Article ID: CBB204935927

The Significance of Mycological Contributions by Lothar Becker (2019)


Warning Readers of this article are warned that it may contain terms, descriptions and opinions that are culturally sensitive and/or offensive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Silesian-born Lothar Becker spent two periods in Australia, during which he made observations on a range of natural history topics, including fungi—a group of organisms rarely noticed by contemporary naturalists. Becker compiled notes, sketches and collections of Australian fungi that he sent to Elias Fries in Sweden for identification. Unfortunately, this material has not survived, but Becker’s accounts of his time in Australia, especially that published in Das Ausland in 1873, contain remarkable first-hand observations, including some on exotic fungi. Becker’s article is one of the earliest stand-alone analyses of the affinities of the Australian mycota. Remarks on the use of fungi by Aboriginal peoples of south-eastern Australia are particularly significant, due to inclusion of a word presumed to be from Aboriginal language and the suggestion of gendered roles in the collection of edible fungi.

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Authors & Contributors
Turnbull, Paul
Achim, Miruna
Ellis, Elizabeth
Webb, Joan B.
Rowse, Tim
Shellam, Tiffany
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Historical Records of Australian Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
History and Technology
Miegunyah Press
Joan Webb
Reaktion Books
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Monash University Publishing
Florida International University
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Natural history
Collectors and collecting
Science and culture
Becker, Lothar
Léon y Gama, Antonio de
Macquarie, Lachlan
Caley, George
Stirling, Edward Charles
Marsigli, Luigi Ferdinando
Central America
Great Britain
New Zealand
19th century
18th century
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late

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