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Title: Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them - A Selection of Thirty Native Food Varieties Easily - Recognizable by their Marked Individualities, with Simple - Rules for the Identification of Poisonous Species
Author: Gibson, W. Hamilton (William Hamilton)
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Our Edible Mushrooms_]

[Illustration: THE DEADLY "AMANITA".]



                       Our Edible
                 Toadstools and Mushrooms
                          and
                 How to Distinguish Them


     _A Selection of Thirty Native Food Varieties_
  _Easily Recognisable by their Marked Individualities,_
             _with Simple Rules for the_
         _Identification of Poisonous Species_

                    [Illustration]

                 BY W. HAMILTON GIBSON

               WITH THIRTY COLORED PLATES
  AND FIFTY-SEVEN OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR


                     NEW YORK
            HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
                      1895


    THE WORKS OF W. HAMILTON GIBSON.

      _ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR._

  SHARP EYES. A Rambler's Calendar among Birds, Insects, and Flowers.
  8vo, $5.00.
  HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS; or, Saunterings in New England. 4to, $7.50.
  STROLLS BY STARLIGHT AND SUNSHINE. Royal 8vo, $3.50.
  HAPPY HUNTING-GROUNDS. A Tribute to the Woods and Fields. 4to, $7.50.
  PASTORAL DAYS; or, Memories of a New England Year. 4to, $7.50.
  CAMP LIFE IN THE WOODS, and the Tricks of Trapping and
  Trap-making. 16mo, $1.00.

   PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.
    Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
            _All rights reserved._


                Dedication

  To the Reader kind, gentle, or other, to whom,
  in the hopes of continued grace and well-being

  The Frontispiece and the chapter on "The Deadly Amanita"
  is herewith particularly referred with the Author's Solicitude

  "Forewarned is Forearmed"

"_For those who do hunger after the earthlie excrescences called
mushrooms_."--GERARDE.



[ Transcriber's notes:

   (1) Underscores "_" in text indicate italics.

   (2) Equal signs "=" in text indicate bold font.

   (3) Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents
        of the speakers. Those words were retained as written.

   (4) The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
        paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate.

   (5) Sidenote labels have all been moved to the top of the paragraph
        that they refer to, even when the paragraph has two sidenote
        labels.
]



               Contents
                                 Page

  INTRODUCTION                       1
  THE DEADLY AMANITA                43
  THE AGARICACEÆ                    77
  THE POLYPOREI                    181
  MISCELLANEOUS FUNGI              231
  SPORE-PRINTS                     277
  RECIPES                          299
  BIBLIOGRAPHY                     325
  INDEX                            329


                      List of Plates
                                                      Page

   1. The Deadly "Amanita"               _Frontispiece_
   2. Mycelium, and early vegetation of a mushroom      45
   3. Amanita vernus--development                       49
   4. Agaricus (Amanita) muscarius                      55
   5. Agaricus campestris                               83
   6. Agaricus campestris--various forms of             89
   7. Agaricus gambosus                                 99
   8. Marasmius oreades. "Fairy-ring"                  105
   9. Poisonous Champignons.
      _M. urens--M. peronatus_                         111
  10. Agaricus procerus                                117
  11. Agaricus (Russula) virescens                     123
  12. Edible Russulæ.
     _R. heterophylla--R. alutacea--R. lepida_         131
  13. Russula emetica                                  139
  14. Agaricus ostreatus                               145
  15. Agaricus ulmarius                                151
  16. Coprinus comatus                                 157
  17. Coprinus atramentarius                           163
  18. Lactarius deliciosus                             169
  19. Cantharellus cibarius                            175
  20. Boletus edulis                                   187
  21. Boletus scaber                                   193
  22. Edible Boleti.
      _B. subtomentosus--B. chrysenteron_              199
  23. Strobilomyces strobilaceus                       205
  24. Suspicious Boleti.
      _B. felleus--B. alveolatus_                      211
  25. Fistulina hepatica                               217
  26. Polyporus sulphureus                             225
  27. Hydnum repandum                                  235
  28. Hydnum caput-medusæ                              241
  29. Hydnum caput-medusæ--habitat                     243
  30. Clavaria formosa                                 251
  31. Various forms of Clavaria                        253
  32. Morchella esculenta                              259
  33. Helvella crispa                                  265
  34. A group of Puff-balls                            271
  35. Spore-surface and spore-print of Agaricus        283
  36. Spore-surface and spore-print of
      Polyporus (_Boletus_)                            285
  37. Spore-print of Amanita muscarius                 289
  38. Action of slight draught on spores               291

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _Introduction_]

[Illustration]

The Spurned Harvest

     "_Whole hundred-weights of rich, wholesome diet rotting under
     the trees; woods teeming with food and not one hand to gather
     it; and this, perhaps, in the midst of poverty and all manner of
     privations and public prayers against imminent famine._"

                                                   C. D. BADHAM



Introduction

A prominent botanical authority connected with one of our universities,
upon learning of my intention of perpetrating a popular work on our
edible mushrooms and toadstools, was inclined to take issue with me
on the wisdom of such publication, giving as his reasons that, owing
to the extreme difficulty of imparting exact scientific knowledge
to the "general reader," such a work, in its presumably imperfect
interpretation by the very individuals it is intended to benefit, would
only result, in many instances, in supplanting the popular wholesome
distrust of all mushrooms with a rash over-confidence which would tend
to increase the labors of the family physician and the coroner. And, to
a certain extent, in its appreciation of the difficulty of imparting
exact science to the lay mind, his criticism was entirely reasonable,
and would certainly apply to any treatise on edible mushrooms for
popular circulation which contemplated a too extensive field, involving
subtle botanical analysis and nice differentiation between species.

[Sidenote: =Identification of fatal species=]

But when we realize the fact--now generally conceded--that most of the
fatalities consequent upon mushroom-eating are directly traceable to
one particular tempting group of fungi, and that this group is moreover
so distinctly marked that a _tyro_ could _learn_ to distinguish it,
might not such a popular work, in its emphasis by careful portraiture
and pictorial analysis of this deadly genus--placarding it so clearly
and unmistakably as to make it readily recognizable--might not such a
work, to that extent at least, accomplish a public service?

[Sidenote: =Conservative mycology=]

Moreover, even the most conservative mycologist will certainly admit
that out of the hundred and fifty of our admittedly esculent species
of fungi there might be segregated a few which bear such conspicuous
characters of outward form and other unique individual features--such
as color of spores, gills, and tubes, taste, odor, surface character,
color of milky juice, etc.--as to render them easily recognizable even
by the "general reader."

It is in the positive, affirmative assumption of these premises that
the present work is prepared, comprising as it does a selection of a
score or more, as it were, self-placarded esculent species of fungi,
while putting the reader safely on guard against the fatal species and
a few other more or less poisonous or suspicious varieties which remote
possibility might confound with them.

[Sidenote: =Popular interest in mushrooms=]

Since the publication of a recent magazine article on this topic, and
which became the basis of the present elaboration, I have been favored
with a numerous and almost continuous correspondence upon mushrooms,
including letters from every State in the Union, to say nothing of
Canada and New Mexico, evincing the wide-spread interest in the fungus
from the gustatory point of view. The cautious tone of most of these
letters, in the main from neophyte mycologists, is gratifying in its
demonstration of the wisdom of my position in this volume, or, as one
of my correspondents puts it, "the frightening of one to death at the
outset while extending an invitation to the feast." "Death was often
a consequence of toadstool eating," my friend continued, "but I never
before realized that it was a _certain_ result with _any_ particular
mushroom, and to the extent of this information I am profoundly
thankful."

[Sidenote: =Caution at the threshold=]

While, then, from the point of view of desired popularity of my book,
the grim greeting of a death's-head upon the frontispiece might be
considered as something of a handicap, the author confesses that this
attitude is the result of "malice prepense" and deliberation, realizing
that he is not offering to the "lay public," for mere intellectual
profit, this scientific analysis of certain fungus species. Were this
alone the _raison d'être_ or the logical outcome of the work--mere
_identification_ of edible and poisonous species--the grewsome symbol
which is so conspicuous on two of my pages might have been spared. But
when it is remembered that with the selected list of esculent mushrooms
herein offered is implied also an invitation and a recommendation to
the feast thereof, with the author as the host--that the digestive
functions of his confiding friends or guests are to be made the final
arbiters of the correctness of his botanical identification--the ban
of bane may as well be pronounced at the threshold. Let the too eager
epicurean be "scared to death at the outset," on the general principle
_pro bono publico_, and to the conciliation of the author's conscience.

[Sidenote: =To correspondents=]

The oft-repeated queries of other correspondents suggest the wisdom
of a clearer definition of the limitations of the present work.
Several individuals have written in surprise of their discovery of
a new toadstool which I "did not include in my pictured magazine
list," with accompaniment of more or less inadequate description and
somewhat enigmatical sketches, and desiring the name of the species
and judgment upon its esculent qualities. Such correspondence is a
pleasing tribute to an author, and is herewith gratefully acknowledged
as to the past and, with some mental reservations, welcomed as to the
future. The number of these communications--occasionally several in
a day, and with consequent rapid accumulation--renders it absolutely
impossible for a busy man to give them the prompt personal attention
which courtesy would dictate. My "mushroom" pigeon-hole, therefore, is
still plethoric with the unhonored correspondence of many weeks; and
inasmuch as the continual accession more than balances the number of
my responses, a fulfilment of my obligations in this direction seems
hopeless in contemplation. I would therefore beg the indulgence of
such of my friends as have awaited in vain for my reply to their kind
communications, even though the future should bring no tidings from me.
All of these letters have been received, and are herewith acknowledged:
many of them, too, if I may be pardoned what would seem to be a most
ungracious comment, for which the "dead-letter" office would have been
the more appropriate destination.

[Sidenote: =Consider the recipient=]

I refer to the correspondence "with accompanying specimens," the letter
occasionally enclosed in the same box with the said specimens, which,
upon its arrival, arouses a protest from the local postal authorities,
and calls for a liberal use of disinfectants--a disreputable-looking
parcel, which, indeed, would appear more consistently referable to the
health-board than to the mycologist. So frequent did this embarrassing
episode become that it finally necessitated the establishment of a
morgue for the benefit of my mushroom correspondents, or rather for
their "specimens," usually accompanied with the queries, "What is
the name of this mushroom? Is it edible?" I have been obliged to
write to several of my friends that identification of the remains was
impossible, that the remnant was more interesting entomologically than
botanically, and begging that in the future all such similar tokens
shall be forwarded in alcohol or packed in ice.

[Sidenote: =Rapid decay=]

"First impressions are lasting" and "a word to the wise is sufficient."
I would suggest that correspondents hereafter consider the hazard of
an introduction under such questionable auspices. Most species of
mushrooms are extremely perishable, and their "animal" character,
chemically considered, and their tendency to rapid decomposition,
render them unfit for transportation for any distance, unless
hermetically sealed, or their decay otherwise anticipated.

In the possibility of a continuance of this correspondence, consequent
upon the publication of this present book, the writer, in order to
forefend a presumably generous proportion of such correspondence,
would here emphasize the fact that he is by no means the authority on
mycology, or the science of fungi, which the attitude of his inquiring
friends would imply. Indeed, his knowledge of species is quite limited.
An early fascination, it is true, was humored with considerable zeal
to the accumulation of a portfolio of water-colors and other drawings
of various fungi--microscopic, curious, edible, and poisonous--and
this collection has been subsequently added to at intervals during his
regular professional work.

