ISSN 1188-603X

No. 414 September 23, 2009 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Ben Legler, University of Washington Herbarium, Seattle, WA

The Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria ( was created in 2007 to bring together regional herbaria and provide an online portal to the wealth of existing and emerging information about the flora of Pacific Northwest North America. Our definition of the region includes both U.S. states and Canadian provinces: Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. All types of herbarium specimen collections are represented by the Consortium including vascular plants, bryophytes, liverworts, hornworts, algae, lichens, and fungi.

Over 3.3 million specimens are managed by the region's 53 herbaria. Providing online access to these specimens is a primary function of the Consortium web site. Currently, 643,000 specimen records from four herbaria can be accessed through our web site and, with the pending addition of data from the University of British Columbia Herbarium, the total number of specimen records available will soon increase to an incredible 1,087,000.

By combining data from multiple herbaria in this way the Consortium web site provides truly comprehensive information about the distributions of species within the Pacific Northwest region as well as an efficient way for researchers to to browse and acquire relevant data that currently reside in disparate locations. Specimen data made available through the web site will be of use to academic researchers, land managers, conservation biologists, ecologists, amateur botanists, educational institutions, and other public and private organizations and businesses.

Table 1. Summary of collections currently served through the Consortium web site, broken down by herbarium and organismal group.

Vascular Plants   23,045149,130175,034147,668172,997667,874

* UBC data is currently being uploaded. Herbarium acronyms are NY (New York Botanical Garden), OSC (Oregon State University), UAM (University of Alaska Fairbanks), UBC (University of British Columbia), and WTU (University of Washington, also known by UWBM).
** Includes liverworts and hornworts.

These specimen records can be accessed through a fully featured search portal at Integrated into the search results is an interactive map display that shows a graphical depiction of the distribution of a set of specimens or any species. Users can zoom in to this map allowing, in many cases, visual clarification of the exact collection locations of individual specimens. Search results can also be downloaded in several formats for local use such as importing into Excel or GIS software, printing, or viewing in Google Earth.

In addition to specimen data, the Consortium web site provides links to relevant botanical resources hosted by regional herbaria. These include checklists, flora projects, online image collections, atlases, and individual herbarium databases. Also provided is an index of regional herbaria with contact information and summaries of each herbarium's holdings.

In July of 2009 the University of Washington Herbarium (WTU) submitted a collaborative grant proposal to NSF requesting funding to further develop the Consortium web site and integrate many additional specimen collections from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Partners in this grant are the Oregon State University Herbarium (OSC), the Stillinger Herbarium at the University of Idaho (ID), and the Montana State University Herbarium (MONT). If funded, this grant will enable several significant additions:

Together, these additions will bring the total number of specimen records served through the web site to nearly 1.8 million!

The PNW Herbaria Portal web site is managed by staff at the University of Washington Herbarium. For further information contact David Giblin (Herbarium Manager, ) or Ben Legler at the email above.


From: Tod F. Stuessy, Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.
Lammers, Thomas G. 2009.
Augustus Green in the Lair of the Pye-a-Saw. Published by the author, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Paper, 64 pages.

Available from: Missouri Botanical Garden Press (

As Tom Lammers is a former student of mine, I couldn't resist obtaining a copy of this small book, simply out of curiosity. What--Lammers writing fiction? This I just had to see for myself.

What I did find out is that Lammers does, indeed, have a real talent for spinning an intriguing yarn and keeping the reader engaged with it. I started this small book on an airplane flight back to Vienna, but not having finished it by the time I arrived, I found I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next in the story! This is the mark of a well-written book.

The story begins with a Professor Sheldon Wright finding an old book in the attic of his building on the Cranmoor college campus. It results that this is the journal of Augustus Green in the Iowa territory (U.S.A.) in 1799, who was collecting plants in the region. As Professor Wright begins to read this journal, it serves as our story line, and in the process we learn about plant collecting, indigenous peoples of the region, Spanish bureaucracy, Indian languages, etc. I was a bit amazed at the breath of this historical information, and so, asking Lammers about it, he answered: "Yes, all of the details are true, except for those that aren't!" To that perspective we have the topc from the title, the Pye-a-Saw, which really grabs your attention. This is a---whoops, better not to let it out and spoil the story. I suggest that you get a copy and read it for yourself--it will provide a very nice evening's entertainment.


From: Michael W. Beug [excerpt from a review in The Mycophile, summer 2009]
Trudell, Steve & Joe Ammirati. 2009.
Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.: Timber Press, Portland, OR. 349 p. with more than 450 species and over 500 colour photographs. ISBN-13: 978-0-88192-935-5 [soft cover], Price: US$27.95

To order a book over the phone, you can call 1-800-827-5622

This beautiful field guide to mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest is well written with excellent photography and the taxonomic issues are up to date. The book is small enough (6"x 8.5"x 7/8") to fit in a day pack and sturdy enough to take into the field. Steve Trudell, an affiliate professor in the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington, is an award winning photographer who has been studying mushrooms and mushroom ecology for over 30 years. Joe Ammirati is professor of biology and teaches mycology and botany at the University of Washington.

