compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, July, 2013
The University of North Carolina Herbarium
(NCU) has catalogued more than 120 specimens collected by John Dearness; all
are fungi from Canada.
Images of specimen labels of NCU’s fungal
collection, including those collected by John Dearness, are available online
According to the Harvard Herbaria database of
botanists, other herbaria that hold Dearness’ specimens include DAO, DAOM and
MTJB, with additional material at B, BPI, CAN, CUP, IAC, NY, PH, PUR, and
Dr. John Dearness
ca. 1950 1
The following is excerpted from:
Estey, Ralph H. (1993) John Dearness (1852-1954): Canadian pioneer mycologist-plant
Born in Hamilton, Ontario on 13 May 1852, of
parents who had come to Canada from the Orkney Islands, young Dearness spent
much of his youthful years on farms near St. Marys,
Ontario. It was there that he acquired
a love of nature that lasted throughout his long life of 102 years…
At 18 he attended the Toronto Normal School
where he distinguished himself as a teacher-trainee and won a special
certificate in “Natural History, Botany and Agricultural Chemistry.” He graduated in 18712, with the highest
honors and a teacher’s certificate.
Later that year he became Principal of the school in the village of
Lucan, Ontario. Two years later he was
made Principal of a larger school in Strathroy,
Ontario. Recognizing his ability as a
teacher-administrator, the educational authorities made Dearness a Public
School Inspector for East Middlesex county in 1874, a position which he held
for 25 years…
In addition to being Inspector of Schools from
1874 to 1899, he was Professor of Botany and Zoology in the Medical School of
Western University (now the University of Western Ontario) from 188 to
1914. [Dearness was Vice-Principal in
1899, then Principal in 1918 of the London Normal School.] In the meantime his interest in nature
study, especially botany and the fungi that incite plant diseases,
had become widely known and he was appointed Examiner in Botany for the
University of Toronto in 1900…
he earned his first degree, a B.A., from the University of Western Ontario,
when he was 50 yr old. He was awarded a M.A. by that university
the following year… His early interest in plant diseases is seen in the
minutes of the Microscopical Section of the
Entomological Society of Ontario, London, of which he was a founding member…
While studying the powdery mildew fungi on leaves, Dearness became interested
in the fungi that cause rust diseases in plants. He is said to have made the first report on
the wheat rust, Puccinia graminis
Pers., in Canada. The first volume of
the journal Erythea,
published in December 1893, has the names of five species of Puccinia, and
one of Uromyces,
named by Dearness and his friend and long-time collaborator, Homer D. House,
of the New York Botanic Garden. J. C.
Arthur, in his 1934 book Manual of the
rusts in United States and Canada, lists no fewer than 20 rust fungi that
were originally named by Dearness and House.
When he was 88 years old, Dearness was still collaborating with House
in naming new and noteworthy species of New York fungi. Their 1940 list included Phyllosticta dearnessii D.
& H., a leaf parasite that had obviously been named in honor of
Dearness’ interest in plant pathology is
clearly seen in his report on the fungi collected by the naturalists of the
1913-1918 Canadian Arctic Expedition.
He commented on how surprised he was to see the relatively small
number of summer stages of parasitic fungi and the wide range of host plants
inhabited by one species…
After a fire destroyed the herbarium of the
University of Tennessee in 1934, Dearness became interested in the fungi of
that State. The list of new species of
Tennessee fungi, that he published in 1941, included
several plant parasites and the name of their host plants…
The city of London, Ontario, made Dearness a
Freeman of that City on the occasion of his 90th birthday, in
1942. When the Imperial Order of the
Daughters of the Empire, in London, received their charter on 9 May 1945, it
was under the name of the Dr. John Dearness Chapter, and when he was 101
years old, in 1953, the John Dearness Home for Senior Citizens in London was
named in his honor. It was only after
he was 100 years old, when his hearing and his eyesight deteriorated so much
that he could no longer enjoy his hobby as an active naturalist,
that John Dearness welcomed the death that came to him on 6 December
(1897) Annual address of the
President. Ann. Rep. Entomol. Soc. Ont. 27:
Ellis, J. B. and J. Dearness (1899) New species of Canadian fungi. Trans. Can. Inst. 6: 637-640.
Dearness, J. (1905) The nature study course, with
suggestions for teaching it based on notes and lectures of teachers in
training. The Copp,
Clark Co., Ltd. Toronto, Ontario.
Dearness, J. (1923) Report of the Canadian Arctic
Expedition 1913-1918. Vol. IV, Botany,
Part c: Fungi.
Dearness, J. (1925) A mycologist at large. Phytopathology 15: 301.
Dearness, J. (1925) Forest and shade tree diseases. Pp. 61-68 in Fifth Ann. Rep. on the Prevalence of Plant Diseases in
Canada. Exp. Farms Branch, Dom. Dep.
Agric. Ottawa, Ontario.
Dearness, J. (1926) New and noteworthy fungi, IV. Mycologia
(1926) An annotated list of Anthracnoses in the open and under glass in Canada and
the adjoining United States. Dom. Dep.
Agric. Div. Bot., Bull. 71, Appendix 1.
Dearness, J. (1926) Some fungus foes of the flower
garden. A locality list with
notes. Phytopathology 16: 756-757.
Dearness, J. (1929) New and noteworthy fungi, VI. Mycologia
Bisby, G. R., A. H. R. Buller, and J. Dearness (1929) The fungi of
Manitoba. Longmans, Green & Co.,
Dearness, J. (1929) Observations on needle blight of
white pine. Phytopathology 19: 413.
Dearness, J. and G. B. Sanford (1930) A new species of Plenodomus. Ann. Mycol. 28: 324-325.
Dearness, J. and W. R. Foster (1933) Anther and stigma blight of
loganberry. Can. J. Res. 9:43.
Dearness, J. and J. R. Hansbrough
infection following fire injury in western British Columbia. Can. J. Res. Sect. C. Bot. Sci. 10: 125-128.
Dearness, J., J. L. Howatt
and S. F. Clarkson (1936)
A new disease of apples caused by Dasycarpoma allantoideum (Peck) Dearness. Proc. Can. Phytopathol.
Soc. 6: 10.
Dearness, J. (1938) The background of mycology and Mycologia. Mycologia 30:
Dearness, J. (1938) Sphaceloma rosarum as Gloeosprorium rosaecola. Mycologia 30:
Dearness, J. and W. R. Foster (1938) Coniosporium diseases of
apples and crab-apples. Can. J. Res.
Sec. C Bot. Sci. 16: 574-276.
Dearness, J. (1939) Reminiscences of the early days of
the Society. Can. Entomol.
Dearness, J. and H.D. House (1940) New and noteworthy species of New
York fungi. N.Y. State Mus. Circ.
Dearness, J. (1941) New species of Tennessee fungi. Mycologia