More than one of the originals of the accompanying colored plates have
been hidden in this portfolio for over twenty years, and a larger
number for ten or fifteen years, awaiting the further accumulation
of that knowledge and experience, especially with reference to the
edibility of species, which should warrant the utterance of the
long-contemplated book.

[Sidenote: =Number of mushroom species=]

The reader will therefore kindly remember that out of the approximate
1000 odd species of fungi entitled by their dimensions to the dignity
of "toadstools" or "mushrooms"--after separating the 2000 moulds,
mildews, rusts, smuts, blights, yeasts, "mother," and other microscopic
species--and out of the 150 recommended edible species, the present
work includes only about thirty. This selection has _direct reference
to popular utility_, only such species having been included as offer
some striking or other individual peculiarity by which they may be
simply identified, even without so-called scientific knowledge.

The addition of color to the present list enables its extension
somewhat beyond the scope of a series printed only in black and white,
as in the distinction of mere form alone an uncolored drawing of a
certain species might serve to the popular eye as a common portrait of
a number of allied species, possibly including a poisonous variety.

[Sidenote: =Mycology and mycophagy=]

[Sidenote: =Need of a practical work=]

While the study of "fungi" has a host of devotees, the mysteries which
involve the origin of life in this great order of the _cryptogamia_
having had fascinating attractions to microscopical students and
specialists, the study of _economic mycology_ has been almost without
a champion in the United States. Thus we have many learned treatises
on the nature, structure, and habits of fungi--vegetative methods,
chemical constituents, specific characters, classification--learned
dissertations on the microscopical moulds, mildews, rusts and smuts,
blights and ferments, to say nothing of the medico-scientific and
awe-inspiring potentialities of the sensational microbe, bacterium,
bacillus, etc., which are daily bringing humanity within their spell
and revolutionizing the science of medicine. But among all the various
mycological publications we look in vain for the great desideratum of
the practical hand-book on the _economic_ fungus--the _mushroom as
food_! The mycologist who has been courageous enough to submit his
chemical analysis and his botanical knowledge of fungi to the test
of esculence in his own being is a _rara avis_ among them; indeed, a
well-known authority states that "one may number on the fingers of
his two hands the entire list of mycophagists in the United States."
The absence of such works upon the mushroom and "toadstool," greatly
desired for reference at an early period of my career, and little
better supplied to-day, led to a resolve of which this volume is but an
imperfect fulfilment.

[Sidenote: =Limitations of this volume=]

The special character of my volume, then--the collateral consideration
of the fungus as food--will be sufficient excuse for the omission of
a merely technical discourse upon the structure, classification, and
vegetation of fungi as a class--a field so fully covered by other
authors more competent to discuss these lines of special science,
and to a selection of whose works the reader is referred in the list
herewith appended, to a number of which I am indebted for occasional
quotations. A general idea of the methods of dissemination and habitats
of fungi will be found in the final chapter on "spore-prints," while
under the discussion of the "Amanita," _Agaricus campestris_, and
the "Fairy Ring" the reader is referred to a condensed account of
the methods of vegetation and growth of fungi sufficient for present
purposes. Other references of similar character will be noted under
"Fungi," in Index.

[Sidenote: =The pioneer American mycophagist=]

The most conspicuous disciple of mycophagy--almost the pioneer, indeed,
in America--was the late Rev. M. A. Curtis, of North Carolina, whose
name heads the bibliography on page 325. For the benefit of those of my
readers who may wish to follow the subject further than my pages will
lead them, I append the list of edible species of fungi contained in
Curtis's Catalogue, each group alphabetically arranged, the esculent
qualities of many of which he himself discovered and attested by
personal experiment. The favorite habitat of each fungus is also given,
and to avoid any possibility of confusion in scientific nomenclature or
synonymes, the authority for the scientific name is also given in each
instance:

           LIST OF EDIBLE AMERICAN MUSHROOMS
         FROM THE CATALOGUE OF DR. M. A. CURTIS

  _Agaricus albellus._ De Candolle. Damp woods.
  _A. (amanita) Cæsarea._ Scopoli. In oak forests.
  _A. (amanita) rubescens._ Persoon. Damp woods.
  _A. (amanita) strobiliformis._ Vittadini. Common in woods.
  _A. amygdalinus._ M. A. Curtis. Rich grounds, woods, and lanes.
  _A. arvensis._ Schaeffer. Fields and pastures.
  _A. bombicinus._ Schaeffer. Earth and carious wood.
  _A. campestris._ Linnæus. Fields and pastures.
  _A. castus._ M. A. Curtis. Grassy old fields.
  _A. cespitosus._ M. A. Curtis. Base of stumps.
  _A. columbella._ Fries. Woods.
  _A. consociatus._ Pine woods.
  _Agaricus cretaceus._ Fries. Earth and wood.
  _A. esculentus._ Jacquin. Dense woods.
  _A. excoriatus._ Fries. Grassy lands.
  _A. frumentaceous._ Bulliard. Pine woods.
  _A. giganteus._ Sowerby. Borders of pine woods.
  _A. glandulosus._ Bulliard. Dead trunks.
  _A. hypopithyus._ M. A. Curtis. Pine logs.
  _A. mastoideus._ Fries. Woods.
  _A. melleus._ Valmy. About stumps and logs.
  _A. mutabilis._ Schaeffer. Trunks.
  _A. nebularis._ Batsch. Damp woods.
  _A. odorus._ Bulliard. Woods.
  _A. ostreatus._ Jacquin. Dead trunks.
  _A. personatus._ M. A. Curtis. Near rotten logs.
  _A. pometi._ Fries. Carious wood.
  _A. procerus._ Scopoli. Woods and fields.
  _A. prunulus._ Scopoli. Damp woods.
  _A. rachodes._ Vittadini. Base of stumps and trees.
  _A. radicatus._ Bulliard. Woods.
  _A. (russula)._ Schaeffer. Among leaves in woods.
  _A. salignus._ Persoon. On trunks and stumps.
  _A. speciosus._ Fries. Grassy land.
  _A. squamosus._ Muller. Oak stumps.
  _A. sylvaticus._ Schaeffer. Woods.
  _A. tessellatus._ Bulliard. Pine trunks.
  _A. ulmarius._ Sowerby. Dead trunks.
  _Boletus bovinus._ Linnæus. Pine woods.
  _B. castaneus._ Bulliard. Woods.
  _B. collinitus._ Fries. Pine woods.
  _B. edulis._ Bulliard. Woods.
  _B. elegans._ Fries. Earth in woods.
  _B. flavidus._ Fries. Damp woods.
  _B. granulatus._ Linnæus. Woods and fields.
  _B. luteus._ Linnæus. Pine woods.
  _B. scaber._ Bulliard. Sandy woods.
  _B. subtomentosus._ Linnæus. Earth in woods.
  _B. versipellis._ Fries. Woods.
  _Bovista nigrescens._ Persoon. Grassy fields.
  _B. plumbea._ Persoon. Grassy fields.
  _Cantharellus cibarius._ Fries. Woods.
  _Clavaria aurea._ Schaeffer. Earth in woods.
  _C. botritis._ Persoon. Earth in woods.
  _C. cristata._ Holmskiold. Damp woods.
  _C. fastigiata._ Linnæus. Grassy places.
  _C. flava._ Fries. Earth in woods.
  _C. formosa._ Persoon. Earth in woods.
  _Clavaria fuliginea._ Persoon. Shady woods.
  _C. macropus._ Persoon. Earth.
  _C. muscoides._ Linnæus. Grassy places.
  _C. pyxidata._ Persoon. Rotten woods.
  _C. rugosa._ Bulliard. Damp woods.
  _C. subtilis._ Persoon. Shaded banks.
  _C. tetragona._ Schwartz. Damp woods.
  _Coprinus atramentarius._ Bulliard. Manured ground.
  _C. comatus._ Fries. In stable-yards.
  _Cortinarius castaneus._ Fries. Earth in woods.
  _C. cinnamomeus._ Fries. Earth and wood.
  _C. violaceus._ Fries. Woods.
  _Fistulina hepatica._ Fries. Base of trunks and stumps.
  _Helvella crispa._ Fries. Pine in woods.
  _H. infula._ Schaeffer. Earth and pine logs.
  _H. lacunosa._ Afzelius. Near rotten logs.
  _H. sulcata._ Afzelius. Shady woods.
  _Hydnum caput-medusæ._ Bulliard. Trunks and logs.
  _H. coralloides._ Scopoli. Side of trunks.
  _H. imbricatum._ Linnæus. Earth in woods.
  _H. laevigatum._ Schwartz. Pine woods.
  _H. repandum._ Linnæus. Woods.
  _H. rufescens._ Schaeffer. Woods.
  _H. subsquamosum._ Batsch. Damp woods.
  _Hygrophorus eburneus._ Fries. Woods.
  _H. pratensis._ Fries. Hill-sides.
  _Lactarius augustissimus._ Lasch. Thin woods.
  _L. deliciosus._ Fries. Pine woods.
  _L. insulsus._ Fries. Woods.
  _L. piperatus._ Fries. Dry woods.
  _L. subdulcis._ Fries. Damp grounds.
  _L. volemus._ Fries. Woods.
  _Lycoperdon bovista._ Linnæus. Grassy lands.
  _Pachyma cocos._ Fries. Underground.
  _Paxillus involutus._ Fries. Sandy woods.
  _Polyporus Berkeleii._ Fries. Woods.
  _P. confluens._ Fries. Pine woods.
  _P. cristatus._ Fries. Pine woods.
  _P. frondorus._ Fries. Earth and base of stumps.
  _P. giganteus._ Fries. Base of stumps.
  _P. leucomelas._ Fries. Woods.
  _P. ovinus._ Schaeffer. Earth in woods.
  _P. poripes._ Fries. Wooded ravines.
  _P. sulphureus._ Fries. Trunks and logs.
  _Marasmius oreades._ Fries. Hill-sides.
  _M. scorodoneus._ Fries. Decaying vegetation.
  _Morchella Caroliniana._ Bosc. Earth in woods.
  _M. esculenta._ Persoon. Earth in woods.
  _Russula alutacea._ Fries. Woods.
  _R. lepida._ Fries. Pine woods.
  _R. virescens._ Fries. Woods.
  _Sparassis crispa._ Fries. Earth.
  _S. laminosa._ Fries. Oak logs.
  _Tremella mesenterica._ Retz. On bark.

In the contemplation of such a generous natural larder as the above
list implies, Dr. Badham's feeling allusion to the "hundred-weights of
wholesome diet rotting under the trees," quoted in one of my earlier
illustrated pages, will be readily appreciated.

