A New American Species of Wynnea

Roland Thaxter
1905 Botanical Gazette  
IN the third volume of HOOKER'S Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany (i85i) BERKELEY published a description without figures of a large and striking discomycetous fungus, distinguished by the possession of long ear-or spoon-shaped apothecia, arising in a fasciculate fashion from a well-developed common stem. This form, which was said to have been found abundantly on rotten wood near Darjeeling, India, he placed in the then very comprehensive genus Peziza, comparing it to Peziza onotica
more » ... d P. leporina, and designating it as P. macrotis. Some years later, however, having received from Dr. CURTIS a closely related North American species collected by BOTTERI near Orizaba, Mexico, he was led to create the new genus Wynnea for the reception of these two forms (Jour. Linn. Soc. 9: i866), the Mexican species being used as the type under the name Wynnea gigantea. Both species were subsequently illustrated by COOKE in his Micrographia, the colors being no doubt guessed at from BERKELEY'S descriptions and from the dried specimens. W. macrotis is here said by COOKE to occur also in Mexico, but no authority for this statement is mentioned. During the forty years that have elapsed since the collection of W. gigantea by BOTTERI, there seems to have been no further mention of the occurrence of these or of other species of Wynnea, and in more recent years the genus has been consigned to the limbo of synonymy by SACCARDO in his Sylloge, where both species are included in the genus Midotis. 24I This content downloaded from on November 26, 2016 17:31:32 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c) 242 BOTANICAL GAZETTE [APRIL In the summer of i888, a portion of which was spent by the writer in collecting fungi among the mountains-of Tennessee and North Carolina, a species of Wynnea was found near Burbank, Tennessee, growing on the ground in rich woods, in a single locality; where several clusters of its long bluntly pointed, rabbit-ear-shaped dark brown apothecia were scattered in a limited space, each cluster borne on a well-defined stout stem emerging directly from the humus. The resemblance of this plant to COOKE'S figure of Wynnea macrotis, to which it closely corresponds in form and color, was so striking that it was assumed to be that species, despite certain differences in the size and appearance of the spores when fully mature, and in the absence of any authentic material of the Indian species for comparison it was so referred. A second visit was made to the same region in i896, and the Wynnea was again encountered, both at Burbank and at Cranberry, North Carolina; one of the specimens from the last-named locality being parasitized by a fine species of Syncephalis described in a former number of the GAZETTE (24: I. i897) as S. Wynneae, the host being here recorded as W. macrotis. Having noticed, while gathering this material, that the stems appeared to have been broken from some attachment in every case, and not to have arisen like most humus Pezizae from an indefinite mycelium, a more careful examination was made in subsequent gatherings, and a little digging about the base of the stem showed that it originated in every case from a large, irregularly lobed, brown, firm, tuber-like body buried a few inches deep in the humus. This body, which was somewhat cartilaginous in consistency, showed, when cut, a chambered structure (figs. 5 and 6), the interior being traversed by light and dark more or less contrasting winding areas, closely resembling those characteristic bf many Tuberaceae or Hymenogastreae; and at first sight it seemed not impossible that the Wynnea might actually be parasitic on some hypogaeous fungus. A microscopic examination of sections cut from this tuber, however, showed no signs of any structures which could by any possibility be considered to represent modified hymenia. The chambered interior, as is shown by the accompanying figures, is surrounded by an external layer or cortex of large, empty, thin-walled, brownish cells, those on the surface showing signs of degeneration
doi:10.1086/328614 fatcat:4ez6sujybnb4rkhysrk2dbxqcq