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The New Zealand Fungarium (PDD) Collection

Fungarium PDD is recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection.

The New Zealand Fungarium is the world's foremost collection of New Zealand fungi, and is one of the few sizeable collections of fungi in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a unique, primary source of information on the fungi of New Zealand. All the major groups of fungi are represented, with emphasis on the plant pathogenic microfungi and wood decay basidiomycetes. Indigenous fungi are well represented, and approximately 1400 type specimens of New Zealand fungi are held. Specimens collected during surveys of plant diseases in the South Pacific are deposited in PDD. A database of all specimens is available online via our NZFungi website. An extensive library associated with the fungarium concentrates on taxonomic mycology and plant pathology, with many separates.

Important Collections

The fungarium is the main repository for New Zealand collections made by G.H. Cunningham (Aphyllophorales, Gasteromycetes, Uredinales), J.M. Dingley (Ascomycetes), E. Horak (Agaricales), S.J. Hughes (Hyphomycetes, sooty moulds), R.F.R. McNabb (Agaricales, Boletaceae, Dacrymycetaceae, Strobilomycetaceae, Tremellaceae), R.H. Petersen (Clavariaceae) and G.J. Samuels (Ascomycetes). The herbarium also has some of the fungal collections made by W. Colenso. These specimens, on long-term loan from the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa), usually bear locality names, data which are missing from Colenso specimens held at Kew. K. Curtis's collection of about 400 extant specimens is held on long-term loan from the Cawthron Institute. Fungal specimens from the herbarium of the Plant Health and Diagnostic Station, Levin (LEV) have been incorporated into PDD.

Collection Size

There are over 95,000 dried specimens, stored in packets within carboard boxes that are kept on shelves. Between 1,000 and 2,000 specimens are added each year.

Geographic Coverage

Over 150 countries are represented in the collection with the following major holdings: New Zealand, the Pacific Islands (over 6000 specimens, including American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu), Australia, Canada, Germany, USA.

Specimen Protection

The collection is housed in air-conditioned facilities. Fire protection is provided by an Inergen gas flooding system. Type specimens are held in locked, fire-retardant cabinets. All specimens are placed in a freezer for one week before they are incorporated into the fungarium. Once a year the baseboards of the collection area and surrounding rooms are sprayed with a long-lasting permethrin-type insecticide.

Specimen availability

Specimens are made available to all bona fide researchers. Charges are made for identification and use of the specimens where appropriate.

Historically important mushroom collections added to the New Zealand Fungal Herbarium

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.

Collection databases

Details of all specimens are held in a database on the Manaaki Whenua network. 

The collections database is part of the wider NZFUNGI database, and is searchable over the WWW.  For example, a list of type specimens can be generated using the collection search form, by searching for the phrase "PDD type".  Searches can be made by PDD number, organism name, associated organism (host), country, 'Crosby district' within New Zealand, substrate (data incomplete), habitat (data incomplete), collector, and collector's number.  

The database also includes fields with more precise locality data than is provided over the WWW, locality geo-reference data (GIS mapping capability is planned), history of specimen re-identifications, as well as specimen and loan management fields, etc.



New Zealand:

  • Member herbarium of the New Zealand National Herbarium Network;  the curator attends all meetings of the network.
  • Users of the fungarium include:
    • Staff of biosystematic and ecology teams of Landcare Research,
    • Industry,
    • Crown Research Institutes (AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, ESR, Scion),
    • Government departments such as the Ministry of Primary Industries,
    • Department of Conservation, 
    • University of Auckland,
    • Auckland Museum,
    • Auckland Regional Council,
    • The public.


  • Exchange programmes are maintained with Australian, Austrian, Canadian, Chinese, and German herbaria.
  • Each year about 25 sets of loan specimens are sent on loan to researchers around the world.
  • International users include mycologists and plant pathologists, Secretariate of the Pacific Community, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and Pacific Island nations - especially departments of agriculture and conservation.
  • Mycologists from several countries have visited including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, UK, and USA.


Up to date lists of type specimens can be generated over the WWW from the NZFUNGI database.

On the Fungarium search form, specify a PDD Accession number >1, check the "restrict to types" box, and a list of all type specimens will be generated.  Nearly all systematic revisions and monographs over the last 76 years on New Zealand fungi are based entirely or in part on specimens in the collection. Major treatments of agarics and coral fungi by overseas workers have utilised PDD holdings. The principal published list of plant diseases in New Zealand is largely substantiated by specimens held in PDD. Current staff have published over 70 papers over the past 10 years, based mainly on PDD specimens.

A list of type specimens of New Zealand fungi held in the herbarium was published in 1992 (McKenzie et al. 1992: A list of type specimens of New Zealand fungi held in DSIR Plant Protection herbarium (PDD). Mycotaxon 43: 77-156).

Fungarium search form