[Sidenote: =Restricted scope of this volume=]

In the purposely restricted scope of these pages I have omitted a large
majority of species in Dr. Curtis's list, known to be equally esculent
with those which I have selected, but whose _popular differentiation_
might involve too close discrimination and possibly serious error; and
while my list is probably not as complete as it might be with perfect
safety, the number embraces species, nearly all of them what may be
called cosmopolitan types, to be found more or less commonly throughout
the whole United States and generally identical with European species.
It will be observed that the list of Dr. Curtis is headed by three
members of Amanitæ. The particular species cited are well known to
be esculent, but they are purposely omitted from my list, which for
considerations of safety absolutely excludes the entire genus _Amanita_
of the "_poison-cup_" which is discussed at some length in the
succeeding chapter.

For popular utility from the food standpoint my selection presents,
to all intents and purposes, a more than sufficient list, the species
being easily distinguished, and, with proper consideration to their
freshness, entirely safe and of sufficient frequency in their haunts to
insure a continually available mushroom harvest throughout the entire
fungus season.

[Sidenote: =Fungus food always available=]

The knowledge of their identities once acquired, it is perfectly
reasonable to assert that in average weather conditions the
fungus-hunter may confine himself to these varieties and still be
confronted with an embarrassment of riches, availing himself of
three meals a day, with the mere trouble of a ramble through the
woods or pastures. Indeed, he may restrict himself to six of these
species--the green Russula, Puff-ball, Pasture-mushroom, Campestris
(meadow-mushroom), Shaggy-mane, and _Boletus edulis_--and yet become a
veritable mycological gourmand if he chooses, never at a loss for an
appetizing entrée at his table.

In the group of Russulæ and Boleti alone, more than one conservative
amateur of the writer's acquaintance finds a sufficient supply to meet
all dietary wants.

[Sidenote: =A neglected harvest=]

What a plenteous, spontaneous harvest of delicious feasting annually
goes begging in our woods and fields!

The sentiment of Dr. Badham, the eminent British authority on
mushrooms, years ago, in reference to the spontaneous perennial harvest
of wild edible fungi which abounded in his country, going to waste by
the ton, would appear to be as true to-day for Britain as when he
uttered it, and applies with even greater force to the similar, I may
say identical, neglected tribute of Nature in our own American woods
and fields, where the growth of fungi is especially rich.

[Sidenote: =Fungus epicures=]

The fungus-eaters of Britain, it is said, are even to-day merely
a conspicuous coterie, while in America this particular sort of
specialist is more generally an isolated "crank" who is compelled to
"flock alone," contemplated with a certain awe by his less venturesome
fellows, and otherwise variously considered, either with envy of
his experience and scientific knowledge, or more probably as an
irresponsible, who continually tempts Providence in his foolhardy
experiments with poison.

[Sidenote: =Chemical constituents=]

But what a contrast do we find on the Continent in the appreciation
of the fungus as an article of diet! In France, Germany, Russia, and
Italy, for example, where the woods are scoured for the perennial crop,
and where, through centuries of popular familiarity and tradition,
the knowledge of its economic value has become the possession of the
people, a most important possession to the poor peasant who, perhaps
for weeks together, will taste no other animal food. I say "animal
food" advisedly; for, gastronomically and chemically considered, the
flesh of the mushroom has been proven to be almost identical with meat,
and possesses the same nourishing properties. This animal affinity
is further suggested in its physiological life, the fungus reversing
the order of all other vegetation in imbibing oxygen and exhaling
carbonic acid, after the manner of animals. It is not surprising,
therefore, that the analogy should be still further emphasized by
the discrimination of the palate, many kinds of fungi when cooked
simulating the taste and consistency of animal food almost to the point
of deception.

[Sidenote: =Popular distrust of fungi=]

But in America the fungus is under the ban, its great majority of
harmless or even wholesome edible species having been brought into
popular disrepute through the contamination, mostly, of a single small
genus.

In the absence of special scientific knowledge, or, from our present
point of view, its equivalent, popular familiarity, this general
distrust of the whole fungus tribe may be, however, considered a
beneficent prejudice. So deadly is the insidious, mysterious foe that
lurks among the friendly species that it is well for humanity in
general that the entire list of fungi should share its odium, else
those "toadstool" fatalities, already alarmingly frequent, might become
a serious feature in our tables of mortality.

[Sidenote: =Fungus food for all=]

But the prejudice is needlessly sweeping. A little so-called knowledge
of fungi has often proven to be a "dangerous thing," it is true, but
it is quite possible for any one of ordinary intelligence, rightly
instructed, to master the discrimination of at least a _few_ of the
more _common edible_ species, while being _thoroughly equipped_
against the dangers of _deadly_ varieties, whose identification is
comparatively simple.

[Sidenote: ="Toadstool" and "mushroom"=]

It is idle to attempt an adjudication of the vexed "toadstool"
and "mushroom" question here. The toad is plainly the only final,
appealable authority on this subject. It may be questioned whether he
is at pains to determine the delectable or noisome qualities--from the
human standpoint--of a particular fungus before deciding to settle his
comfortable proportions upon its summit--if, indeed, he even so honors
even the humblest of them.

The oft-repeated question, therefore, "Is this fungus a toadstool or a
mushroom?" may fittingly be met by the counter query, "Is this rose a
flower or a blossom?"

The so-called distinction is a purely arbitrary, popular prejudice
which differentiates the "toadstool" as poisonous, the "mushroom" being
considered harmless. But even the rustic authorities are rather mixed
on the subject, as may be well illustrated by a recent incident in my
own experience.

[Sidenote: =Popular discrimination=]

Walking in the woods with a country friend in quest of fungi, we
were discussing this "toadstool" topic when we came upon a cluster
of mushrooms at the base of a tree-trunk, their broad, expanded caps
apparently upholstered in fawn-colored, undressed kid, their under
surfaces being stuffed and tufted in pale greenish hue.

"What would you call those?" I inquired.

"Those are toadstools, unmistakably," he replied.

"Well, toadstools or not, you see there about two pounds of
delicious vegetable meat, for it is the common species of edible
boletus--_Boletus edulis_."

A few moments later we paused before a beautiful specimen, lifting its
parasol of pure white above the black leaf mould.

"And what is this?" I inquired.

"I would certainly call _that_ a mushroom," was his instant reply.

This mushroom proved to be a fine, tempting specimen of the _Agaricus_
(_amanita_) _vernus_, the deadliest of the mushrooms, and one of the
most violent and fatal of all known vegetable poisons, whose attractive
graces and insidious wiles are doubtless continually responsible for
those numerous fatalities usually dismissed with the epitaph, "Died
from eating toadstools in mistake for mushrooms."

So much, therefore, for the popular distinction which makes "toadstool"
a synonyme for "poisonous," and "mushroom" synonymous with "edible,"
and which often proves to be the "little knowledge" which is very
dangerous.

[Sidenote: =The rustic authorities on "mushrooms"=]

The too prevalent mortality traceable to the mushroom is confined to
two classes of unfortunates: 1. Those who have not learned that there
is such a thing as a fatal mushroom; 2. The provincial authority who
Can "tell a mushroom" by a number of his so-called infallible "_tests_"
or "proofs." There is a large third class to whose conservative
caution is to be referred the prevalent arbitrary distinction between
"toadstool" and "mushroom," ardent disciples of old Tertullian, who
believed in regard to toadstools that "For every different hue they
display there is a pain to correspond to it, and just so many modes of
death as there are distinct species," and whose obstinate dogma, "There
is only one mushroom, all the rest are toadstools," has doubtless
spared them an occasional untimely grave, for few of this class, from
their very conservatism, ever fall victims to the "toadstool."

And what a self-complacent, patronizing, solicitous character this
rustic mushroom oracle is! Go where you will in the rural districts
and you are sure of him, or perhaps her--usually a conspicuous figure
in the neighborhood, the village blacksmith, perhaps, or the simpler
"Old Aunt Huldy." Their father and "granther" before them "knew how to
tell a mushroom," and this enviable knowledge has been their particular
inheritance.

How well we more special students of the fungus know him! and how he
wins our tender regard with his keen solicitude for our well-being!
We meet him everywhere in our travels, and always with the same old
story! We emerge from the wood, perhaps, with our basket brimful of our
particular fungus tidbits, topped off with specimens of red Russula
and Boletus, and chance to pass him on the road or in the meadow. He
scans the basket curiously as he passes us. He has perhaps heard rumors
afloat that "there's a city chap in town who is tempting Providence
with his foolin' with tudstools;" and with genuine solicitude and
superior condescension and awe, all betrayed in his countenance, he
must needs pause in his walk to relieve his mind in our behalf. I
recall one characteristic episode, of which the above is the prelude.

"Ye ain't a-goin' to eat _them_, air ye?" he asks, anxiously, by way of
introduction.

[Sidenote: =Rustic discrimination=]

"I am, most certainly," I respond; "that is, if I can get my good
farmer's wife to cook them without coming them and inundating them in
lemon-juice."

"Waal, then, I'll say good-bye to ye," he responds, with emphasis.
"Why, don't ye know them's tudstools, 'n' they'll _kill_ ye as _sartin_
as _pizen_? I wonder they ain't fetched ye afore this. You never larned
tew tell mushrooms. My father et 'em all his life, and so hev I, 'n' I
_know_ 'em. Come up into my garden yender 'n' I'll show ye haow to tell
the _reel mushroom_. There's a lot of 'em thar in the hot-bed naow.
Come along. I'll _give_ ye a mess on 'em if ye'll only throw them pizen
things away."

"And how do you know that those in your garden _are_ real mushrooms?" I
inquire.

"Why, they ain't _anything_ like _them_ o' yourn. They're pink and
black underneath, and peel up from the edge."

"How many kinds of mushrooms are there, do you suppose?" I ask.

"They's only the _one_ kind; all the others is _tudstools_ and _pizen_.
It's easy to tell the _reel_ mushroom. Come up and I'll show ye. Don't
eat _them_ things, I beg on ye! I vaow they'll _kill_ ye!"

At this point he catches a glimpse of a Shaggy-mane mushroom, which
comes to light as I tenderly fondle the specimens, and which is
evidently recognized as an acquaintance.

"What!" he exclaims, in pale alarm. "Ye _ain't_ goin' t' eat them
_too_?"

"Oh yes I am, this very evening," I respond. "I think I'll try them
_first_."

[Sidenote: =A rustic authority= ]

"Why, man, yure crazy! You don't know nothin' about 'em. I'd as soon
think o' eatin' pizen outright. Them's what we call black-slime
tudstools. They come up out o' manure. I've seen my muck-heap in my
barnyard covered with the nasty things time 'n' ag'in. They look nice
'n' white naow, but they rot into the onsiteliest black mess ye ever
see. I know wut I'm sayin'. Ye can't tell me nothin' 'baout _them_
tudstools! They keep comin' up along my barn-fence all thro' the
fall--_bushels_ of 'em."

"Well, my good friend, it's a great pity, then, that you have not
learned something about toadstools as well as mushrooms, for you might
have saved many a butcher's bill, and may in the future if you will
only take my word that this much-abused specimen is as truly a mushroom
as your pink-gilled peeler, and to my mind far more delicious."

"What! Do you mean to tell me thet you have _reely eaten 'em_?"

"Yes, indeed; often. Why, just look at its clean, shaggy cap, its
creamy white or pink gills underneath; take a sniff of its pleasant
aroma; and here! just taste a little piece--it's as sweet as a nut!" I
conclude, offering him the white morsel.

