With support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme, historically important private collections of New Zealand native ‘mushrooms’ have been incorporated into the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium (PDD). The collections were gathered by three of the most important resident New Zealand mycologists Marie Taylor, Barbara Segedin, and Greta Stevenson, active from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s. These three mycologists described as new over 250 species of New Zealand fungi.
Most of the collections are accompanied by detailed drawings and notes made at the time the collections were gathered, many by beautiful watercolour sketches. Notes and paintings such as these are especially important for later identification of mushrooms, as important characters such as size and colour are lost when the specimens are dried for storage. One example is from a collection of Entoloma asprelloides made by Marie Taylor.
During the project more than 3,500 collections were deposited in the herbarium and added to the publically accessible NZFungi database, and more than 2,800 images scanned and added to the database. Many of the species with watercolour sketches previously had no other colour image available in the database.
Amongst the collections were:
- four species on the Department of Conservation Nationally Critical Threatened species register,
- 75 species on the Data Deficient register,
- Ten of the collections were of species previously not represented in the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium, including five exotic species.
Such collections are important as vouchers for confirming the presence of a species in New Zealand.