Harvard University Herbaria
Monograph of Phillipsia

Central to the monograph of the Sarcoscyphineae and to this training program will be a monograph of the genus Phillipsia. This genus has been studied only regionally (Denison, 1969; Boedijn, 1933; LeGal, 1953). It is presumed to be monophyletic based on ascospore morphology and anatomical features of the excipulum. LeGal (1953) provided a summary of species in the genus but provided descriptions and limited commentary only for those from Madagascar. The PI has already done preliminary work on the genus Phillipsia. Since his years of living and collecting in the Caribbean (1971-1974), he has had an interest in the genus, within which 20-25 species presently known. As of this writing Pfister has studied at least four new, undescribed species that have come to light through incidental examination of collections and collectors' requests for identification.

The species of the genus Phillipsia are pan-tropical, occurring on decaying wood and other plant substrates. Most of the taxa produce large ascomata and thus are obvious even to the non-specialist; therefore, the number of collections in herbaria is reasonably large (about 500). Yet, there are specimens, even from sub-tropical areas of the United States, that have never been adequately studied. Distributional records indicate that certain species are widespread while others are quite restricted in range. One species that has been assumed to be widely distributed, P. domingensis, probably represents a species complex based on our preliminary studies. Most of the type specimens already have been examined by the PI. Ascospores germinate readily in culture and some isolates develop a conidial phase referred to the form genus Molliardiomyces.