Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
The following information was compiled by Carol Ann McCormick,
Assistant Curator, University of North Carolina Herbarium.

Elizabeth Eaton Morse
(31 December 1864 – 13 November 1955)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has databased several dozen fungal specimens and just a few vascular specimens that Ms. Morse collected.  As both collections continue to be catalogued, it is likely that more specimens collected by Ms. Morse will be found.

Images of Ms. Morse’s labels for her fungi deposited at NCU are available via, a searchable website of 1.4 million macrofungi from a consortium of 35 institutions.

Elizabeth Eaton Morse ca. 1930
photograph appears in Bonar, Lee (1956) Elizabeth Eaton Morse.  Mycologia 48(3):  439-442.

 EXCERPTS FROM Bonar, Lee (1956) Elizabeth Eaton Morse.  Mycologia 48(3):  439-442.  

    In the death of Miss Morse on November 13, 1955, at Berkeley, California, after prolonged illness, the Mycological Society lost a member who had given many years of her life to collecting and studying fungi.

     Miss Morse was born at Framingham, Massachusetts, December 31, 1864.  After graduation from Ashland, Massachusetts, High School in 1882, she taught in elementary schools for seven years before entering Wellesley College where she received her diploma from the School of Art in 1891.  Then followed more teaching – three years in Castle School, Tarrytown-on-the-Hudson, eight years in Winchester, Massachusetts, as Art Instructor in Murdoch High School and as supervisor in the town schools.  The next twenty years she taught and supervised in the New York City Schools (Morris and Theodore Roosevelt High Schools)… In 1924 Miss Morse returned to Wellesley College and in 1926 was awarded the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Botany.  She often said that her love of the study of plants had its beginning in her childhood on the farm so this change from art to botany is not surprising.

     In 1926 Miss Morse came to my [Lee Bonar] office in Berkeley saying that she was on a summer vacation and desired to study Cryptogamic Botany... and I made suggestions as to how she might carry out her desired program.  A short time later I began receiving letters and shipments of fungi from Yosemite National Park where she had settled for the summer.  Returning to Berkeley at the end of the summer, Miss Morse decided to retire from teaching, stay in California and devote herself to the study of fungi which had become her all-pervading interest.  She continued to maintain Berkeley as her home for the remainder of her life.

     She registered as a part-time graduate student at the University of California and was provided working space in the attic of the Botany Building.  She soon had all the available tables covered with specimens for study and display and began to contribute mycological notes to newspapers in the hope of stimulating interest and gaining contact with other collectors.  Although she was registered as a part-time graduate student for some time, Miss Morse was not a candidate for a higher degree.  As a guest of the Department of Botany, however, she was provided with storage and work space for more than twenty years…

   She regularly spent her summers on collecting trips, and these covered areas in the western states form the Mexican border to Rainier National Park, with one trip to Alaska, one to Hawaii, and the summer of 1935 in Maine.  Her displays of fungi, campfire talks for tourists, etc. were common incidents in campgrounds and parks that she visited.  Although her interest was primarily with the macroscopic fungi, she collected myxomycetes, lichens, mosses, and some flowering plants…

   Miss Morse’s very extensive mycological collections were distributed by herself or according to her instructions.  The first large unit is deposited in the Herbarium of the University of California at Berkeley [UC]; the second is in the National Fungus Collection at Beltsville, Maryland [BPI].  Smaller sets have been deposited in the New York Botanical Garden [NY], Wellesley College [WELC; transferred to NY in 1988] and the California Academy of Sciences [CAS], while miscellaneous collections have been sent to various places over the world. 


Morse, Elizabeth E. (1929)  Trailing the sierra puffball.  Sierra Club Bull. 14:  61-63, ills.

--- (1930)  A new chanterelle in California.  Mycologia 22:  219-220, ills.

--- (1933)  A study of the genus Podaxis.  Mycologia 25:  1-33, ills.

--- (1935)  A new puffball.  Mycologia 27:  96-101, ills.

--- (1941)  Geaster limbatus:  a new variety.  Mycologia 33:  139-142, ills.

--- (1941)  A new western Pholiota.  Mycologia 33: 367-370, ills.

--- (1941)  A new polypore in Washington.  Mycologia 33:  506-509, ills.

--- (1941)  Podaxis pistillaris II.  Mycologia 33:  609-610.

--- (1943)  Study of a new Tricholoma.  Mycologia 35:  573-581, ills.

--- (1945)  Some western discomycetes, Gyromitra esculenta, Helvella lacunosa.  Mycologia 37:  414-424, ills.

Smith, A. H. and Elizabeth E. Morse (1947)  The genus Cantharellus in the western United States.  Mycologia 39:  497-534, ills.

Morse, Elizabeth E. (1948)  Variations in Montagnites arenarius (DC).  Mycologia 40:  255-261, ills.

   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
fax: (919) 962-6930

Last Updated: 21 May 2013