Rusts are specialist microscopic fungi. Their name refers to conspicuous masses of rusty orange spores that many rust species produce. Rusts are obligate parasites. This means they need living host plants to grow and reproduce. Rusts make sure to keep their host plant alive as they can only survive as a spore without a living host.
Please make sure to read our World fungi tutorial before getting started. The tutorial explains how to distinguish between specimens and what to transcribe for each task. The World fungi expeditions have a free-text state / province field instead of the vice-county field used in the British Isles fungi expeditions.
Depending on the rust species they can produce up to 5 different spore types during their life cycle. Knowing the spore stage is important for rusts as some species need unrelated host plants to complete the cycle. Please remember to enter the spore stage in the Life cycle field if given on the label.
Fungal specimen expeditions differ from those of our herbarium specimen expeditions. There are frequently numerous specimens on one sheet and the data is partly entered differently compared to our plant expeditions.
The Fungarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, houses an estimated 1.25 million dried fungal specimens. It is one of the oldest and largest fungaria worldwide and the most comprehensive in terms of taxonomic and geographic coverage.
Want to know more about fungi? Have a look at Kew’s State of the World's Plant and Fungi 2020 report or read Kew’s blog on Protecting precious fungi.
You can help us to understand the distribution of our fungal specimens by transcribing labels from our specimens.