recent years. The first of the two symposia is entitled, "The Use of Living Material in the Teaching of Botany." Participants and their topics are:

Introduction: Paul A. Vestal, Rollins College

Algae: Richard C. Starr, Indiana University

Fungi: Ralph Emerson, University of California

Bryophytes: William C. Stecre, New York Botanical Garden Ptcridophytcs: David W. Bierhorst, Cornell University

The second symposium, "Biologists' Role in Improving Science at the Elementary, High School and College Levels," should present a challenge to all biologists. It is now recognized that we as scientists must become actively en-gaged in the improvement of education in the sciences. While the symposium will consider curriculum improvement at all levels, special emphasis will be directed to the elementary school effort where professional biologists are becoming increasingly involved. Participating in this symposium will be:

Edwin B. Kurtz, Jr., The University of Arizona: "Help Wanted."

Paul B. Scars, Chairman, AAAS Commission on Science Instruction:

"Concern of AAAS in the Improvement of Science Teaching." Herbert L. Mason, University of California: "Analysis of Problems in

Biological Science at the Elementary School Level."

William H. Weston, Education Science Services, Inc.: "Development of a Microbiology Unit for the Fifth Grade."

Doris E. Hadary, American University: "The Molecular Approach to Biology at the Fifth and Sixth Grade Levels."

William V. Mayer, Wayne State University: "The Research Biologist

and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)."

Johns Hopkins III, Harvard University: "Innovations in Introductory Biology Teaching at Harvard."

These symposia have been planned to provide for a maximum exchange of ideas between the teaching biologist and the research biologist. The National Association of Biology Teachers has accepted an invitation to co-sponsor the two symposia.


Professor Emeritus Walter C. Muenscher, renowned ex-pert on weeds and poisonous plants, died at his home in Ithaca on March 20, 1963. Professor Muenscher was born in Germany and as a child came to the United States where he was raised on a farm in the state of Washington. He was graduated from Washington State College and earned the masterate in botany from the University of Nebraska, and the doctorate from Cornell University. In 1916, he began his professional career in botany as an instructor at Cornell; he was made a full professor in 1937 and retired from active service in 1954.

Many young botanists have been brought up on Muenscher's useful books: Keys to woody plants, Weeds, Poisonous plants, Keys to spring plants, and Aquatic plants of the United States are still standards in many taxonomy courses. Dr. Muenscher was active in wildlife conservation and was a board member of the Wildlife Preservation Society and a trustee of the Wildflower Preservation Society of America. He was a member of several professional botanical societies and received a Certificate of Merit from the Botanical Society of America. In 1958, a group of his former students honored him by erecting a bronze plaque bearing his name in the poisonous plants garden near the Plant Science Building on the Cornell campus.

News and Notes


Proposals regarding the INTERNATIONAL CODE OF BOTANI-

CAL NOMENCLATURE (1961) must be submitted to the Rap-,

porteur-genera , Dr. J. Lanjouw, Lange Nieuwstraat io ,

Utrecht, Netherlands, before October I, 1963. All proposals will be published in Taxon. Nomenclature proposals will be presented to the Tenth International Botanical Congress by the Rapporteur-gin&al in a Synopsis of proposals to be published in January 1964. The sessions of the Nomenclature Section of the Congress will be held in Edinburgh, Great Britain from July 29 to August i, 1964. The Congress itself will meet from August 3 to August 12, 1964.


held at the Missouri Botanical Garden on Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, 1963. The subject of the Symposium this year will be, "Pollination Relationships and Systematics." A botanist and zoologist will serve as co-chairmen and five invited papers will be given on different aspects of the problem as it relates to botanical and zoological systematics. The SYMPosIuM is aided by a grant from the National Science Foundation. For further information ad-dress Dr. Robert L. Dressler, The Missouri Botanical Gar-den, 2315 Tower Grove Avenue, St Louis 10, Missouri.

The College of Guam at Agana is inaugurating a journal devoted to the sciences in Micronesia to be titled MICRONESICA. In particular, the fields of anthropology, botany, and zoology will be included as they pertain to the Micronesian area of the Pacific and related regions. The subscription price will be less than $5.00 for the first volume. Interested persons are invited to write to the editor, Dr. Benjamin C. Stone, College of Guam, P. O. Box 97, Agana, Guam.