"Not much! I'll make my will first, thank'ee! You let me _see_ ye eat a
mess of 'em, and if the coroner don't get ye, p'r'aps I'll try on't."

[Sidenote: ="Toadstool" prejudice=]

Experiences similar to this one are frequent in the career of every
mycophagist, and serve to illustrate the pity and solicitude which
he awakens among his fellow-mortals, as well as to emphasize the
prevalent superstitions regarding the comparative virtues of the
mushroom and toadstool--a prejudice which, by-the-way, in the absence
of available popular literature on the subject, and the actual dangers
which encompass their popular distinction, is a most beneficent public
safeguard.

[Sidenote: =Popular tests and superstitions=]

The mushroom which "he can tell" is generally the _Agaricus
campestris_, or one of its several varieties; and knowing this alone,
and tempted by no other, this sort of village oracle escapes the fate
which often awaits another class, who are not thus conservative,
and who extend their definition of mushroom (a word supposed to be
synonymous with "edible"), and this mainly through the indorsement
of certain so-called infallible tests handed down to them from their
forefathers, and by which the esculent varieties may be distinguished
from the poisonous. By these so-called "tests" or "proofs" the
identification of certain species is gradually acquired. The rural
fungus epicure now "knows them by sight," or perhaps has received his
information second-hand, and makes his selection without hesitation,
with what success may be judged from the incident in my own experience
already noted--one which, knowing as I did the frequency and confidence
with which my country friend sampled the fungi at his table, filled me
with consternation and anxiety for his future.

"How, then, shall we distinguish a mushroom from a toadstool?"

There is no way of distinguishing them, for they are the same.

"How, then, shall we know a poisonous toadstool from a harmless one?"
the reader hopelessly exclaims.

This discrimination is by no means as difficult as is popularly
supposed, but in the first place, the student must entirely rid himself
of all preconceived notions and traditions, such as the following
almost world-wide "tests," many of which are easily demonstrated to be
worse than worthless, and have doubtless frequently led to an untimely
funeral. Some of these are merely local, and in widely separated
districts are supplanted by others equally arbitrary and absurd, while
many of them are as old as history.


  WORTHLESS TRADITIONAL TESTS FOR THE DISCRIMINATION
          OF POISONOUS AND EDIBLE MUSHROOMS

                   FAVORABLE SIGNS

    1. Pleasant taste and odor.
    2. Peeling of the skin of the cap from rim to centre.
    3. Pink gills, turning brown in older specimens.
    4. The stem easily pulled out of the cap and inserted in it
  like a parasol handle.
    5. Solid stems.
    6. Must be gathered in the morning.
    7. "Any fungus having a pleasant taste and odor, being found
  similarly agreeable after being plainly broiled without the
  least seasoning, is perfectly safe."

                  UNFAVORABLE SIGNS

    8. Boiling with a "silver spoon," the staining of the silver
  indicating danger.
    9. Change of color in the fracture of the fresh mushroom.
   10. Slimy or sticky on the top.
   11. Having the stems at their sides.
   12. Growing in clusters.
   13. Found in dark, damp places.
   14. Growing on wood, decayed logs, or stumps.
   15. Growing on or near manure.
   16. Having bright colors.
   17. Containing milky juice.
   18. Having the gill plates of even length.
   19. Melting into black fluid.
   20. Biting the tongue or having a bitter or nauseating taste.
   21. Changing color by immersion in salt-water, or upon being
  dusted with salt.

These present but a selection of the more prevalent notions. Taken
_in toto_, they would prove entirely safe, as they would practically
exclude every species of mushroom or toadstool that grows. But as a
rule the village oracle bases his infallibility upon two or three
of the above "rules," and inasmuch as the entire list absolutely
_omits_ the _only_ one test by which danger is to be avoided, it is
a seven-days' wonder that the grewsome toadstool epitaph is not more
frequent.

[Sidenote: =Absolute worthlessness of above tests=]

I once knew an aged dame who was accepted as a village oracle on
this as well as other topics, such as divining, palmistry, and
fortune-telling, and who ate and dispensed toadstools on a few of
the above rules. Strange to say, she lived to a good old age, and
no increased mortality is credited to her memory as a result of her
generosity.

How are these popular notions sustained by the facts? Let us analyze
them seriatim and confront each with its refutation, the better to show
their entire untrustworthiness.


POPULAR TESTS REFUTED

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

_Pleasant taste and odor_ (1) is a conspicuous feature in the regular
"mushroom" (_Agaricus campestris_), and most other edible fungi, but as
a criterion for safety it is a mockery. The deadly _Agaricus amanita_,
already mentioned, has an inviting odor and to most people a pleasant
taste when raw, and being cooked and eaten gives no token of its fatal
resources until from six to twelve hours after, when its unfortunate
victim is past hope. (See p. 68.)

The _ready peeling_ of the skin (2) is one of the most widely prevalent
proofs of probation, and is often considered a _sufficient_ test; yet
the Amanita will be found to peel with a degree of accommodation which
would thus at once settle its claims as a "mushroom." Indeed, a large
number of species, including several poisonous kinds, will peel as
perfectly as the Campestris.

_The pink gills turning brown_(3) is a marked characteristic of the
"mushroom" (_A. campestris_, Plate 5), and, being a rare tint among
the fungus tribe, is really one of the most valuable of the tests,
especially as it is limited by rules affecting other pink-gilled
species.

_The stem being easily pulled out of the cap_ (4) applies to several
edible species, but equally to the poisonous.

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

The notion that _edible mushrooms have solid stems_ (5) would be a
very unsafe talisman for us to take to the woods in our search for
fungus-food. Many poisonous species are thus solid--the emetic Russula,
for example--while the alleged importance of the =morning specimens=
(6) is without the slightest foundation.

The passage quoted here (7), or a statement to the same effect, was
quite widely circulated in the newspapers a dozen or more years ago, in
an article which bore all the indications of authoritative utterance,
the assumption being that the poisonous mushroom would invariably give
some forbidding token to the senses by which it might be discriminated.

Woe to the fungus epicure who should sample his mushrooms and
toadstools on such a criterion as this, as the _most fatal of all
mushrooms_, the _Amanita vernus_, would fulfil all these requisites.

_The discoloration of silver_ (8) is a test as old as Pliny at least,
a world-wide popular touchstone for the detection of deleterious
fungi, but useful only in the fact that it will often exclude a poison
not contemplated in the discrimination. On this point, especially as
it affords opportunity to emphasize a common disappointment of the
mushroom-eater, I quote from a recent work by Julius A. Palmer (see
Bibliography, No. 3): "Mushrooms decay very rapidly. In a short time a
fair, solid fungus becomes a mass of maggots which eat its tissue until
its substance is honey-combed; these cells, on a warm day, are charged
with the vapors of decomposition. Now you put such mushrooms as these
(and I have seen just such on the markets of Boston and London) over
the fire. In boiling, sulphuretted hydrogen or other noxious gases are
liberated; you stir with a bright spoon and it is discolored; proud of
your test, you throw away your stew. Now this is right, but if from
this you conclude that all fungus which discolors silver is poisonous
and that which leaves it bright is esculent, you are in dangerous
error. It is the same with fish at sea. Tradition says that you must
fry a piece of silver with them and throw them away if it discolors.
Certainly the experiment does no harm, and shows a decomposition in
both cases which might have been detected without the charm." Opposed
to this so-called talisman, how grim is the fact that the deadliest of
all mushrooms, the Amanita, in its fresh condition, has no effect upon
silver.

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

_The change of color in fracture_ (9) has long been a ban to the
fungus as food. But this would exclude several very delicious species,
which turn bluish, greenish, and red when broken--viz., _Boletus
subtomentosus_ (Plate 22), _Boletus strobilaceus_ (Plate 23), and
Lactarius (Plate 18).

_The "toadstools" with "sticky tops"_ thus discriminated against
(10) include a number of esculent species, Boleti and Russulæ, and
others, as do also the varieties with side-stems (11)--viz., _Agaricus
ulmarius_ (Plate 15), _Fistulina hepatica_ (Plate 25), _Agaricus
ostreatus_ (Plate 14), etc.

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

_The clustered fungi_ (12) have long been included in the black-list
without reason, as witness the following esteemed esculent species: The
Shaggy-mane (Plate 16), _Coprinus atramentarius_ (Plate 17), Oyster
mushroom (Plate 14), Elm mushroom (Plate 15), Puff-balls (Plate 34),
and Champignon (Plate 8).

To exclude _all fungi which grow in dark, damp places_ (13) is a
singular inconsistency, as in some localities this would eliminate the
very one species of "mushroom" admittedly eatable by popular favor. In
many countries these are regularly cultivated for market in dark, damp,
subterranean caverns or in cellars. Indeed, the "dark, damp place"
would appear to be the ideal habitat of this the "only mushroom!"

Equally absurd is the discrimination against those _growing on wood_
(14), which again deprives us of the delicious Hydnum (Plate 27), the
Beefsteak (Plate 25), Oyster mushroom (Plate 14), Elm mushroom (Plate
15), and many others, including Puff-balls (Plate 34). If we exclude
those growing _upon or near manure_ (15), we shall be obliged to omit
the Coprinus group (Plates 16 and 17), and often the "_reel_ mushroom"
as well.

Among the _bright-colored species_ (16), it is true, are many dangerous
individuals, as, for instance, the deadly Fly Amanita of Plate 4, and
the emetic Russula (Plate 13), but on this fiat we should have to
reject the other brilliant esculent Russulæ (Plates 11 and 12), the
brilliant yellow Chantarelle (Plate 19), the Lactarius (Plate 18), and
various other equally palatable and wholesome species.

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

The objection against _milky mushrooms_ (17) would serve to exclude the
poisonous species of Lactarius, but would thus include at least two of
the delicious species of the group, _L. deliciosus_, with orange milk
(Plate 18), and _L. piperatus_, another species with white milk not
figured in this volume.

The group of Russulæ, most of which are esculent, is notable for their
_gills of even length_ (18), though not all the species are thus
characterized. This discrimination, however, especially applies to the
Shaggy-mane (Plate 16), which is conspicuously even-gilled, and is a
decided delicacy.

This species, together with its congener, the edible _Coprinus
atramentarius_ (Plate 17), are notorious for their _melting into black
fluid_ (19), which is thus of no significance as a test, although the
mushrooms are not supposed to be eaten in this stage of deliquescence.

A fungus which _bites the tongue_ (20) when tasted would naturally
be excluded from our mushroom diet, as would also, of course, those
of a _bitter or nauseating taste_; but several species, notably the
_Lactarius piperatus_, as its name implies, is very hot and peppery
when raw--a characteristic which disappears in cooking, after which it
is perfectly esculent. The same applies in a scarcely less degree to
the _Agaricus melleus_, and less so to the _Hydnum repandum_ (Plate
27), and other mushrooms. But the poisonous _Russula emetica_ (Plate
13) gives this same hot, warning tang, and this rule (17) would at
least thus exclude the harmful species, and is thus contributive to
popular safety.

