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Volume 81, 1953
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Note on Secotium conei Heim.

[Read before the Wellington Branch, September 24. 1952, received by Editor, September 30, 1952.]

When Professor Roger Heim, Director of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, visited New Zealand to attend the Pacific Science Congress in 1949 he collected fungi in several parts of the country, but, as the season was unfavourable, his finds were limited. Subsequent publications show, however, that they were useful (2, 3, 4 and 5). While Professor Heim was in Wellington I accompanied him on two expeditions, when we collected some specimens in spite of dry weather. I also showed him my collections, illustrations and notes of New Zealand fungi about which he was able to give me very helpful advice.

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Diagrams of the Outline of Secotium conei Heim
1. Original drawing by G. Stevenson.
2. Published drawing of R. Heim.
3. Actual size of fresh specimens.

Material and drawings of Secotium perphyreum Cunn., which fungus he had not previously seen, particularly interested Professor Heim because of its obvious bearing on his theory (1) of the relationships of the families of Agaricales with a sculptured, amyloid perispore—e.g., the Russulaceae, and Gasteromycete fungi with similar spores. This large, purple-coloured Gasteromycete with sculptured, amyloid spores impressed him by its russuloid pigment and texture of the flesh. Professor Heim was also especially interested in one specimen that I had received from Akaroa of a small, apparently distinct variety of S. porphyrcum, with all the characters of the species but smaller, and with a volva and sublamellate hymenial tissue. The specimens were sent to me by post and were broken when I received them, but were otherwise in good, fresh condition. I made a water colour drawing of the pieces, and give in Fig. 1 an indication of the outlines of this drawing. I learned subsequently from the collector that the specimens had been approximately 1 inch in height and that the pieces that I had drawn in line did not belong together. This I was careful to explain to Professor Heim when I presented to him both the fragmentary dried material and the drawing along with other specimens and drawings of S. porphyreum. Unfortunately he did not clearly understand me, for he has published (5) a new species, S. conei Heim, based on this material, using my drawing for an illustration in colour, but with the pieces joined together, so that Heim's illustration has the outline of Fig. 2. The true size of S. conei is represented by Fig. 3.

The type material for this new species was collected in the valley of Waterfall Creek, Akaroa, under kanuka (Leptospermum ericoides), and may possibly be found in similar association in other parts of the country. If any reader should find material of this interesting little fungus I should be grateful to receive specimens, fresh or dried; they may be sent to me c/o the Botany Department, Otago University, or c/o the Botany Division, Wellington, or to the above address.

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Heim, R., 1948. Phylogeny and Natural Classification of the Macro-fungi. Trans. Brit. Myc. Soc. 30 161–178.

— 1949. Reflexions sur le Pacifique-Sud. Comptes Rendus Ac. Sc. 229 572–600.

— 1950. Sur la Flore Mycologique de la Nouvelle-Zelande. Comptes Rendus Ac. Sc. 230 2245–2248.

— 1951. Notes sur la Flore Mycologique des Terres du Pacifique Sud 11. Rev. de Mycol. 16 1–10.

— 1951. Notes sur la Flore Mycologique des Terres du Pacifique Sud 111. Rev. de Mycol. 16 129–158.