Crucibulum - History

History

Bird's nest fungi were first mentioned by Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius in Rariorum plantarum historia (1601). Over the next couple of centuries, these fungi were the subject of some controversy regarding whether the peridioles were seeds, and the mechanism by which they were dispersed in nature. For example, the French botanist Jean-Jacques Paulet, in his work Traité des champignons (1790–3), erroneously suggested that peridioles were ejected from the fruiting bodies by some sort of spring mechanism.

The structure and biology of the genus Crucibulum was better known by the mid-19th century, when the brothers Louis René and Charles Tulasne published a monograph on the bird's nest fungi. Subsequently, monographs were written in 1902 by Violet S. White (American species), Curtis Gates Lloyd in 1906, Gordon Herriot Cunningham in 1924 (New Zealand species), and Harold J. Brodie in 1975.

The type species for the genus Crucibulum described by the Tulasne brothers was Crucibulum vulgare, an older synonym of the species known today as C. laeve. However, this naming choice was later deemed invalid by rules of fungal nomenclature; the first name validly applied to the species was C. laeve, use by De Candolle, who had based his species upon Nidularia laevis as it appeared in Bulliard's Histoire des Champignons de la France (Paris, 1791). Kambly and Lee published the first taxonomically valid description of the genus in 1936. In their 1844 monograph on the Nidulariaceae, the brothers Louis René and Charles Tulasne used the name Crucibulum vulgare, and the species was known by this name until the International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi (ICTF) changed the starting-point date for the naming of fungi, and C. vulgare was deemed invalid. The etymology of the specific epithet is derived from the Latin laeve, meaning "smooth".

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