Schumacher's Myxomycetes - introduction

Christ. Frieder. Schumacher - from Lind (1913) (3)

Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher (Christ. Frieder. Schumacher) - Schumach.

Schumacher was born 15. November 1757 in Glückstadt and died 9. December 1830 in Copenhagen.

Schumacher was educated phycician. He studied mainly at the University of Copenhagen, but also for shorter periods in Paris and London. During his professional career he held a number of positions, among others as practicing phycician and as lecturer and professor at the university.

Schumacher's studies included, besides medicin, chemistry and botany, the latter under the guidance of Rottbøll and Martin Vahl.

Among his botanical works the "Enumeratio Plantarum in Partibus Sællandiæ Septentrionalis et Orientalis" (Pars. Prior 1801, Pars. Posterior 1803) has proved to be of lasting value. Particulaly Pars. Posterior, which treats the Cryptogams, is of interest. The section dealing with Fungi (incl. Myxomycetes) not only gives the first complete list of Danish species, but also includes descriptions of a great number of new species. Among the Myxomycetes alone, the number of new names is as high as 80.

Sources: Wikipedia (1), Dansk Biografisk Leksikon (2) and Lind, jens 1913 (3).


Flora Hafniensis Fungi Deliniati

Schumacher's "Enumeratio ..." is well known among Myxomycete taxonomists and is a standard work when it comes to interpretations of old names.

Less well-known, if known at all, is his Flora Hafniensis Fungi Deliniati.

"Flora Hafniensis ..." is a manuscript bound in three folio volumes held at the Botanical Library at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. It contains illustrations in aquarelle of most, if not all, the species described by Schumacher in "Enumeratio ..." in the section on fungi.
Although the illustrations have been available for study probaly more than 150 years, it does seem that, as far as myxomycetes are conserned, no other mycologists than Rostrup (1884) (see Cribraria Onygena Schumach.), Eliasson & Lundquist (1979) (see Physarum fimetarium Schumach.) and Læssøe & Kemp (2001)) (see Trichia venosa Schumach.) have made use of it. There are no indications that neither Raunkiær (1888), Elliott (1926) nor Bjørnekær and Klinge (1964) have been aware of this source of information.

"Flora Hafniensis ..." gives new knowledge on two points. Firstly, in most cases it clarifies which species Schumacher himself considered as new (see the sample text below), and secondly, it provides illustrations of all the Myxommycete species (and fungi as well) included in "Enumeratio ...". The illustrations does not give an all-round answer to how Schumacher's myxomycetes should be interpreted. In some cases in fact, they do not bring us any further than the printed text, in some other cases, however, they do give a reliable answer different from the current view, see f.ex Arcyria cincta Schumach. and Trichia venosa Schumach (shortcuts in right panel).

With this in mind, a reevaluation of Schumacher's myxomycete species have been attempted. A list of his myxomycetes with links to the present author's interpretation can bee found here.


Sample of text accompanying Schumacher's figure 66.4:
Text to Schumacher figure 66.4: Diderma crassipes
Reproduced with permission from the Natural History Museum of Denmark ©

The text reads:
4. Diderma crassipes m:
an D. umbilicatum Peers : pag : 165.
In muscis stipitibus dejectis, sparsim. Octobr.

Note the "m" (for "mihi") after the taxon name, indicating that Schumacher himself considered this a new species.
This "m" appears in a number of Schumacher's legends to figures, but is not repeated in the printed text.
The double "e" in Peers (Persoon) is used throughout the manuscript. In the printed text Persoon is abbreviated correctly: Pers.

1. Wikipedia

2. Dansk Biografisk Leksikon [Danish Biographical Encyclopedia]

3. Lind, Jens 1913: Danish Fungi as represented in the herbarium of E. Rostrup. - Gyldendalske Boghandel, Copenhagen.