The University of North Carolina Herbarium
(NCU) has catalogued 28 specimens (all fungi) collected by Dr. Peter MacOwan. As our microfungal
collection continues to be cataloged, it is possible that more specimens
collected by him will be found. All NCU’s fungi can be searched at mycoportal.org
Other herbaria that curate specimens
collected by Peter MacOwan include the Bell Museum of
Natural History at the University of Minnesota (MIN; lichens, bryophytes);
the Farlow Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany at
Harvard University (FH; lichens, fungi); the United States Herbarium,
Smithsonian (US; lichens); Uppsala University (UPS; lichens); Cornell Plant
Pathology Herbarium (CUP; fungi); Field Museum of Natural History (F; fungi);
Illinois Natural History Survey (ILLS; fungi); Kriebel
Herbarium, Purdue University (PUL; fungi); New York Botanical Garden (NY;
fungi); United States National Fungus Collection (BPI; fungi); University of
Illinois Herbarium (ILL; fungi); and the University of Michigan Herbarium
early collections [of fungi] were sent to von Thuemen,
who distributed many numbers in his Mycotheca universalis. A
number were identified by [Georg von] Winter [1848-1887] and were distributed
with the Rabenhorst-Winter Fungi Europaei et Extra-europaei. MacOwan prepared
several sets of his Fungi austro-africani, of which
one was sent to Cooke at Kew, where it was filed in the herbarium, and a
second went to Kalchbrenner [Karoly
Kalchbrenner, 1807-1886]. A third set of MacOwan’s
plants, apparently including fungi, was sent to Theodor M. Fries, for in a
letter dated 25th October, 1887, Fries writes from Uppsala: “The
fine specimens of Hydnora
are now true ornaments to our museum and the centuries that we have last
received of your splendid Herbarium austro-africanum
must, as well as those we have received before, be considered as the most
precious additions that our herbarium have received of late.” A third set was left in Somerset East
[South Africa], when MacOwan went to Cape Town, and
was later transferred to Grahamstown; this set was
acquired by purchase for the Pretoria Herbarium from Dr. S. Schonland [Selmar Schonland; MacOwan’s
son-in-law] when he retired from the curatorship of the Albany Museum [in Grahamstown, South Africa]. It is unfortunately not complete, nor is
the set in the Herbarium of the South African Museum, Cape Town… Fungi MacOwaniana,
of which the majority were collected by Dr. Peter MacOwan
in the neighbourhood of Somerset East, the Boschberg and Cape Town.
Sets of specimens in the National Herbarium, Pretoria and the South
African Museum, Cape Town are incomplete.
There is also a set in the Kew Herbarium.”1
According to Wikipedia,
Peter MacOwan was born in Hull, Yorkshire and the
Humber, England in 1830. After
graduating from the University of London in chemistry, he taught at Huddersfield College Laboratory. “A severe lung condition, possibly asthma,
caused him to move to South Africa and take up the post of principal at the
newly established Shaw College in Grahamstown [in
1861]. His health rapidly improved and
leaving chemistry behind he resumed studying botany in which he had become
interested while still in England…Finding it a drain on his own time to
supply duplicates to overseas collectors, he formed the South African
Botanical Exchange Society, which brought together a large number of amateur
botanists… Eventually he became head of natural sciences at Gill College,
Somerset-East, South Africa and then later director of the Cape Town
Botanical Garden and curator of the Cape Government Herbarium.”3, 4
“In South Africa, plant
pathology as a science formally began in 1887 with the appointment of Peter MacOwan as the consultant in economic botany to the Cape
Government…MacOwan retired in 1905.”4
was married to Amelia Day. Their
daughter, Flora, married Selmar Schonland,
a botanist who had migrated to South Africa from Germany. Peter MacOwan
died in Uitenhage, South Africa on 30 November 1909.3
MacOwan, Peter and Harry Bolus. 1882.
Catalogue of printed books and papers relating to South Africa. Part 1:
Botany. IN South African
Transactions. Volume 2, part 3,
http://www.abcjournal.org/index.php/ABC/article/viewFile/1900/1856 accessed on 3 November 2015.
2. http://www.capeorchids.co.za/history.htm accessed on 3 November 2015.
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_MacOwan accessed on 3 November 2015.
Isabella H. and Alice P. Baxter.
2006. The South African
National Collection of Fungi:
Celebrating a Centenary 1905-2005.
Studies in Mycology 55: 1-12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2104721/ accessed on 3 November 2015.