[Sidenote: =Worthless popular tests=]

_The salt test_ (21), with that of the silver charm, is also a relic
of the dim past, but is absolutely useless as a touchstone. Many
poisonous species, notably the Amanita, fail to answer to it. All
authorities agree, however, that the addition of salt in cooking, or
the preparatory soaking of specimens in brine, has a tendency to render
poisonous species innocuous. Indeed, it is claimed that in Russia and
elsewhere on the Continent many admittedly poisonous species, even the
deadly Fly Amanita, is habitually eaten subsequent to this semi-corning
process, by which the poisonous chemical principle is neutralized.

[Sidenote: =Omission of the only true test=]

Among this long list, and many other equally arbitrary and ignorant
prejudicial traditions, many of which date back to the earliest
times, it is indeed astonishing to note the _conspicuous absence_ of
the one and only valuable sign by which the fatal species could be
unmistakably determined--a symbol which was reserved for botanical
science to discover: the presence of the "_cup_" in the Amanita, which
is pointedly emphasized in my Frontispiece, and the importance of which
as a botanical and cautionary distinction is considered at more length
in the following chapter.

It is well to consider for a moment what is implied in

             "A POISONOUS MUSHROOM"

        A fungus may be poisonous in various ways:

        1. A distinct and certain deadly poison.

        2. The cause of violent digestive or other
     functional disturbance, but not necessarily fatal.

        3. The occasion of more or less serious physical
     derangement through mere indigestibility.

        4. Productive of similar disorders through the
     employment of decayed or wormy specimens of perfectly
     esculent species.

        5. These same esculent species, even in their
     fresh condition, may become highly noxious by contact
     or confinement with specimens of the Amanita by
     the absorption of its volatile poison, as further
     described on p. 69.

[Sidenote: =Concerning idiosyncrasy=]

And lastly comes the question of idiosyncrasy, a consideration which
is of course not taken into account in our recommendation of certain
well-established food varieties.

[Sidenote: =Decaying mushrooms=]

[Sidenote: =Fresh specimens=]

"One man's food another man's poison." The scent of the rose is
sometimes a serious affliction, and even the delicious strawberry
has repeatedly proven a poison. Even the most wholesome mushroom
will occasionally require to be discriminated against, as certain
individuals find it necessary to exclude cabbage, milk, onions, and
other common food from their diet. When we reflect, moreover, that in
its essential chemical affinities the fungus simulates animal flesh,
and many of the larger and more solid varieties are similarly subject
to speedy decomposition, it is obviously important that _all fungi
procured for the table should be collected in their prime, and prepared
and served as quickly as possible_. More than one case of supposed
mushroom poisoning could be directly traced to carelessness in this
regard, when the species themselves, in their proper condition, had
been perfectly wholesome.

[Sidenote: =No general rule for identification=]

There can be no general rule laid down for the discrimination of _an
edible fungus_. Each must be _learned_ as a species, or at least
familiarized as a kind, even as we learn to recognize certain flowers,
trees, or birds.

Within a certain range this discrimination is practised by the merest
child. How are the robin, the chippy, and the swallow recognized, or
the red clover, and white clover, and yellow clover?

[Sidenote: =Simple botanical discrimination=]

Even in the instances of species which bear a very close outward
similarity, how simple, after all, does the distinction become. Here,
for instance, is the wild-lettuce, and its mimic, the _mulgedium_,
growing side by side--to ninety-nine out of a hundred observers
_absolutely alike_, and apparently the same species. But how readily
are they distinguished, I will not say by the botanist merely, but by
any one who will take the small pains of contrasting their specific
botanical characters--perfectly infallible, no matter how various the
masquerade of their foliage. The lettuce has yellow blossoms, and a
seed prolonged into a _long beak_, to whose tip the feathery pappus
is attached. The mulgedium has dull bluish flowers, and its pappus
is attached to the seed by a hardly perceptible elongation. As with
the birds and wild-flowers, so with the fungi: we must learn them as
species, even as we learn to distinguish the difference between the
trefoil of the clover and that of the wood-sorrel, or between the
innocuous wild-carrot and the poison-hemlock, the harmless stag-horn
sumach and its venomous congener, the _Rhus venenata_. There are
parallel outward resemblances between esculent and poisonous fungi,
but each possesses otherwise its own special features by which it may
be identified--variations of gills, pores, spores, taste, odor, color,
juice, consistency of pulp, method of decay, etc.

It must not be presumed that the list of edible species just cited
from the catalogue of Dr. Curtis includes all the esculents among the
fungi. Dr. Harkness has discovered and classified many others. Mr.
Palmer and Prof. Charles Peck are never at a loss for their "mess of
mushrooms" among their list of nearly a hundred species, while Mr.
Charles McIlvaine, whose name, so far as its practical authority is
concerned, should appear more prominently in my bibliographical list,
but who has not yet incorporated his many mycological essays in book
form, writes me that he has tested gastronomically a host of species,
and has found over _three hundred_ to be edible, or at least harmless.
It may be said that the probabilities would include a large majority of
the thousand species in the same category. But this is a matter which,
in the absence of absolute knowledge, is mere conjecture.

Of the forty-odd species which the writer enjoys with more or less
frequency at his table, he is satisfied that he can select at least
thirty which possess such distinct and strongly marked characters of
form, structure, and other special qualities as to enable them, by
the aid of careful portraiture and brief description, to be easily
recognized, even by a tyro.

As previously emphasized, the present work does not aim to be complete,
nor does it contemplate a practical utility beyond its specific
recommendations, nor will the author assume any responsibility for the
hazard which shall exceed its restricted list of species.

[Sidenote: =Humanity and forbidden fruit=]

On general principles, however, considering the proneness of humanity
towards the acquisition of forbidden fruit, and reasoning from my own
actual experience, and that of many others to whom this fascinating
hobby of epicurean fungology has become a growing passion, it may
almost be assumed that the fungus appetite with many of my readers will
increase by what it feeds on, and the sufficiency herewith offered will
scarcely suffice. Like Oliver Twist, they must needs have _more_. The
glory of a new acquisition to the fungus menu, and emulation of other
rival tyro mycophagists, will doubtless lead many enthusiasts to more
or less hazardous experiment among the legion of the unknown species.
This logical tendency, then, must be met ere my book can safely and
conscientiously be launched upon its career, to which purpose I would
append the following condensed


           RULES FOR THE VENTURESOME

        1. Avoid every mushroom having a _cup_, or
     _suggestion_ of such, at base (see Frontispiece, and
     Plates 3 and 4); the distinctly fatal poisons are thus
     excluded.

        2. Exclude those having an unpleasant odor, a
     peppery, bitter, or other unpalatable flavor, or tough
     consistency.

        3. Exclude those infested with worms, or in
     advanced age or decay.

        4. In testing others which will pass the above
     probation let the specimen be _kept by itself_, not in
     contact with or enclosed in the same basket with other
     species, for reasons given on page 69.

[Sidenote: =Testing new species=]

Begin by a mere nibble, the size of a pea, and gentle mastication,
being careful to swallow no saliva, and finally expelling all from
the mouth. If no noticeable results follow, the next trial, with the
interval of a day, with the same quantity may permit of a swallow of a
little of the juice, the fragments of the fungus expelled as before.

No unpleasantness following for twenty-four hours, the third trial
may permit of a similar entire fragment being swallowed, all of these
experiments to be made on "an empty stomach." If this introduction
of the actual substance of the fungus into the stomach is superseded
by no disturbance in twenty-four hours, a larger piece, the size
of a hazel-nut, may be attempted, and thus the amount gradually
increased day by day until the demonstration of edibility, or at
least harmlessness, is complete, and the species thus admitted into
the "safe" list. By following this method with the utmost caution the
experimenter can at best suffer but a slight temporary indisposition as
the result of his hardihood, in the event of a noisome species having
been encountered, and will at least thus have the satisfaction of
discovery of an enemy if not a friend.

[Sidenote: =Mr. McIlvaine's general rule=]

It may be said that any mushroom, _omitting the Amanita_, which is
pleasant to the taste and otherwise agreeable as to odor and texture
when raw, is probably harmless, and may safely be thus _ventured on_
with a view of establishing its edibility. A prominent authority on
our edible mushrooms, already mentioned, applies this rule to all the
Agarics with confidence. "This rule may be established," he says: "All
Agarics--_excepting the Amanitæ_--mild to the taste when raw, if they
commend themselves in other ways, are edible." This claim is borne out
in his experience, with the result, already told, that he now numbers
over one hundred species among his habitual edible list out of the
three hundred which he has actually found by personal test to be edible
or harmless. "So numerous are toadstools," he continues, "and so well
does a study of them define their habits and habitats, that the writer
_never fails upon any day from April to December to find ample supply
of healthy, nutritious, delicate toadstools for himself and family_."
The italicized portion is my own, as I would thus emphasize the similar
possibilities amply afforded even in the present condensed list of
about thirty varieties herein described.

[Sidenote: =Hints to mushroom-gatherers=]

In gathering mushrooms one should be supplied with a sharp knife. The
mushroom should be carefully cut off an inch or so below the cap, or at
least sufficiently far above the ground to escape all signs of dirt on
the stem. They should then be laid gills upward in their receptacle,
and it is well to have a special basket, arranged with one or two
removable bottoms or horizontal partitions, which are kept in place by
upright props within, thus relieving the lower layers of mushrooms from
the weight of those above them. Such a basket is almost indispensable.

[Sidenote: =Insects infesting mushrooms=]

Before preparing mushrooms for the table, the specimens should be
carefully scrutinized for a class of fungus specialists which we have
not taken into account, and which have probably anticipated us. The
mushroom is proverbial for its rapid development, but nature has not
allowed it thus to escape the usual penalties of lush vegetation, as
witness this swarming, squirming host, minute grubs, which occasionally
honey-comb or hollow its entire substance ere it has reached its prime;
indeed, in many cases, even before it has fully expanded or even
protruded above ground.

[Sidenote: =History of fungus insects=]

Like the carrion-flies, the bees, and wasps, which in early times
were believed to be of spontaneous origin--flies being generated from
putrefaction, bees from dead bulls, and the martial wasps from defunct
"war-horses"--these fungus swarms which so speedily reduce a fair
specimen of a mushroom to a melting loathsome mass, were also supposed
to be the natural progeny of the "poisonous toadstool." But science has
solved the riddle of their mysterious omnipresence among the fungi,
each particular swarm of grubs being the witness of a former visit
of a maternal parent insect, which has sought the budding fungus in
its haunts often before it has fully revealed itself to human gaze,
and implanted within its substance her hundred or more eggs. To the
uneducated eye these larvæ all appear similar, but the specialist in
entomology readily distinguishes between them as the young of this or
that species of fly, gnat, or beetle.

As an illustration of the assiduity with which the history of these
tiny scavenger insects has been followed by science, I may mention that
in the gnat group alone over seven hundred species have been discovered
and scientifically described, many of them requiring a powerful
magnifier to reveal their identities.

Specimens of infected or decaying mushrooms preserved within a tightly
closed box--and, we would suggest, duly quarantined--will at length
reveal the imago forms of the voracious larvæ: generally a swarm of
tiny gnats or flies, with an occasional sprinkling of small glossy
black beetles, or perhaps a beautiful indigo-blue insect half an
inch in length, of most nervous habit, and possessed of a long and
very active tail. This insect is an example of the curious group of
rove-beetles--_staphylinus_--a family of insect scavengers, many of
whose species depend upon the fungi for subsistence.

