Liriodendron tulipifera flower

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden


Collectors of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium
Information compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, Curator, NCU

Walter Charles Blasdale
(10 January 1871 -- 1960)

The UNC Herbarium has about 60 fungal specimens collected by W. C. Blasdale, although as we are still cataloging our micro-fungi, without doubt more will be found.  All are from California – Alameda and Siskiyou Counties in particular – and all were collected between 1893 and 1895. 

Blasdale’s specimens are distributed to herbaria across North America:  Brown University (BRU), Cornell University (CUP), Field Museum (F), Duke University (DUKE), New York Botanical Garden (NY), Farlow Herbarium of Harvard University (FH), Iowa State University (ISC), Louisiana State University (LSUM), Miami University (MU), Oregon State University (OSC), Purdue University (PUR), United States National Fungus Collection (BPI), Rutgets University (CHRB), University of Wisconsin (WIS), University of Florida (FLAS), University of Illinois (ILL), Illinois Natural History Survey (ILLS), University of Arizona (ARIZ), University of British Columbia (UBC), University of California, Berkeley (UC), University of Michigan (MICH), University of Minnesota (MIN), University of Nebraska State Museum (NEB), University of Tennessee, Knoxville (TENN), Washington State University (WSP), and University of Wyoming (RMS).

Walter Charles Blasdale, son of Julia Smith Blasdale and Charles Blasdale, M.D., was born in the town of Jericho in Queens County, New York in 1871.  After receiving his primary education in the public schools of Jericho, he attended the Bridgehampton Literary & Commercial Institute of Suffolk County, New York.3  He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California in Berkeley in 1892, and a M.S. in 1896 from the same institution.  Blasdale published his first manuscript, “Studies in the life history of Puccinia found on the leaves of Oenothera ovata,” while still an undergraduate. 

In 1900 Blasdale earned his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.   He spent his entire career at the University of California – rising from Assistant in Chemistry (1892) to Professor (1919-1941).  During 1904-1905 Blasdale studied at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, Germany with Jacobus Henricus Van’t Hoff, who received the first Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901.  Blasdale and Van’t Hoff published several papers on salt solutions, and Blasdale’s continued research in this field “were of value for the utilization of salt deposits found in dried lakes in California.”1

Several taxa were named in his honor:  Blasdalea disciformis (Rehn) Sacc. & P. Syd. (a fungus), Agrostis blasdalei Hitchc. (Blasdale bentgrass), and Clarkia rubicunda ssp. blasdalei (Jeps.) F. H. Lewis & M. E. Lewis (a wildflower, ruby chalice Clarkia). 

Blasdale himself named several taxa:  Primula farinosa ssp. laurentiana (Fernald) Blasdale and Trifolium scorpioides Blasdale.

At the age of 70 Blasdale became Professor Emeritus, though he was active scientifically until his death in 1960. 

Blasdale and Elizabeth Halsey Rogers were married on June 28, 1905, and they had two children, Herbert and Helen.  Helen, born 18 June, 1907, earned an A. B. from the University of California, Berkeley, and served as a librarian in the Occidental College Library.


Specimen label of a micro-fungi collected by W. C. Blasdale.
Sissons” is now known as the city of Mount Shasta.2


PUBLICATIONS (incomplete list):

Blasdale, Walter C. 1952.  Cyclamen persicum:  Its natural and cultivated forms.  Stanford University Press.
Blasdale, Walter C.  1948.  The cultivated species of Primula.  University of California Press, Berkeley, California.
Blasdale, W. C. 1928.  Freezing-point solubility:  Data for three (or more) component aqueous solutions of salts and inorganic compounds.  [incomplete citation]
Blasdale, W. C. [date?]  Equilibria in solutions containing mixtures of salts.  [incomplete citation]
Blasdale, W. C. 1928.  The fundamentals of quantitative analysis, 3rd ed.  D. van Nostrand Co., Inc., NY.
Blasdale, W. C. 1927.  Equilibria in Saturated Salt Solutions.  Chemical Monograph Series, American Chemical Society.  [incomplete citation]
Blasdale, W. C.  1919.  A preliminary list of the Uredinales of California.  University of California Publications in Botany 7:  101-157.
Blasdale, W. C. 1917.  Principles of Quantitative Analysis:  An introductory course, 2nd ed.  D. van Nostrand Co., NY. 
Blasdale, W. C.  1914.  Principles of Quantitative Analysis:  An introductory course.  D. van Nostrand Co., NY.
Louderback, G. D. and W. C. Blasdale.  1910.  Ruby corundum from San Bernardino County, California.  Science abstract 32:  31.
Blasdale, W. C.  1908.  The chemical formula of the mineral Benitoite.  Science, new series 28(712):  233-234.
Blasdale, W. C. 1903.  On a rust of the cultivated Snapdragon.  J. of Mycology 9(2):  81-82.
Blasdale, W. C.  1901.  The criteria of heredity.  University Chronicle 4:  356-373.  [Berkeley, California].
Blasdale, W. C. 1900.  A chemical study of the indumenta found on the fronds of Gymnogramme triangularis.  Ph.D. Thesis, College of Natural Sciences. University of California. 
Blasdale, W. C. 1899.  A description of some Chinese vegetable food materials, their nutritive and economic value.  Bulletin of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin #68.  US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.
Blasdale, W. C.  1895.  On the physical and chemical properties of some California oils.  J. of the Am. Chemical Soc. [incomplete citation]
Blasdale, W. C. 1893.  On certain leaf hair structures.  Erythea 1:  252.
Blasdale, W. C.  1891-1892. Studies in the life history of Puccinia found on the leaves of Oenothera ovata.  Report of the Agricultural Experiment Station (California). 

Clarkia rubicunda ssp. blasdalei (Jeps.) F. H. Lewis & M. E. Lewis
Photo by Arleen Webster, 11 April 2010.  Used with permission.



3.      Blasdale, W. C. 1900.  A chemical study of the indumenta found on the fronds of Gymnogramme triangularis.  Ph.D. Thesis, College of Natural Sciences. University of California.  Page 23. 


   Curriculum in Ecology                 North Carolina Botanical Garden               Biology Department
      Curriculum                               North Carolina                                 UNC

         In Ecology                              Botanical Garden                   Biology Department

University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931


Last Updated: 27 July 2016