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The Fritsch Collection of Illustrations of freshwater, Brackish and Terrestrial Algae

Professor Felix Eugen Fritsch 1879 - 1954.

FBA cartoon.

Dr J W G Lund FRS.

What is it?

In 1912, Prof Fritsch began the reference collection of published illustrations of freshwater, brackish and terrestrial algae which now bears his name.  Illustrations were pasted onto foolscap sheets and filed by species and including varieties and forms, it includes many of the original descriptions and figures; all fully author indexed.

Why was it created?

As a taxonomic tool for a quick comparison with reported morphology and geographical range.  All have been entered as published.  With technological advances, biodiversity and environmental studies have resulted in a recent explosion of new or separated taxa, and a revised understanding of their relationships.

Cross-references on the sheets allow these changes to be traced.

How is it organized? 

The species sheets are conveniently arranged alphabetically by genera and within broadly recognized algal groups: green algae, desmids, diatoms, blue-green algae; and in subgroups: filamentous, colonial, motile, etc.  The Collection has been continuously updated under the curation of Dr John Lund FRS and now comprises over 100,000 sheets housed in 14  4-drawer cabinets in its own room together with the author index cards.

How is it accessed?

All are welcome to use the Collection – that's what it is for!  Personal visit, or use of  microfiche copies produced by IDC Publishers, or by e-mail, letter or phone enquiry to the Curator (


Part of the Author Index is now searchable on the Fritsch website ‘Search Citations' database on the internet at

Half the Desmid sheets have been digitized and are due to be available online soon.  Funding is sought to complete this section.

We would be grateful for - current reprints of algal taxonomy,especially new taxa descriptions.

Funding is required in order to maintain the Collection and to continue to create a searchable online version that will be accessible to all.


Sets of algal notelets, 6 for £3 (overseas postage extra) are also available from the Curator.

Dr Elizabeth Y Haworth

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