UF/IFAS Fungal Herbarium
The University of Florida Mycological Herbarium (FLAS) is one of the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
The fungal herbarium is managed by the and is curated by Dr. Matthew Smith. The collection is located in Building 737 (just off Hull Road west of Fifield Hall). The FLAS acronym is the standard international abbreviation for the University of Florida Herbarium. It is derived from the herbarium's association with the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
The mission of the fungal herbarium is to preserve fungal specimens, catalog specimens for ongoing mycological research, and to facilitate studies on fungal biology and biodiversity in Florida. Studies based on fungal specimens help us to understand the evolution of fungi (how fungi are related to each other and to other organisms) and also fungal ecology (what fungi do in the environment and how they interact with other organisms).
The fungal herbarium is a valuable resource that holds critical voucher collections of economic importance including: 1) plant pathogenic fungi, 2) fungi that are deadly poisonous to humans and pets when consumed, 3) fungi that are useful for commercial applications (e.g. industrial processing, bioremediation), and 4) fungi that are toxic to animals (e.g. fungi that attack forage grasses).
The herbarium currently holds more than 58,000 fungal specimens that consist of macrofungal fruiting bodies (mushrooms, shelf fungi, etc.), plants infected by fungi, and isolates of microfungi on dried agar plates. These include approximately 700 type specimens of mushrooms and related fungi that were deposited by the prolific mycologist W.A. Murrill. Several web resources document the scientific accomplishments and colorful life of Dr. Murrill (1 & 2).
The UF fungal herbarium is participating in an NSF-funded project to digitize and database as many US macrofungi collections as possible. This project (The Macrofungi Collection Consortium) includes 34 institutions in 24 states. The project began in July 2012 and will aim to capture data for roughly 1.3 million fungal specimens.
People who are interested in borrowing fungal specimens or visiting the fungal herbarium should contact:
Dr. Matthew Smith
Department of Plant Pathology
2517 Fifield Hall
Gainesville FL 32611