Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

NZ type specimens in the Kew Fungarium

The Kew fungarium is an important historical data resource on the fungi of New Zealand. Prior to the establishment of a national fungal collection in the 1920’s (McKenzie 2004), the study of New Zealand’s fungi was carried out by overseas-based mycologists, especially those at Kew. They studied specimens sent back to them by scientific expeditions of exploration and by locally based naturalists.

To improve access to the resource at Kew, a visit to the fungarium was made during 2010, with the aim of photographing all Type specimens that had been collected from New Zealand. A search of the NZFungi database, targeting authors of fungal names who were likely to have deposited their material at Kew, showed that Kew could have as many as 550 type specimens from New Zealand.

The Kew fungarium is huge, containing over 800,000 specimens, largely uncatalogued, and somewhat idiosyncratically arranged. Species can be filed under any of their various synonyms. Most of synonyms have been published in the literature, but on occasions, specimens were found that had been re-filed on the basis of unpublished redeterminations recorded on annotation slips. In total, 418 New Zealand type specimens were found (Table 1). Each specimen was photographed, along with its original packet and any associated drawings, notes, and annotation slips. Another 58 specimens were not found, but which almost certainly were at one time in the collection. They could still be there, but filed under another name.

Through support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System Programme (TFBIS), all of the the images and notes relating to the Kew type specimens have been incorporated into the NZFungi database, and are now available through the NZFungi web portal.

Table 1 provides a list of the type specimens treated. To see these, open the hyperlinked webpages, then follow the tabs for the descriptions Notes: Notes from Kew type specimens …. The link from the fungus name at the top of the page that opens provides information on the current name of the fungus. The web pages for the current names have a full set of data on literature, images, and specimens associated with the fungus that have been linked to any of its synonyms.

Table 2 provides a list of specimens almost certainly in Kew but not found during this project.


  • McKenzie EHC, ed. 2004. Introduction to fungi of New Zealand. Fungi of New Zealand / Nga Harore o Aotearoa. 1. Hong Kong, Fungal Diversity Press. -498 p.
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