Rene Pomerleau

(27 April 1904 – 11 October 1993)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 21 fungal specimens collected by Rene Pomerleau.  Most are a species which Pomerleau and John Nathaniel Couch gave the provisional name “Septobasidium duchesnayense” or “Septobasidium duchesnii“.

Pomerleau was born in Saint-Ferdinand, Quebec in 1904.  He received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Laval University in 1925 and a Master of Science from McGill University in 1927.5  He studied further at the Sorbonne and at the Ecole des Eaux et Forets in Nancy from 1927-1930, then returned to Canada to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Montreal.  In 1972 he received an honorary doctorate from Sir George William University (Concordia University) in Montreal.1

In 1940, Laval’s School of Surveying and Forest Engineering adopted a new curriculum, and Rene Pomerleau (b. 1904) was appointed professor of forest pathology.  Pomerleau had been teaching forest pathology at the Forest Rangers’ School at Duchesnay, and he continued to do so, on a part-time basis, until 1950.  At Laval, he gave the course previously taught by Georges Maheux (1889-1977), who was the provincial entomologist and professor of entomology…When the School of Surveying and Forest Engineering became Laval’s Faculty of Forest Engineering in 1945, Pomerleau continued to teach forest pathology there, and, as he had been doing since 1942, also in the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science until 1965.2

Rene Pomerleau, ca. 1981. Photograph courtesy of Les Prix du Quebec

Rene Pomerleau’s principal research was devoted to tree diseases and their agents, and he authored 250 scientific articles and seven books.  He studied a number of parasitic infections, notably that which caused Dutch elm disease, whose presence he diagnosed in Canada in 1944.  He was also distinguished by his work on decay in coniferous trees, a field in which he was acknowledged as an authority.  A gifted popularizer, he published Champignons de l’est du Canada et des Etats-Unis  (1951) a work surpassed only by his Flore des champignons sauvages du Quebec in 1980, and he founded several mycology clubs.5

Pomerleau was awarded the Leo-Pariseau Prize, a “Quebecois prize which is awarded annually to a distinguished individual working in the field of biological or health sciences” in 1955.3  In 1981 Pomerleau was awarded the Prix Marie-Victorin, “an award by the Government of Quebec that is part of the Prix du Quebec, which goes to researchers in the pure and applied sciences whose work lies outside biomedicine.  These fields include the natural and physical sciences, engineering and technology, and the agricultural sciences.”4

In 1980 Pomerleau described Amanita umbonata Pomerl. in Fl. Champ. Quebec (Ottawa): page 516, but since 1984 it has been recognized as Amanita jacksonii Pomerl. (Naturaliste Can. 111 (3):  329).

Rene Pomerleau died in Quebec City on 11 October 1993.

The Rene Pomerleau Herbarium (QFB), located at the Canadian Forest Services’ Laurentian Forestry Centre, 1055 rue de P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 3800, Succ. Sainte-Foy in Quebec City, contains ca. 25,000 mycological specimens, and specializes in fungi which cause forest-tree diseases and saprophytes on wood.6

PUBLICATIONS (incomplete list):
Pomerleau, R. (1966). [Review of North American Species of Crepidotus, by L. R. Hesler & A. H. Smith]. Mycologia, 58(4), 668–669.
Pomerleau, R., & Wm. Bridge Cooke. (1964). IX International Botanical Congress: Field Trip No. 22: Quebec Fungi. Mycologia, 56(4), 618–626.
Pomerleau, R. (1964). [Review of Les problèmes du développement des Carpophores des Agaricales et de quelques groupes voisins (Problems on the Development of the Carpophores of the Agaricales and of Some Related Groups), by A. F. M. Reijnders]. Mycologia, 56(5), 789–791.
Pomerleau, R. (1964). An Addition to the Genus Fuscoboletinus. Mycologia, 56(5), 708–711.
Pomerleau, Rene and William Bridge Cooke.  (1964).  IX International Botanical Congress: Field Trip No. 16: Fungi.  Mycologia 56 (4): 607-618.
Pomerleau, Rene and Alexander H. Smith.  (1962).  Fuscoboletinus:  a new genus of the Boletales.  Brittonia 14(2): 156-172.
Pomerleau, R. & Etheridge, D. E. (1961). A Bluestain in Balsam Fir. Mycologia, 53(2), 155–170.
Pomerleau, Rene and H. A. C. Jackson. (1951).  Mushrooms of Eastern Canada and the United States. Les Editions Chantecler Ltee., 8125 St-Laurent, Montreal 14.
Pomerleau, R. (1955). [Review of The Polyporaceae of the United States, Alaska and Canada., by L. O. Overholts]. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 82(2), 139–140.
Snell, W. H. (1951). [Review of Mushrooms of Eastern Canada and the United States (How to Recognize and Prepare the Edible Varieties), by R. Pomerleau]. Mycologia, 43(6), 730–731.
Pomerleau, R. (1942). The Spherical Gall Rust of Jack Pine. Mycologia, 34(2), 120–122.
L. M. (1939). [Review of Recherches sur le Gnonomia ulmea — Schw. — Thüm. Biologie, écologie, cytologie. (Ricerche sopra la Gnomonia ulmea — Schw. — Thüm. Biologia, ecologia, citologia), by R. Pomerleau]. Rivista Di Patologia Vegetale, 29(3/4), 206–206.
Mains, E. B., Overholts, L. O., & Pomerleau, R. (1939). Mycological Society of America. Mycologia, 31(6), 728–738.

1. “Rene Pomerleau.”  Wikipedia.  accessed on 16 November 2016.
2.  Estey, Ralph H.  1994.  Essays on the Early History of Plant Pathology and Mycology in Canada.  Montreal:  McGill-Queen’s University Press.  Page 213.
3.  “Leo-Pariseau Prize”  Wikipedia.  accessed on 16 November 2016.
4.  “Prix Marie-Victorin”  Wikipedia.  accessed on 16 November 2016.
5.  Duchesne, Raymond (25 March 2008) “Rene Pomerleau.”  The Canadian Encyclopedia.  accessed on 16 November 2016.
6.  Laurentian Forestry Center, Canadian Forest Service.  Index Herbariorum.  accessed on 16 November 2016.