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Funga and fungarium

Funga and fungarium

Mycologists need to assert their independence from botanists, (other) microbiologists, and zoologists as a part of the long road to increased recognition amongst the life sciences. This is topic on which I have drawn attention to previously (e.g. Hawksworth 2000, 2003, 2006). One issue is to adopt a word for the fungi (including lichens) that occur in a particular area, or a major publication on those of a particular geographical region. In many cases it is possible to just use “fungi” by careful wording. I have not personally favoured the often-used “mycota” as that is the termination that indicates the rank of phylum, and the fungi are now universally accepted as a kingdom in their own right. I have consequently encouraged the use of “mycobiota” where some word was required. However, the alternative of “funga” was proposed by Gravesen (2000), and hardly taken up until recently relaunched in the title of Funga Nordica (Knudsen & Vesterholt 2008) — a key work which all field mycologists will now be coming familiar with. As the term “mycology” may not be as familiar to naturalists in general as “fungi”, I now consider that “funga” has much to commend it.

In transferring the collections of the former International Mycological Institute (IMI) to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew at the end of 2009, to make the largest fungal collection in the world with some 1.25 million specimens, Spooner & Cannon (2010) introduced the term “fungarium” (pl. “fungaria”) as a counterpart to “herbarium” (a collection of dried plants). This also seems logical and surely merits wider adoption — at least where the more encompassing “biosystematic reference collections” is not appropriate.



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Hawksworth, D.L. Funga and fungarium. IMA Fungus 1, 9 (2010).

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