Important Collections in the Arthur Fungari​um

Type Collection in the Arthur Fungarium

A Type specimen is a specimen, or set of specimens, on which a botanist or mycologist based their description of a new species. The Arthur Fungarium has one of the largest type collections of rust fungi in the world. For more information click here!​​

Sir Joseph Banks

Sir Joseph Banks, as painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1773​​

The Oldest Specimen in the Purdue Herbaria

The oldest specimen at Purdue was collected in 1769 in Tierra Del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. It was collected by the Englishman Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Daniel Carl Solander during the first great voyage of Captain James Cook's ship "The Endeavour". Among the 125 specimens collected at Tierra Del Fuego was one of Berberis ilicifolia (see below). In 1970, 200 years after specimen exchanges brought it from the Brit​ish Museum to the U. S. National Museum, it was realized that the specimen was infected with a rust fungus, ​Puccinia meyeri-alberti. The rusted leaf was retained as a separate specimen and is now housed at Purdue.

Sir Joseph Banks

Photograph of George Washington Carver taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1906.

George Washington Carver

George. W. Carver was an American scientistbotanisteducator, and in​ventor.  Carver's reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanutssoybeans and sw​eet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. 

The Arthur holds over 70 rust specimens collected by Carver mainly from Ames, Iowa and Tuskagee, Alabama with collection dates ranging from 1892 - 1935.



Sir Joseph Banks

(From Gallery of Contemporary Noted Mycologists, Mycopathologia et Mycologia Applicata, 32, 2.)

Dr. John Luverne Cunningham rust collection at the Arthur Fungarium

In late 2014, the Arthur Fungarium (PUR) was gifted Dr. John Luverne Cunningham’s rust collection from the U.S. National Fungus Collection, Beltsville (BPI). These are rust specimens, mostly collected between 1962–1969, from different parts of the U.S.A. and Dominica. The collection is composed of two types of material, prepared fungal exsiccati packeted in small envelopes, and numerous specimens still wrapped in newspapers, which we are cataloging, packeting and mounting. Cunningham received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1961. The topic of his thesis was “Relationship of zoospores of Aphanomyces euteiches to the host root”. Cunningham worked at the USDA, U.S. National Fungus Collections, in Beltsville, Md., for much of his career and was primarily interested in the collection and study of rust fungi. Among his collections are material apparently gathered for a monograph of the genus Tuberculina and for rust fungal floras for Dominica and the British West Indies. In addition to urediniology, J.L. Cunningham was interested in new methods and techniques in mycology. The following two publications are fundamental articles describing techniques related to the study of rust fungi:

Cunningham, J. L. 1972. A miracle mounting fluid for permanent whole-mounts of microfungi. Mycologia 64:906–911.

Cunningham, J. L. 1973. Preservation of rust fungi in liquid nitrogen. Cryobiology 10:361–363.


Below are images of Tuberculina specimens identified by Cunningham. Tuberculina species are parasites of rust fungi. In these specimens you can see the healthy rust spores, which are yellow/orange, and the Tuberculina infection, which is purple/black.

Norman Borlaug

Sir Joseph Banks

Norman Borlaug on his 90th birthday, 2004

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug worked throughout his life to feed a hungry world. During the 1940s and ’50s, Borlaug helped transform agricultural production in Mexico. 

In 1945, he collected bean specimens with rust in Mexico. One of these is housed in the Arthur Fungarium at Purdue.