Farlow's main role in America is as a bearer of European laboratory expertise in botany. When he was appointed assistant professor in 1874, for example, he was the only American-born botanist in charge of a cryptogamic laboratory. His classes, then, served as an inoculation point for the spread of laboratory expertise in America. His own work was mostly in algae, but he corresponded and exchanged specimens with European mycologists, especially Cooke.
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