The WILLIAM C. COKER HALL of the University of North Carolina will be dedicated in the fall of 1963. This building is for the exclusive occupancy of the Department of Botany and is being named in honor of Dr. William C. Coker who established the department in 1908, six years after he joined the faculty of the university. The building has four stories and is intended to house lecture rooms and undergraduate laboratories as well as research laboratories, the departmental library, and herbarium. A research green-house is attached to COKER HALL which will be operated in conjunction with another recently completed greenhouse located at the North Carolina Botanical Garden under the supervision of the Department of Botany. Funds for COKER HALL were provided by the State of North Carolina, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. The greenhouse at the Botanical Garden was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. St. Pierre DuBose of Chapel Hill.


The NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN has undertaken the preparation of a series of illustrated books on the wild flowers of the United States excluding Alaska and Hawaii. The books will be directed to the amateur with little or no botanical training and will present wild flowers without the embellishment of technical descriptive terms found in manuals and floras. It is planned to treat the United States in five regions, a volume being devoted to each: the north-eastern states, the southeastern states, the central plains and mountains, the Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. The work will be under the direction of Dr. Harold W. Rickett, and Dr. William C. Steere will serve as General Editor. Presently, color transparencies of wild flowers are being sought by the staff, and botanists are urged to send their best "shots" to Dr. Rickett.


The following botanists have been appointed to the staff at the University of Iowa: DR. MARTIN A. RosINsKI, formerly of the University of Maine, as mycologist; DR. ROBIN L. CUANY, formerly of the Instituto Interamericano de Ciencias Agricola, Turrialba, Costa Rica, to teach genetics and cytogenetics; DR. THOMAS E. MELCI-IERT, formerly of the University of Texas, as Curator of the Herbarium and Taxonomist.

DR. WILLIAM C. AsI-IBY of the Department of Botany at Southern Illinois University has received a National Science Foundation grant to study the effects of moisture conditions on plants. Dr. Ashby's studies will be carried out in the field, and he will attempt to relate moisture balance to the limitation of plant distribution.

In June, DR. THOMAS R. SODERSTROM Of the Smithsonian Department of Botany departed for a four-month plant collecting trip to the Wilhelmina Mountains of Surinam. This trip is in conjunction with a continuing study by Dr. Bassett Maguire of the New York Botanical Garden to investigate the flora of northern South America.

DR. JOHN E. EBINGER of Roanoke College has accepted a position in the Department of Botany at Eastern Illinois University.

DR. WALLACE R. ERNST, presently a staff member in the Harvard University Herbarium, has accepted a position as

Associate Curator in the Division of Phanerogams of the Department of Botany at the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Ernst will have charge of curating the Old World collections and will collaborate with Dr. A. C. Smith in further studies on the flora of the Fiji Islands.

DR. ROBERT ORNDUFF, presently of the Department of Botany at Duke University, has accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Botany on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Dr. Ornduff will be responsible for developing a new course in systematics. DR. DONALD E. STONE of Tulane will replace Dr. Ornduff at Duke.

DR. GEORGE C. KENT has been appointed Head, Department of Botany, Cornell University. He has served as Acting Head since September 1, 1961, following the resignation of Dr. Harlan P. Banks who wished to devote more time to research and teaching. Dr. Kent will retain his Headship of the Department of Plant Pathology as Well. Dr. Kent was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where he received his A.B. in 1933.

PROFESSORS F. C. STEWARD and H. P. BANKS received Guggenheim Fellowships for 1963-1964. Steward will continue his studies of cell biology, metabolism, growth and development in plants, and has recently been named director of a new laboratory established for these purposes. The new unit is distinct from the Cornell Department of Botany with which Dr. Steward was formerly associated.

Banks will continue his work on the origin of land plants. He plans to collaborate with Professor Suzanne Leclercq, Head, Laboratory of Paleobotany, University of Liege, Belgium, during Spring term 1964. He will also study collections of Devonian plants in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Britain and Prague, Czechoslovakia prior to the X International Botanical Congress in Edinburgh.

PROFESSOR SUZANNE LECLERCQ, Corresponding Member of the Botanical Society of America, spent the months of May and June 1963 collaborating with H. P. Banks, Department of Botany, Cornell and F. M. Hueber, U. S. National Museum, on the study of a Lower Devonian fern-like plant. Prior to her arrival at Cornell, Professor LecIercq lectured at University of California, Berkeley, Washington University, St. Louis, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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