In a section titled "Preliminaries", the authors tell the reader what mushrooms are, how to hunt for mushrooms and collect them safely. They discuss mushroom ecology and mushroom toxicology. This section is followed by a discussion of how to identify mushrooms and how to use the book. These sections are useful to beginners. Individuals unfamiliar with mushrooms can start the identification process with the picture key to mushroom types inside the front cover of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. For individuals with some experience with mushrooms, the starting point is the written key to morphological groups on page 38 which leads the reader to the various color coded sections of the book. Each section begins with a key the genera included in that group. There are no keys to species, which in my view makes sense since there are probably over 5,000 species in the Pacific Northwest, far more than could be keyed out in any affordable field guide.

In the part of the book dealing with the mushrooms, each section begins with a discussion of the general physical features of the mushrooms in the genus covered followed by a description of our current understanding of the evolutionary relationships of the mushrooms in that section to other major groups of fungi. The descriptions of species do not follow the usual pattern of giving the dimensions, features and color of the cap, then gills, then stalk, etc. but instead follow a discussion format that I feel gives the readers a good sense of what to look for in each species described. They also give the most recent older name for species that have recently been renamed, discuss when a species or even a group of mushrooms needs more study before a name or names can be accurately applied, and anticipate some name changes that we can expect to see soon. Good edible species and seriously poisonous species are discussed in considerably more detail than the other mushrooms.

I was surprised at the number of species included that were new to me. All of my favorite groups of edibles were included as were all of the poisonous mushrooms that I worry about people accidentally picking. The photographs, almost all by Steve Trudell were excellent educational images, generally showing the critical features needed for identification, though in some cases the small size of the images made it hard to discern an important feature though the images were the same size as those found in most recent field guides. I would also have liked to see 500 or 600 pages devoted to PNW mushrooms so that the authors could have squeezed in more species. However, given the limitations of space and budget, I think that the authors did a great job in picking what to illustrate while still giving the reader a sense of what is out there that could not be described in just one book. [excerpt from a review by Michael W. Beug in The Mycophile, summer 2009]


From: Ian Gibson []
Lorelei L. Norvell and Ronald L. Exeter. 2009.
Phaeocollybia of Pacific Northwest North America. US Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Salem Oregon. 229 p. Price: US$71.

To order this publication, call 503-375-5646.

This is one of the most beautifully laid out and illustrated mushroom books ever produced. It will remain the main information source on this genus in the Pacific Northwest for many years to come. The macroscopic and microscopic keys have spent years in development and testing. The species descriptions bring together Norvell’s accounts scattered through the journal literature and her own assessments of species described by others in less detail.

The Pacific Northwest is a particularly rich area for Phaeocollybia. Its 25 species are mostly endemic and constitute almost a third of the world’s species. Phaeocollybia has a reputation for favouring old growth forests, making it a focus of conservation efforts and research. Norvell and Exeter collaborated on research showing that while clear-cutting and heavy thinning appear to affect phaeocollybia fruiting adversely, moderate thinning (e.g. leaving 200-300 trees per hectare) does not appear to do so.

Ron Exeter and Lorelei Norvell continue the standard of artistic and scientific excellence that they achieved (with Efrén Cázares) in Ramaria of the Pacific Northwestern United States, another publication by the same Bureau of Land Management office.

Introductory chapters include accounts of distribution and ecology, biology and development, taxonomy, and identifying characteristics. After the well organized macroscopic and microscopic keys to Pacific Northwest Phaeocollybia, there are detailed descriptions of each of the 25 species. The descriptions contain full macroscopic and microscopic details, and are well illustrated with photographs, drawings, and charts distinguishing close species. At the end is a bibliography and glossary. All the sections have color-coded page edges.

A glance at the curriculum vitae of Lorelei Norvell shows why she brought so many talents to the making of this publication. Her PhD dissertation is on Phaeocollybia and she is the current editor of Mycotaxon. Contributions to mycology are protean. In addition, she has an MA in Slavic languages and a secondary education teacher’s certificate, and in her fine art days she owned a leaded glass studio. It is not clear whether she was helped by being President of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.

Norvell’s wide-ranging curiosity is evident in her digging explorations of the long pseudorhizas that extend into the soil from Phaeocollybia fruitbodies. She describes the development of the fruitbodies from under the ground and the different forms of pseudorhizas. Particularly notable is her discovery of universal veil remnants not previously documented for the genus. (A sesquipedalian might say that she established phaeocollybian monovelangiocarpy.) There is a glossary.

Ron Exeter is one of those photographers who always make you want to look at his next photograph. The care and creativity that he applies to his photographs is also evident in his scientific work. Norvell and Scott Redhead also contributed many fine photographs.

The authors thank many other people including Joe Ammirati and Scott Redhead both as mentors and “our reviewers dedicated to removing errors, hyphens, and whimsy from these pages”. Fortunately they were not completely successful in their last task. The last sentence concerns O2, a particularly rich research transect for Phaeocollybia, “The authors have designated Oz as an official phaeocollybian Garden of Eden.” The last illustration shows a cat with the label “Senior Systems Administrator”. [Wasn't it Lorelei who lured the Rhine sailors to their death? - AC, BEN Editor]

Send submissions to
BEN is archived at