Two species new to science are housed in our herbaria

June 20, 2011 Jennifer Ramp Neale, Ph.D. , Director of Research & Conservation

We have some exciting news to report from the Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium and Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi. Each collection has added a type specimen of a species new to science.  A type specimen is a specimen selected to serve as a reference point when a plant or fungal species is first named. As a result, these specimens are extremely important to botanists and mycologists who are attempting to determine the correct application of a name.

The new fungal specimen is Smithiomyces crocodilinus, only the third known species of this rare genus. The specimen was collected during a 2009 bioblitz at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area by Jack Jones, with Ed Lubow, Marc Donsky, Nora Jones and Rob Hallock, members of the Colorado Mycological Society. The specimen was first mistaken as a member of the genus Amanita. Once examined at our Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi, curator Vera Evenson knew this specimen was different. Through the collaborative efforts of Dr. Bradley Kropp of the Intermountain Herbarium and Utah State University, and Dr. Timothy Baroni, a distinguished professor and fungal geneticist at State University of New York, Cortland, it was determined that this was a new species. This finding is exceptionally unique in that the only other known members of the genus are tropical. While it was documented that the species occurs with Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus) species, additional work will investigate the ecology of this species. Amazing as it may seem, there are new plants being discovered in Colorado. Native plant enthusiasts Al and Betty Schneider of Cortez, Colorado have been instrumental in finding and naming two new species since 2008. The most recent find is Packera mancosana, a member of the Sunflower family (Asteraceae). Recent botanical exploration of Lone Mesa State Park in the Southwest corner of Colorado has revealed new species. Gardens’ Adjunct Researcher Loraine Yeatts and the Schneiders collected the new species in 2009 and have spent the last two years working to identify and name the new find. For more photos and the full description of the species see Southwest Colorado Wildflowers. Stop by our herbaria to see these new species in person. We are open to the public Mon - Thur 9:00 am-2:00 pm.


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