Even the large woody growth known as "punk" or "touch-wood," so
frequently seen upon decaying trunks, is not spared. A huge specimen in
my keeping was literally reduced to dust by a single species of beetle.

[Sidenote: =A wise precaution=]

Considering the prevalence of these fungus hosts, it is well in
all mushrooms to take the precaution of making a vertical section
through stem and cap, excluding such specimens as are conspicuously
monopolized, and not being _too_ critical of the rest, for the
over-fastidious gourmet will often thus have little to show for his
morning walk. I have gathered a hundred specimens of fungi in one
stroll, perhaps not a quarter of which, upon careful scrutiny, though
fair of exterior, would be fit for the table. The fungus-hunter _par
excellence_ has usually been there before us and left his mark (see
page 135)--a mere fine brown streak or tunnel, perhaps, winding
through the pulp or stem, where his minute fungoid identity is even
yet secreted. But we bigger fungus-eaters gradually learn to accept
him--if not too outrageously promiscuous--as a natural part and parcel
of our _Hachis aux Champignons_, or our simple mushrooms on toast,
even as we wink at the similar lively accessories which sophisticate
our delectable raisins, prunes, and figs, to say nothing of prime old
Rochefort!


MUSHROOM POISONING

In conclusion, lest these pages, in spite of the impress of caution
with which they are weighted, should lead to discomfiture, distress,
or more serious results among their more careless readers, it is well
to devote a few lines to directions for medical treatment where such
should seem to be required. To this end I quote a passage from an
article in the _Therapeutic Gazette_ of May, 1893, from the pen of Mr.
McIlvaine, whose many years' experience with gastronomic fungi entitles
his words to careful consideration:

[Sidenote: =Diagnosis and treatment=]

"The physician called upon to treat a case of toadstool poisoning
need not wait to query after the variety eaten; he need not wish to
see a sample. His first endeavor should be to ascertain the exact
time elapsing between the eating of the toadstools and the first
feeling of discomfort. If this is within four or five hours one of
the minor poisons is at work, and rapid relief must be given by the
administration of an emetic, followed by one or two moderate doses
of sweet-oil and whiskey, in equal parts. Vinegar is effective as a
substitute for sweet-oil. If from eight to twelve hours have elapsed,
the physician may rest assured that amanitine is present, and should
administer one-sixtieth of a grain of atropine at once."

This atropine is intended to be injected hypodermically, and the
treatment repeated every half-hour until one-twentieth of a grain has
been given, or the patient's life saved.

Further consideration of the Amanita and its deadly poison and
antidote, with details as to treatment in a notable case, will be
reserved for the following chapter.

The colored plates in the volume were prepared from pencil drawings
tinted in water-color, many of them direct from nature, several dating
back fifteen years, and many of them over twenty years, for their
original sketch. The colors as presented indicate those of typical
individuals of the various species, and each, in addition to the
extended description in the text of the volume, is faced by a condensed
description for ready reference, the usual troublesome necessity of
turning the pages being thus avoided.

In each plate dimension marks are shown which indicate the expansion of
the pileus or cap of the fungus in an ideal specimen.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: =Acknowledgments=]

In the preparation of this work, acknowledgments are specially due
to Messrs. Julius A. Palmer and Charles McIlvaine for the privilege
of liberal quotations from their published works, especially with
reference to the poisonous fungi. The volume is also further indebted
for occasional extracts from the standard works of Prof. Chas. Peck,
Mrs. T. J. Hussey, Rev. Dr. C. D. Badham, Rev. Dr. M. C. Cooke, Rev.
J. M. Berkeley, Worthington Smith, and Rev. M. A. Curtis, all of whose
volumes and various other contributions on the special subject of
mycophagy are included in my bibliography on a later page.

                                        W. HAMILTON GIBSON

  _October 1, 1894_           WASHINGTON, CONN.

[Illustration: The Deadly Amanita]



_The Deadly Amanita_

The frequency of this terrible foe in all our woods, and the
ever-recurring fatalities which are continually traced to its seductive
treachery (some twenty-five deaths having been recorded in the public
journals during the summer of 1893 alone), render it important that
its teeth should be drawn, and its portrait placarded and popularly
familiarized as an archenemy of mankind.

[Sidenote: =A whited sepulchre=]

As we have seen, from every superficial standpoint, this species is
self-commendatory. It is, without doubt, in comeliness, symmetry,
and structure, the ideal of all our mushrooms, as it is, indeed, the
botanical type of the tribe Agaricus, as well as its most notorious
genus. Since the time of that carousing young lunatic Nero, who,
doubtless, was wont to make merry with its "convenient poison," upon
one occasion, it is recorded by Pliny, to the presumably amusing
extinction of the entire guests of a banquet, together with the prefect
of the guard and a small host of tribunes and centurions, the Amanita
has claimed an army of victims.

[Sidenote: =Easily identified botanically=]

While giving no superficial token of its dangerous character to
the casual observer, the Amanita, as a genus and a species, is
nevertheless easily identified, if the mushroom collector will for the
moment consider it from the _botanical_ rather than the sensuous or
gustatorial standpoint.

The deadly Amanita need no longer impose upon the fastidious feaster in
the guise of the dainty "legume" of his menu, or as a contaminating,
fatal ingredient in the otherwise wholesome _ragoût_.

[Sidenote: =Amanita vernus=]

In Plate 3 I have presented the reprobate _Amanita vernus_ in its
protean progressive proportions from infancy to maturity. This is
especially desirable, in that the fungus is equally dangerous as an
infant, and also because the development of its growth specially
emphasizes _botanically_ the one important structural character by
which the species or genus may be easily distinguished. Let us, then,
consider the specimen as a type of the tribe Agaricus (gilled mushroom,
see p. 79), genus Amanita.

[Sidenote: =Vegetation of an Agaric=]

[Sidenote: =The danger signal=]

Year after year we are sure of finding this species, or others of
the genus, especially in the spring and summer, its favorite haunt
being the woods. Its spores, like other mushrooms, are shed upon the
ground from the white gills beneath, as described in our chapter on
"Spore-prints," or wafted to the ends of the earth on the breeze, and
eventually, upon having found a suitable habitat, vegetate in the form
of webby, white, mould-like growth--mycelium--which threads through
the dead leaves, the earth, or decaying wood. This running growth is
botanically considered as the _true_ fungus, the final mushroom being
the _fruit_, whose function is the dissemination of the spores. After
a rain, or when the conditions are otherwise suitable, a certain point
among this webby tangle beneath the ground becomes suddenly quickened
into astonishing cell-making energy, and a small rounded nodule begins
to form, which continues to develop with great rapidity (Plate 2). In
a few hours more it has pushed its head above ground, and now appears
like an egg, as at A, Plate 3. The successive stages in its development
are clearly indicated in the drawings. Each represents an interval of
an hour or two, or more, the most suggestive and important feature
being the _outer envelope_, or _volva_, which encloses the actual
mushroom--at first completely, then in a ruptured condition, until in
the mature growth the only vestige of it which appears above ground
are the few shreds generally, though not always, to be seen on the
top of the cap. The _most important_ character of this deadly Amanita
is, therefore, apparently with almost artful malice prepense, often
_concealed_ from our view in the mature specimen, the only remnant of
the original outer sack being the _cup_ or _socket_ about the base of
the stem, which is generally hidden under ground, and usually there
remains after we pluck the specimen.

[Illustration: PLATE II.--MYCELIUM, AND EARLY VEGETATION OF A
MUSHROOM]

[Sidenote: =The poison-cup=]

This "poison-cup" may be taken as the cautionary symbol of the genus
Amanita, common to all the species. _Any mushroom or toadstool,
therefore, whose stem is thus set in a socket, or which has any
suggestion of such a socket, should be labelled "poison"_; for, though
some of the species having this cup are edible, from the popular point
of view, it is wiser and certainly safer to condemn the entire group.
But the cup must be _sought_ for. We shall thus at least avoid the
possible danger of a fatal termination to our amateur experiments
in gustatory mycology; for, while various other mushrooms might,
and do, induce even serious illness through digestive disturbance,
and secondary, possibly fatal, complications, the Amanita group are
now conceded to be the only fungi which contain a positive, active
poisonous principle whose certain logical consequence is death.

[Sidenote: =The "veil" or shroud=]

Another structural feature of the Amanita is shown in the illustration,
but has been omitted from the above consideration to avoid confusion.
This is the "veil" which, in the young mushroom, originally connected
the edge of the cap, or pileus, with the stem, and whose gradual
rupture necessarily follows the expansion of the cap, until a mere
frill or ring is left about the stem at the original point of contact.

But this feature is a frequent character in many edible mushrooms,
as witness the several examples in the edible species of our plates,
and therefore of no dangerous significance _per se_, being merely a
membrane which protects the growing gills.

[Illustration: PLATE III.--DEVELOPMENT OF AMANITA VERNUS]

[Sidenote: =Scales and scurfy spots=]

Nor are the other features, the remnants of the volva on the summit
of the cap, to be considered of primary importance from the popular
point of view, for the reason--firstly, that these fragments, while
conspicuous and constant in _Amanita muscarius_ (Plate 4), are _not_
thus permanent in several other species of Amanitæ, notably the
white-satin-capped _Amanita vernus_, _Amanita phalloides_, and _Amanita
Cæsarea_, in which the fragments are deciduous; and, secondly, because
the same general effect of these warty scales is so clearly imitated in
other mushrooms which are distinctly edible, as in examples Plate 10
and Plate 16. It is to the _volva_ or _cup_, then, that we must devote
our special attention as the only safe and constant character. And this
leads me to the prominent and necessary consideration of another common
species of Amanita, mentioned above, in which even this cup is more or
less obscure.


THE POISONOUS FLY-MUSHROOM

_Agaricus (Amanita) muscarius_

[Sidenote: =A deceptive Amanita=]

This, one of the most strikingly beautiful of our toadstools, is
figured in Plate 4. Its brilliant cap of yellow, orange, or even
scarlet, studded with white or grayish raised spots, can hardly be
unfamiliar to even the least observant country walker. Its favorite
habitat is the woods, and, in the writer's experience especially,
beneath hemlocks and poplars, where he has seen this species year after
year in whole companies, and in all stages shown in the plate at the
same time, from the globular young specimen almost covered with its
white warts just lifting its head above the brown carpet to the fully
expanded individual, in which the spots have assumed a shrunken and
brownish tint.

[Sidenote: =Used as a fly-poison=]

[Sidenote: =Its obscure cup=]

The consideration of this species is of the _utmost importance_, as
its beauty is but an alluring mask, which has enticed many to their
destruction; among the more recent of its conspicuous victims having
been the Czar Alexis of Russia. For this is another cosmopolitan type
of mushroom, common alike in America, Great Britain, Europe, and Asia,
in all of which countries it is notorious for its poisonous resources.
It is commonly known as the "Fly-agaric," its substance macerated in
milk having been employed for centuries as an effectual fly-poison.
After the reader's introduction to the botanical character of the
Amanita, he would, presumably, be somewhat suspicious of the present
species. The suggestive white or dingy fragments upon its cap, it
is true, would alone arouse his suspicions, but in the examination
of the stem for the telltale volva or cup its verification might be
somewhat in doubt. It is for this reason that the species is emphasized
in these pages, as the _Amanita muscarius_, judging from the great
dissimilarity of its numerous portraits from all countries, would seem
to be remarkably protean, especially with reference to its stalk. The
majority of the portraits of this reprobate presents the volva as
distinct and as clean cut as in the _A. vernus_ just described, and the
stalk above as equally smooth, features which are usually at variance
with the associated botanical description of the species, which often
characterizes the volva as "incomplete" or "obscure," and the stem as
"rough and scaly." If the portraits in these works are correct, the
Amanita qualities of the species are clearly displayed, but if their
accompanying descriptions are to be credited, and such seem to be in
perfect accord with the specimens which I have always found, the _A.
muscarius_ would seem in need of a more authentic historian.

