Some Different Groups of Fungi

Just as there are different groups of plants, ex., ferns, mosses, conifers, flowering plants, etc., there are different groups of fungi. Fungi are often classified according to the types of sexual spores that are produced. Some examples of different groups of fungi are illustrated below (Fig 4-9).

Fig. 4: Zygospores are sexual spores characteristic of the division Zygomycota. Spores have thick, black cell walls and are supported by two cells called suspensors. Fig. 5: Ascospores are sexual spores borne in cylindrical cells called asci (sing.=ascus) belong in the division Ascomycota. Asci and ascospores are usually produced in fruiting bodies. There are typically eight ascospores/ascus. Fig.6: An example of a disk-shaped Fruiting body in the Ascomycota. Asci and ascospores form a continuous layer throughout the red surface.


Fig. 7: A low magnification of a piece of lamella from a mushroom fruiting body. Elliptical objects are basidiospores.  Fig 8: A closeup of two basidiospores borne on a basidium. Basidiospores borne on basidia are characteristic of the division Basidiomycota, which includes mushrooms. Fig 9: Cortinarius clelandii mushroom. basidiospores and basidia are borne on the lamella of mushrooms.

Are Classification Schemes and The Rules That Govern the Naming of Plants Really Necessary? The Curtis Gates Lloyd Story.

You can see then that there is some disagreement as to the proper classification of Organisms into kingdoms,  and revisions are constantly being made as to the regulations in the naming of plants species as well as other categories. Furthermore, there are few botanists that know, in detail, or even understand what is in the ICBN. Most botanists agree that we cannot do without these rules and regulations, but there are also many who wonder why species names must change just because it conflicts with the ICBN and question the need for such a document, or even the existence of taxonomy as a discipline within biology. One of the most well known critic of the ICBN was Curtis Gates Lloyd (Fig. 10). The story of his opinion on this subject and what he did about it makes for another amusing story. 

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Fig.10: Curtis Gates Lloyd

 Lloyd was one of the most famous, or infamous mycologists depending on how you feel about this person. Curtis Lloyd was actually not a mycologist by profession. In his first career, he and his two brothers ran a successful wholesale pharmaceutical company called Lloyd Brothers. The company was so successful that Lloyd retired while still relatively young and hired a replacement to take charge of his department so that he could pursue his mycological interest. His interest in mycology came about through his interactions with A.P. Morgan, a well known mycologist, of the late 19th and early part of this century. It was from Morgan that he learned about and developed his interest in Gasteromycetes, e.g. puffballs.

Although Lloyd eventually became an excellent taxonomist of fungi, he disagreed strongly about the placement of authors' names after the species that they had described or had changed. He felt that this was the main cause for proliferation of species names as well as the large number of name changes and hasty publications. Lloyd believed that this was a means by which "name jugglers" sought to immortalize their own names. Because of his belief, he refused to follow journals' requirement of placing the authors, of species, after binomials, which resulted in the rejection of his manuscripts for publication. However, his manuscripts were published in Mycological Notes, a journal he started, and published between 1898-1925. Although, this journal only published seven volumes and was discontinued after his death, it was a well respected journal with many important publications, and can be found in most university libraries. In addition to his studies on fungi, it was not uncommon for Lloyd to lampoon the practice of "name juggling" in Mycological Notes. Nevertheless, after a number of years, he found that he had not only described a large number of new species, but also had to "juggle" a number of species names as well. This brought about his creation of the fictitious Professor N.J. McGinty of Pumkinville Polymorphic Institute, whose name was cited as the authors of species that he described as well as for name changes that he had made.  Although he would never admit it, but this may have been his way of saying that he understood the necessity for name juggling. However, his criticism of name juggling continued for the rest of his life.

Many of Lloyd's collections were obtained through requests by mail and in returned he offered his journal free to the senders of collections. His contributions to mycology were many. During his lifetime, he accumulated a rather large herbarium of fungi which is still maintained today as is his library, which has many rare mycological books. His herbarium was composed only of large fungi because he did not like to use a microscope and believed in distinguishing species with only what was visible to the naked eye.

He was the stereotypic scientist. He was never married, except to his work. He didn't have a house. He maintained bachelors quarters in his museum. Four years fefore his death, Lloyd errected a monument to himself in the cemetery at Crittenden, Kentucky, which he said "was intended as a burlesque on tombstones in general" and a satire on mycologists who have passed.

Important Terms and Concepts

Animalia: Kingdom to which animals belong.

Binomial: A species name composed of two parts, the genus and specific epithet.

Class: A taxon composed of closely related orders.

Common name: Name given to a species by local community. Name given to species not governed by rules and may composed of any number of words and may be of any language.

Dioscorides: Greek physician in 2nd century A.D., author of De Materica Medica, which categorized plants according to their medicinal use.

Division: A taxon composed of closely related classes.

Family: A taxon composed of closely related genera.

Flagellum (plural = flagella): Hair-like structure that functions in mobility of microscopic organisms.

Gullet: Groove in cells of Euglena, which allows it to ingest food.

Herb: A non-woody plant whose stem generally dies back at the end of each growing season.

Herbalist: One who classifies plants according to their uses.

Herbal: A book on plants and their medicinal usages.

Kingdom: The broadest taxonomic classification into which organisms are grouped, based on fundamental similarities and common ancestry.

Monera: The kingdom to which bacteria belong.

Mycetae: The kingdom to which fungi belong.

Natural System: Referring to a system of classification in which closely related organisms are grouped together in the same taxon.

Order: A taxon composed of closely related family.

Phrase name: First type of scientific name composed of the genus followed by a brief Latin description.

Plantae: The kingom to which plants belong.

Protista: The kingdom to which algae, protozoans and other simple organisms, which do not have complex tissues belong. Originally referred to as Protoctista.

Shrub: A short, woody plant or bush, having several stems arising from the base and lacking a single trunk.

Specific epithet: The second part of the binomial in a species name.

Stamen: The male part of a flower that contains the pollen of the flower.

Taxon (plural = taxa): A general reference to a taxonomic category or group, e.g. kingdom, division, class, order, family, genus or species.

Taxonomy: That part of biology that studies the naming and classification of organisms.

Theophrastus: Greek philospher credited with the first classification scheme of plants.

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