Dean Pfister: We Beat Yale—At Herbaria

Ew, fungus.
Ew, fungus.

Harvard will take the field against Yale this weekend in the 130th playing of The Game. The Crimson haven’t won yet, but according to the College’s top administrator, Harvard already has bragging rights over that school in New Haven—not necessarily for talents in football, but for having the biggest university-owned herbarium in the world.

Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister, a systematic botanist and the former director of the Harvard University Herbaria, delighted students across campus on Thursday with an email detailing his musings about Harvard’s superiority and some fungus in the Yard.

“I would like to point out that with more than 5 million specimens in the collections, Harvard is home to the world's largest university-owned herbarium,” Pfister wrote. “Compared to Yale University Herbarium’s 365,000 specimens, well, it’s not even close.” According to Pfister, “Harvard will retain these bragging rights for some time” no matter our team’s performance at the Yale Bowl.

And the fun didn’t stop there. Later in the email, Pfister went on to describe “a large fungus” that he noticed on the white oak between Emerson and Sever Halls.

“Alas, it is a wood rot fungus and it probably has already structurally weakened this magnificent tree. Good, bad or indifferent fungi are everywhere, even in the trees of Harvard Yard,” Pfister concluded. We’ll defer to you on this one, Dean Pfister.

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