[Illustration: Amanita muscaria]

_PLATE IV_


                    FLY MUSHROOM

             =Agaricus (Amanita) muscarius=

     =Pileus:= Diameter three to six inches, quite flat
        at maturity; color brilliant yellow, orange, or
        scarlet, becoming pale with age, dotted with
        adhesive white, at length pale brownish warts, the
        remnants of the volva.

     =Gills:= Pure white, very symmetrical, various in
        length, the shorter ones terminating under the cap
        with an almost vertical abruptness.

     =Spores:= Pure white. A spore-print of this species is
        shown in Plate 37.

     =Stem:= White, yellowish with age, becoming shaggy, at
        length scaly, the scales below appearing to merge
        into the form of an obscure cup.

     =Volva:= Often obscure, indicated by a mere ragged
        line of loose outward curved shaggy scales around a
        bulbous base.

     =Flesh:= White.

     =Habitat:= Woods and their borders, especially
        favoring pine and hemlock.

     =Season:= Summer and autumn.

[Illustration: PLATE IV

AMANITA MUSCARIA. (POISONOUS.)]

[Sidenote: =Volva scales permanent=]

The example figured in the plate presents the stem and volva as they
have always appeared in specimens obtained by the writer. In the
young individuals the stem is waxy-white, becoming later a dull, pale
ochre hue, the lower half being shaggy and torn, and beset with loose
projecting woolly points which resolve themselves below into scales
with loose tips curved outward, and so distantly disposed upon the
bulbous base as to leave _no marked definition_ of the continuous
rim or opening of a cup. But the cup is there, and in a section of
the bud state of the mushroom could have been seen, even as in the
_white warts_ upon the surface of the _younger_ specimens we note the
evidences of the upper portion of the same white _volva_. In many other
species of Amanita, notably _A. vernus_, as already mentioned, these
volva fragments generally wither and are shed from the cap. They are
thus not to be counted on as a permanent token. But in the fly-mushroom
they form a _distinct character_, as they _adhere firmly to the smooth
skin_ of the pileus, and in drying, instead of shrivelling and curling
and falling off, simply shrink, turn brownish, and in the maturely
expanded mushroom appear like scattered drops of mud which have
dried upon the pileus. Another peculiar structural feature of this
mushroom is shown in the sectional drawing herewith given. The shorter
gills, instead of rounding off as they approach the pileus (see _a_),
terminate abruptly almost at right angles to their edge. The contrast
from the usual form will be more apparent by comparison with the
section of the parasol-mushroom on page 114.

[Illustration: OLD SPECIMEN]

[Illustration: SECTION OF FLY-AMANITA]

Few species of mushrooms have such an interesting history as this. Its
deadly properties were known to the ancients. From the earliest times
its deeds of notoriety are on record.

[Sidenote: =Historical Amanita=]

This is quite possibly the species alluded to by Pliny as "very
conveniently adapted for poisoning," and is not improbably the mushroom
referred to by this historian in the following quotation from his
famous _Natural History_: "Mushrooms are a dainty food, but deservedly
held in disesteem since the notorious crime committed by Agrippina, who
through their agency poisoned her husband, the Emperor Claudius; and
at the same moment, in the person of her son Nero, inflicted another
poisonous curse upon the whole world, herself in particular."

[Sidenote: =Amanita dipsomaniacs=]

Notwithstanding its fatal character, this mushroom, it is said, is
habitually eaten by certain peoples, to whom the poison simply acts as
an intoxicant. Indeed, it is customarily thus employed as a narcotic
and an exhilarant in Kamchatka and Asiatic Russia generally, where the
Amanita drunkard supplants the opium fiend and alcohol dipsomaniac of
other countries. Its narcotizing qualities are commemorated by Cooke in
his _Seven Sisters of Sleep_, wherein may be found a full description
of the toxic employment of the fungus.

The writer has heard it claimed that this species of Amanita has
been eaten with impunity by certain individuals; but the information
has usually come from sources which warrant the belief that another
harmless species has been confounded with it. The warning of my
Frontispiece may safely be extended to the fly-amanita. Its beautiful
gossamer veil may aptly symbolize a shroud.

[Sidenote: =Forewarned and forearmed=]

By fixing these simple structural features of the Amanita in mind, and
emphasizing them by a study of our Frontispiece, we may now consider
ourselves armed against our greatest foe, and may with some assurance
make our limited selection among this lavish larder of wild provender
continually going to waste by the ton in our woods and pastures and
lawns. For it is now a fact generally believed by fungologists, and
being gradually demonstrated, that the edible species, far from being
the exception, as formerly regarded, are the rule; that a great
majority of our common wild fungi are at least harmless, if not
positively wholesome and nutritious as food.


THE POISONOUS ALKALOID

The toxic and deadly effects of certain mushroom poisons, as already
described, have been known since ancient times; and the prolonged
intoxicating debauches to-day prevalent among the Amanita dipsomaniacs
of Northern Russia and Kamchatka, consequent upon the allurements of
the decoction of the fly-agaric, are well-known matters of history.

The true chemical character of this poison, however, was not discovered
until 1868, when it was successfully isolated by chemical analyses
of Drs. Vigier, Schmiedeberg, Currie, and Koppe, and ascertained to
be an alkaloid principle, to which was given originally the name of
bulbosine, since variously known as muscarine, and finally and most
appropriately amanitine.

[Sidenote: =Mr. Palmer's discovery=]

The poison thus identified, it was reserved to an American authority on
edible fungi, Mr. Julius A. Palmer, of Boston, to discover the fact of
its confinement to but one fungus family--the Amanita.

In the year 1879, in an article contributed by him to the _Moniteur
Scientifique_, of Paris, he states:

"Mushrooms are unfit for food by decay or other cause, producing simply
a disagreement with the system by containing some bitter, acrid,
or slimy element, _or by the presence of a wonderful and dangerous
alkaloid which is absorbed in the intestinal canal_. This alkaloid, so
far as known, is _found only in the Amanita family_."

To Mr. Palmer, then, is due the chemical segregation of the Amanita
group as the only repository of this deadly toxic.

[Sidenote: =Lesser poisoning=]

It has not been discerned in other species of fungi, whose so-called
"poisonous" effects are more often traceable to mere indigestibility,
the selection of "over-ripe" specimens, or to idiosyncrasy, rather than
to their distinctly poisonous properties.

Many mushrooms of other families which _do_ possess ingredients
chemically at war with the human system--as the _Russula emetica_ and
certain _Lactarii_, for instance--at least give a fair warning, either
by taste or odor, of their dark intentions.

[Sidenote: =Antidote for Amanita=]

[Sidenote: =First authentic application=]

Owing to the numerous deaths every year consequent upon
mushroom-eating, and nearly always directly traceable to the Amanita,
the discovery of an antidote to this poison has been the quest of many
noted chemists--several supposed antidotes having been experimented
with upon dogs and other animals without desired results. These
included atropine, the deadly crystalline alkaloid from the _Atropa
belladonna_. The earlier experiments upon animals with this drug
in Paris, as described by Dr. Gautier in 1884, while encouraging,
were not considered conclusive, but were sufficient to warrant the
suggestion that the treatment upon man might be effective. In a résumé
of the subject in the Philadelphia _Medical and Surgical Reporter_,
December, 1885, for the benefit of the medical practitioners who are
so frequently called upon to attend cases of mushroom poisoning,
Captain Charles McIlvaine recommended the administration of a dose of
atropine of from 0.05 to 0.0002 milligramme, and it was later reserved
for the same gentleman to witness the first authentic instance of the
application of this remedy in antagonism with the Amanita poison in the
human system. The report of this experience was afterwards published
(see Bibliography, No. 6), embodying also a complete and authentic
account of the symptoms and treatment of the cases by the attending
physician, Dr. J. E. Shadle, of Shenandoah, Pa., which account I
feel is appropriately included here, being in full sympathy with the
solicitous spirit of my pages. I therefore quote the statement of Dr.
Shadle for the benefit of those interested.

                    SHENANDOAH, PA., October 26, 1885.

  Mr. CHAS. MCILVAINE:

     MY DEAR SIR,--In compliance with your request, I
   take pleasure in submitting to your consideration the
   following report of five cases of toadstool-poisoning
   which recently came under my observation and treatment:

[Sidenote: =Amanita poisoning symptoms=]

     On Monday, August 31, at 10 A.M., I was hastily called
   to see a family, consisting of Mr. F., his wife, his
   mother-in-law, Mrs. R., and his brother-in-law, Thomas
   R., who, the messenger stated, were having "cramps in
   the bowels."

     Promptly responding to the call, I found them
   suffering from intense abdominal pains, nausea,
   vomiting, boneache, and feelings of distress in the
   _præcordial_ region.

     Mr. F., twenty-nine years of age, was a miner by
   occupation, and had led an intemperate life. Mrs. F.,
   twenty-two years of age, was a brunette, possessing
   a delicate body, and bearing a decided _neurotic_
   tendency. Mrs. R., forty-five years of age, was a small
   _nervo-bilious_ woman. Thomas R., thirteen years of age,
   was a youth well developed.

     While I was examining these patients, Mrs. B., forty
   years of age, a neighbor of the family, presented
   herself, manifesting in a milder degree the same
   symptoms. She was a tall, spare woman. Previous to their
   present attack of illness their general health was good;
   in none could signs of disease be traced.

     Picture to your mind five persons suffering from
   cholera morbus in its most aggravated form, and you
   will be enabled to form a pretty correct idea of what I
   beheld in the Faris residence on Monday morning, August
   31.

     That five individuals, four being members of one
   household, should be attacked simultaneously by a
   similar train of symptoms, naturally gave rise in my
   mind to a suspicion that something poisonous had been
   eaten. Upon close inquiry I obtained the following
   history:

     On the afternoon of Sunday, August 30, Mr. F. and
   Thomas R. were walking through a wood not far distant
   from their home, and, in wandering from place to place,
   found clusters of very beautiful toadstools growing
   abundantly under trees, among which the chestnut
   predominated.

[Sidenote: =Amanita poisoning symptoms=]

     Attracted by their appearance, and supposing them to
   be edible, they gathered a large quantity, with the
   anticipation of having a delicious dish for their Sunday
   evening meal.

     Various other kinds were growing in the same locality,
   but this particular variety impressed them as being the
   most inviting. A correct specimen of the _fungus_ they
   had collected having been sent you, I will leave its
   botanical description to your pen.

     At about nine o'clock, five hours after gathering
   them, Mrs. F. cooked three pints of the toadstools,
   stewing them in milk, and seasoning with butter, pepper,
   and salt.

