Synopsis top ↑
The fungal flora of New Zealand is rather patchily.known in parallel
to many countries in Australasia. Whilst many of the dematiaceous
hyphomycetes and their teleomorphs and some pathogens in New Zealand
are currently well documented, and the gasteromycetes, polypores and
resupinate basidiomycetes relatively well understood (Cunningham 1942;
1963; 1965), the agaric flora until fairly recently has been very
Some effort was made during the latter part of last century to catalogue the fungi then recorded for New Zealand (Berkeley, 1855), based primarily on the scores of specimens sent to Kew notably by missionaries and early settlers such as Colenso, or explorers such as Berggren; Colenso (1886; 1890) listed many of his later finds independently. To these records were gradually added a few more species recognised by their apparent similarity to well-known European taxa culminating in Massee's publication (1898) which complemented that of Cooke (1892) on the early Australian agaric flora. In parallel to many of the Australian records, however, these compilations are also very misleading as they too refer to European taxa when in fact it is now known they should refer to autonomous species. This discrepancy is undoubtedly because the early workers only had available texts based on Western Europe and latterly temperate North American fungi, initiating a tradition which unfortunately persisted until quite recently.
With such an exciting agaric flora one would have thought of all the groups of fungi the agarics would have been the first to have been documented and illustrated in New Zealand, in parallel to the development of European Mycology. The modern day student was first made aware of New Zealand's very different flora by a series of papers by Stevenson-Cone (Stevenson 1962a, b & c; 1964). This was extended still further by the late Ross McNabb (1967; 1968; 1971; 1972; 1973), and then by the analysis of particular genera by Horak (1971a, 1973a, b, c, d & e; 1977; 1979a; 1980a, b & c) and Heinemann (1974). In addition to these contributions Horak published an analysis of many of the early collections housed in national herbaria (Horak 1971b & c) subsequently using this as a base- line for further work. Thus many of Colenso's collections were located and re-examined and type material documented; some of Colenso's collections not in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) and therefore not analysed by Horak were subsequently located by the present authors in Edinburgh (E). Surprisingly relatively few popular illustrated accounts on higher fungi have been produced to date (Taylor, 1968; 1970; 1981; 1983; Stevenson, 1982a; Bell, 1983).
The present contribution is a continuation of all this work and is offered as a preliminary documentation of the New Zealand members of a family not as yet treated, i.e. Bolbitiaceae. Many of the constituents of this family are so dull-coloured and insignificant, and often small, that they have not been collected in any great number in the past. This paper is based largely on collections made over a ten year period by one of us (GMT) and by Drs Barbara Segedin (Dept. of Botany, Auckland) and P. Austwick (Brompton Hospital, London). Egon Horak, Zurich, has been kind enough to communicate his collections of the Bolbitiaceae from Australasia and Professor E.J.H. Corner, Cambridge, England has also placed his material at our disposal.
The following Colenso and Berggren collections have been examined; those not located by Horak (1971b) are indicated by asterisk.
Colenso: b 71 Agaricus vervacti, Agaricus erebius, b 113 Agaricus pediades*, 269 Agaricus pediades, b 283 Agaricus praecox, b 874 Agaricus pudicus*, 1053 Agaricus semiorbicularis*, — Agaricus strophosus Berggren: 60 Galera tenera, 61 Agaricus semi-orbicularis.