Earlier this year, staffers at the Wisconsin State Herbarium were transferring specimens into newly expanded space, when they discovered something unexpected: examples of fungi collected by George Washington Carver.
The prominent botanist, who had been born a slave and rose to lead the agricultural department at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute for forty-seven years, collected specimens of fungi that infect plants, and he shared at least twenty-five of them with the UW (including these hibiscus leaves, which are infected with rust).
The herbarium has a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a digital database of its fungi. With 120,000 specimens of microfungi, it has the country’s second-largest collection.
Published in the Summer 2016 issue