Egon Horak’s slides of New Zealand fungi
Egon Horak is a leading mycologist specialising in mushrooms and has described and named over 1,000 new species from around 30 countries with a particular emphasis on South America and Australasia. Egon was the curator of Herbarium (ZT) of the Swiss Federal Institute (ETH) in Zurich from 1969 and retired to Innsbruck in 2001. He has continued to work as an active mycologist and recently published “The Fungi of New Zealand Volume 5: Agaricales of New Zealand 1 -Pluteaceae – Entolomataceae”.
Egon first came to New Zealand to study our fungi in 1967 and has made regular collecting trips ever since. Over the years Egon has photographed many of his collections as fresh material and these images represent an invaluable and irreplaceable resource. Fungi are preserved as dried collections and thus loose many of the original characteristics that can only be captured in good field notes, paintings, drawings and photographs.
In 2006 Landcare Research applied successfully for funding from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System Programme (TFBIS) to digitize the slides. Some of the older slides in particular were beginning to show signs of age with a loss of colour balance and so the process of digitization was a means of preserving this valuable archive as well as providing a unique resource for identification and research.
Through this TFBIS support we have now completed the digitisation of all 1,327 slides as well as keyboarding the associated metadata. This image archive has been integrated into our NZFUNGI databases and all the information is available through our NZFUNGI Web Portal.
Why are these slides significant?
The slides portray 471 taxa of fungi. They are also directly linked to 570 collections of the photographed material deposited in the PDD national fungal herbarium at Landcare Research in Auckland. Amongst the 1,327 slides are images of 164 ‘Types’. A Type is the physical collection which the scientific name of an organism is based and the associated images are therefore particularly valuable.
Here is presented a gallery of 98 images of Type collections with links to the corresponding names, images, and collections maintained in the NZFUNGI database and web portal.