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CUP and the Fungi of China

In 2009 the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium sent a gift to the people of China. Our gift was 2278 specimens of fungi originally collected in China and sent to Cornell by two eminent Chinese mycologists who had studied at Cornell in the early 1900s, S.C. Teng and F.L. Tai.

You can read about the history of these fungi in this story reprinted from the Cornell Dept. of Plant Pathology Newsletter.

mushroom of immortality

CUP-CH 1304, Ganoderma lucidum, the mushroom of immortality. Photo by Kent Loeffler, © Cornell Univ.

We initiated this project in 2004, when now-retired Curator Susan Gruff undertook the laborious process of dividing the CUP specimens and assembling their data. Current Curator Robert Dirig finished the process, double-checked every specimen, and packed and shipped the specimens in Fall 2009.

Consul Madame Yandong Liu and her distinguished delegation from China visited Cornell in April 2009 to celebrate the exchange. President Skorton and Vice-Provost Alice Pell participated in a Beijing ceremony hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on November 7 2009.

We are pleased that we could protect these valuable specimens from destruction in past wars. And even more pleased that they are returned to their homeland where they will be more accessible to mycologists studying the diversity of fungi in China.

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H.H. Whetzel and S.C. Teng

Cornell's Professor Herbert H. Whetzel (left). Right, his student Shu Chün Teng in 1926 at Taughannock Gorge in upstate New York © Cornell Univ.