>91,000 Specimens (+ many duplicates available for exchange)
Collections of microfungi parasitic on plants were initiated in the 1880’s by A. B. Seymour, J. C. Arthur, and Wm. Trelease. Like lichens and bryophytes, parasitic fungi represent a traditional area of interest in the UW Botany Department and Department of Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture. Taxonomic and ecological papers written by UW staff dealing specifically with the parasitic fungi of Wisconsin have been appearing continuously since the 1880’s. The estimated 91,000 or more specimens of parasitic fungi are stored in packets within bin boxes or mounted on half-sheets, except for a few old exsiccatae sets that remain bound in books. Our collection contains practically all of the important exsiccatae of both the Old and the New Worlds, but most of these have been broken up and the individual specimens inserted into the herbarium.
The UW collection of parasitic fungi is thought by some to be comparable to the Arthur Herbarium at Purdue University (PUR), which is similar in size. J. J. Davis (Curator of the Herbarium 1911-1937) and H. C. Greene (staff member 1937-1967) took a particular interest in developing the parasitic fungi collection, and, based on it, each published a lengthy series of taxonomic studies (Davis, 31 papers and 1 book; Greene, 34 papers and 2 books). Exceptionally rich in holotypes and isotypes, loan requests and exchanges are received regularly from researchers all over the world interested in these agriculturally important organisms.
Note that owing to a shortage of space and difficulties in curation, all fleshy macrofungi (some 3,000 specimens) were transferred on permanent exchange to the Field Museum of Natural History (F) in November 1963. The WIS fungi collection today is almost exclusively microfungi & slimemolds.
However, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is located the USDA’s Center for Forest Mycology Research at the Forest Products Laboratory, which maintains a fungal herbarium. This is a national repository of wood decay fungi collected by mycologists since the early 1900’s. There are some 70,000 specimens as well as a large culture collection containing about 12,000 isolates representing about 1,500 species.