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The issuance of uniform series of dried plant specimens has long been an
established practice in taxonomic botany. All groups of plants susceptible to
herbarium treatment have been so distributed, but the cryptogams more
commonly have been made available as formally published series under the
general title of exsiccatae or exsiccati.
The use of this Latin terminology is explained by reference to pertinent definitions in several of the standard botanical and mycological glosseries. Jackson (11:141) notes, "Exsiccata (exsiccatus, dry) dried plants, usually in sets for sale or for subscribers, frequently with printed tickets." Jackson appears to have in mind informally issued series of phanerogamic plants not meeting the standards of fungus exsiccati. Ainsworth and Bisby (1:147) come closer to the mycological concept of an exsiccati: "Exsiccat—us (= fungus exsiccatus), a (= planta or flora exsiccata), um (= specimen exsiccatum), a dry specimen, especially one of a series published for distribution to herbaria."
Snell and Dick (19:56) are still more explicit: "exsiccata, exsiccatae, exsiccati. In general and indiscriminately dried specimens in herbaria; by the meticulous and those trained in Latin, these terms are used as follows: "exsiccata’ sets of dried and labelled specimens for sale or exchange; exsiccatae, dried plants (chlorophyllous); exsiccati, dried fungi."
The fungus series to be considered here are those usually known as exsiccati and in fact many of them contain this term in their titles. It may be noted that not all series using the term exsiccati-qualify as will be pointed out hereafter. In this account I have used the terms exsiccati, series, and fungus series interchangeably. There are no set rules established by Botanical Congresses or otherwise to govern the form and other features of exsiccati.
However by reason of a more or less general understanding, developed through the years, such a series should contain well selected material, adequately prepared, correctly named, securely packeted, or boxed if necessary, with completely printed or at least processed labels. The latter point in particular insures uniformity throughout the series, an essential requirement. The specimens making up each series must be consecutively numbered throughout to permit the same definite reference to each as is afforded by the numbered pages ofa book. For ready reference a descriptive title for each series to appear at the head of the labels is a ‘sine qua non.’ Each title should be all inclusive of the actual contents of the series involved.