Historic lichen collections

A number of historic lichen collections of outstanding importance are kept separately from the main collections at the Natural History Museum - among them the Acharius Herbarium, the Smith and Sowerby Collection and the Fungal Model Collection.

Acharius Herbarium

The most important historic lichen collection consists of material gathered by Erik Acharius. The Swedish medical doctor was one of Linnaeus' last pupils and is called 'Pater Lichenologicus' or the father of lichenology.

His main collections are kept in Helsinki, Finland, but the Museum keeps substantial and important collections containing many isotypes. 

A list of the taxa in the Acharius Herbarium is found in: Galloway, D. J. 1988. Erik Acharius and his influence on English lichenology. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Botany series, Vol. 18, No 2.

Specimens from this herbarium cannot be loaned.

'English Botany' - Smith and Sowerby Collection

This contains plates and models accompanied by some lichen specimens.

Fungal Model Collection

Many of these models were made by J. Sowerby while he was issuing his 'English Fungi' in the beginning of the 19th century.

They are probably the oldest scientifically accurate models of fungi made anywhere in the world. Read more about them in: Tribe, H. T. 1984. Sowerby's models and 'Sowerby inspiration models'. Bulletin of the British Mycological Society 18: 61-64.

How to access the collections