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  • Marieka Gryzenhout

Dried fungal specimens: Link to what was where and what someone collected

Fungal fruiting bodies found by collectors in the field can be collected, dried and then stored safely. Although the fungi do not look as beautiful or even as recognizable as they were in the field, experts can still use them to see crucial microscopic features that will help them to identify the specimen to genus, to species, or discover that the fungus is a new species. People working on the correct names of fungal groups can request these specimens (some can be more than a 100 years old) from across the world to work out their correct names once they are submitted to an internationally recognized fungarium (institution that hosts dried fungal specimens). Having correctly taken photographs of the fresh specimens and features only observed in the field or on fresh specimens, and all the needed information (for examples look at the Fungal Conservation or Fungal Barcoding pages) also helps greatly. In the photograph below you can see a collection of specimens that I was busy identifying. Mixing up all of those specimens would have been a bad idea even though I started to feel cross-eyed later on!


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