live               dead

Asci of Ascocoryne inflata

showing ca. 30% shrinkage

in both length and width

(loss of volume over 50%!)









The contents of  this website will continuously be updated and enlarged. 



© Hans-Otto Baral, Blaihofstr. 42, D-72074 Tübingen


Homepage Hans-Otto Baral


Vital taxonomy and ecology of Ascomycetes

with special regard to inoperculate




freshly collected

           Trichopeziza mollissima


rehydrated from herbarium

living ascospores with

spore bodies

Orbilia corculispora



cresyl blue



Images of Orbiliomycetes (version Jan. 09)

cology of xerotolerant fungi, with special emphasis on Orbiliomycetes (version Jan. 09)

Sarcoscypha (scarlet-cups) (version Jan. 09)


A worldwide key to species of Lachnellula (in prep.)

Ascus apex types in Ascomycetes, ascus function (in prep.)


Iodine reaction in Ascomycetes: why is Lugol's solution superior to Melzer's reagent? (version Jan. 09)

Vital taxonomy (in prep.)


Microphotography with Coolpix 4500

(German + English) (version 21.XII.04)






I am working on the taxonomy of the Ascomycetes by studying the micromorphology of their often less than 1 mm large fruit-bodies with the light microscope. My main focus is to combine scientific and amateur work. My favourite groups concern the very species-rich inoperculate discomycetes worldwide. As early as 1974 I am performing microscopic drawings, influenced by F. Oberwinkler when I was a student, and since 2004 I combine these by digital macro- and microphotos. Out of presently over 21500 collections studied, more than 7000 have been illustrated, and about 9700 preserved in my herbarium. I am doing my work as a voluntary scientific collaborateur of the Muséum national d´Histoire naturelle, Luxembourg.


My most important discovery concerns the fact that the aspect of the living fungal cells provide taxonomically highly important characteristics. This method which I call "VITAL TAXONOMY" follows an old but forgotten tradition emphasized by Boudier as early as 1886, but is often in conflict with the current method of herbarium taxonomy and electron microscopy. The differences between living and dead fungal cells are actually enormous, and the loss of valuable data extraordinary. Nevertheless, these easily observable features are far from being well-known and understood among mycologists.






Hymenoscyphus salicellus



live                    dead

Asci of Lecanora (in IKI)



Felix Baral-Weber