     They had dinner at a very early hour on this day, and
   by the time they had supper all felt exceedingly hungry,
   in consequence of which they ate quite heartily. Mrs. F.
   and her brother vied with each other as to the quantity
   they could eat. In addition to this dish, bread and
   butter and coffee were served.

     Soon after supper the family retired. None experienced
   the least discomfort until towards daybreak, when
   considerable distress in the abdominal organs and
   cerebral disturbance manifested themselves. Prominent
   among the initial symptoms were foul breath, coated
   tongue, pain in the stomach, nausea, and a peculiar
   sickening sensation in the epigastrium. These symptoms
   gradually increased in severity, and in twelve hours
   after the ingestion of the poison, when I made my first
   visit, the condition of the victims involved great
   danger. Intense vomiting was present in four, while in
   Mrs. R.'s case a violent retching seemed to persist.

     Gastro-intestinal irritation, followed by a relaxed
   condition of the bowels, showed itself in about thirty
   hours after the onset of the more active symptoms. With
   the appearance of this trouble an insufferable tenesmus
   developed, producing paroxysms of severe agony. This
   was particularly true in the case of Mrs. R., whose
   suffering was so great that it became a formidable
   symptom to combat. Upon the subsidence of the more
   severe symptoms, the patients fell into a state of
   extreme prostration, accompanied by stupor and cold
   extremities. In the mother, son, and daughter this was
   profoundly marked. They were completely indifferent to
   persons and things around them, as well as to their own
   suffering.

[Sidenote: =Amanita poisoning symptoms=]

     As the symptoms increased in violence, Thos. R.
   advanced into a state of coma, and Mrs. F. into coma
   vigil, and remained so for about twelve hours prior to
   death. The face had a shrunken and wrinkled appearance,
   the eyes were sunken, the skin was dusky, and the
   surface of the body was dry and cold to the touch. The
   pulse, a number of hours before death, was imperceptible
   at the wrist, and the heart-sounds were scarcely
   perceived by auscultation.

     The pulse in all cases was notably affected, ranging
   from 120 to 140 per minute. In character it was soft and
   compressible; intermittent at intervals.

     There was a distinct rise of temperature; the
   thermometer in the axilla registered as much as 140° F.

     A mild form of delirium was an occasional event. In
   the case of Mrs. F. it formed an important element.

     Respecting the special senses, it is well to mention
   that sight was peculiarly affected. Notwithstanding the
   fact that the pupils responded kindly to the action
   of the light, an unpleasant sensation of blindness
   frequently appeared, and continued for a few minutes.

     In spite of all that was done to counteract its
   ravages, the effects of the poison were so extremely
   deadly that a fatal issue was the result in two cases.
   Thomas R. died in fifty-six and Mrs. F. in sixty-three
   hours after the ingestion of the toadstools.

     _Treatment._--The treatment instituted was mainly
   symptomatic.

[Sidenote: =Amanita poisoning treatment=]

     Fearing that undigested particles of toadstools
   might still be lying in the gastro-intestinal tract,
   to Mrs. R., who had not freely vomited, an emetic was
   administered, and to the rest a mild purge.

     An intense thirst and a burning sensation being
   present in the mouth, throat, and stomach, small pieces
   of cracked ice were freely used with a view to allaying
   it.

     For the gastro-intestinal irritation I prescribed with
   satisfactory results the following:

    ℞   Bismuth subnit., ʒv;
        Creosote, gtt. xv;
        Mucil. acaciæ, f℥i;
        Aq. menth. pip., q.s. ad f℥iii. M.
  Sig.--Teaspoonful every one or two hours.

     1/8 grain of morph. sulph. was administered
   hypodermically to alleviate as much as possible the
   abdominal suffering.

     The impending exhaustion and the failing heart's
   action I endeavored to combat with a free administration
   of alcoholic stimulants in combination with moderate
   doses of tincture of digitalis both by the mouth and
   under the skin.

     In order to invite the circulation of the blood to the
   ice-cold surface of the body, heated bricks and bottles
   filled with hot water were placed in bed around the
   patients.

[Sidenote: =Diagnosis=]

     Analyzing each symptom as it arose, and carefully
   observing the effects of the poison on the system, I
   formed the opinion that the toxic element contained in
   the noxious fungus eaten by these people was narcotic
   in its nature and spent its force on the nerve centres,
   especially selecting the one governing the function of
   respiration and the action of the heart.

     Acting upon this conclusion, I began, in the early
   part of my treatment, subcutaneous injections of
   sulphate of atropine in frequently-repeated doses,
   ranging from 1/180 to 1/90 grain. The injections
   invariably were followed by a perceptible improvement
   in the patient; the heart's action became stronger,
   the pulse returned at the wrist, and the respiration
   increased in depth and fulness.

     Through the agency of this remedy, supported by the
   other measures adopted, three (or sixty per cent.) of
   the patients recovered.

     The lessons I draw from this experience are:

     1. The poisoning produced by this variety of toadstool
        is slow in manifesting its effects.

     2. That it destroys life by a process of asthenia.

     3. That in atropine we have an antidote, and it should
        be pushed heroically from the earliest inception of
        the action of the poison.

     I have the honor to remain

                       Yours very respectfully,
                           J. E. SHADLE, M.D.

In reply to the queries, Was atropine administered in all the cases?
and What was the total amount administered to each? Dr. Shadle
responded as follows:

                              SHENANDOAH, PA., October 29, 1885.

   MY DEAR MR. MCILVAINE:

     Yours of the 27th I have received. The two questions
   you ask me therein I see are very important, and they
   should be answered as fully as possible. I am sorry I
   overlooked the matter in my report.

[Sidenote: =Amanitine and atropine=]

     Before attempting an answer, it is well for me to note
   right here that Mrs. B., the neighbor, did not eat very
   much of the toadstool stew; Mrs. R. and Mr. F. each ate
   about the same quantity--from one and one-half to two
   platefuls. This is according to Faris's statement. But
   the two fatal cases--Thomas R. and Mrs. F.--tried to see
   which could eat the most, and consequently got their
   full share of the poison. The cat mentioned before had
   about a tablespoonful of the broth, and they tell me she
   was very sick. Whether or not she died is not known.

     Now as to the treatment by atropine, I think I can
   approximate a pretty correct statement in reply to
   your queries. Not knowing that atropine was considered
   an antidote, I began its employment in the treatment
   of these cases from the physiological knowledge I had
   of the drug relative to its action in other diseases
   in which there was heart-failure and embarrassed
   respiration.

     When I saw the U. S. Dispensatory suggested it, I
   of course felt it my duty to use it, as I could find
   nowhere anything else mentioned as an antidote. I feel
   convinced that it was by means of the atropine that
   I saved three of the five patients. Why do I think
   so? Because whenever I would administer the remedy
   the patient rallied, the pulse returned at the wrist,
   the heart-sounds became stronger, and the respiration
   increased in strength and fulness. What more conclusive
   evidence do I want than this to show as to how the agent
   was acting?

[Sidenote: =Administration of antidote=]

     When I first saw the patients--twelve hours after the
   ingestion of the poison--their symptoms were alike, one
   suffering as much as the other (August 31). I began the
   use of the alkaloid in the evening of the same day, when
   I saw the powers of life giving way, the heart failing,
   and the respiration becoming shallow. It was used in all
   the cases as follows:

     Mrs. B., 1/180, 1/90, 1/90, or 5/180, or 1/36 gr.

     Mr. F., 1/180, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, or 7/180 gr.

     Mrs. R., 1/180, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, or 7/180 gr.

     Thos. R., 1/180, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, or 9/180, or
   1/20 gr.

     Mrs. F., 1/180, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, 1/90, or 9/180, or
   1/20 gr.

     In accordance with the above formulæ the drug was
   administered. I visited the patients at intervals of six
   or eight hours, and at each visitation they received an
   injection in the doses above mentioned. From this we see
   that in all Mrs. B. received gr. 1/36 of atropine; Mr.
   F. received gr. 7/180 of atropine; Mrs. R. received gr.
   7/180 of atropine; Thos R. (fatal) received gr. 1/20 of
   atropine; Mrs. F. (fatal) received gr. 1/20 of atropine.

     The alkaloid failing to save the two that died I think
   can be attributed to one of two causes, or probably both:

     1. That the use of atropine was begun too late and not
        used heroically enough.

     2. That so much of the poison was taken up by the
        system in these cases that it became too virulent
        to counteract.

     From the history of the cases I know they ate by far
   the largest quantity. My opinion leans towards the first
   probable cause I have mentioned.

     Another fact worth stating here is that the pupils
   never became affected by the administration of these
   doses.

     Hoping this will make the matter satisfactory, I remain

          Yours truly,          J. E. SHADLE.

The interval between the ingestion and the symptoms is, therefore, a
most important aid in the diagnosis of a case of mushroom poisoning;
and in the event of an Amanita, heretofore absolutely fatal, it is
presumably under the control of medical science, now that the deadly
toxic principle has at last found its enemy in the neutralizing
properties of the equally deadly atropine.

It would seem, moreover, from the severe personal experience of Mr.
Julius A. Palmer, that the poison of the Amanita is quite capable of
mischief without being taken into the digestive organs. So volatile is
this dangerous alkaloid that it may produce violent effects upon the
system either through its odor alone, or by simple contact with the
skin and consequent absorption.

Mr. Palmer, in his before-mentioned article in the _Moniteur
Scientifique_, Paris, relates the following experiences:

[Sidenote: =Poisons by contact and odor=]

"Once while perspiring from a long walk I undertook to bring in a large
bunch of the Amanita for an artist. Seated in a close car, holding
them in my warm hand, although protected by a paper wrapper, a fearful
nausea overcame me. The toadstool was not at first suspected, yet I had
all the symptoms of a sea-sick person, and was only relieved by a wide
distance between myself and the exciting cause.

"While writing this article," he continues, "a friend sent me two very
elegant specimens of the Amanita tribe. They were in a confined box. On
opening it I smelled of them a few times, and allowed the box to lie
near my desk while I wrote to a medical gentleman anxious to procure
such for chemical experiment. Having sent them away the matter was
dismissed from my mind for three hours after, when, by an attack of
vomiting and oppression at the stomach, they were enforced upon my
attention. The whites of my eyes became livid, and even until noon the
day following the leaden color of my face was noticed by more than one
person."

[Sidenote: =A wide berth to Amanita=]

The moral of this story is that the less the reader has to do with
Amanita fungi the better. Let them have a wide berth, or at most an
annihilating kick, lest by their alluring beauty they tempt the next
unwary traveller who shall encounter them.

But you desire a specimen "to show a friend," or "to make a photograph
of, or a sketch," perhaps. In such case it were well to consider
further the experiences of Mr. Palmer, which will show the wisdom of
keeping your gustatorial and artistic mycology in separate expeditions,
or at least of providing your poison-exhaling Amanita specimen with a
cage by itself. In the same article he continues:

[Sidenote: =Mushrooms inoculated by contact=]

"Mushrooms make the same use of the atmosphere as men, even their
exhalations are accordingly vitiated with their properties. Those not
deadly thus attack humanity--namely, by absorption of their essential
elements by the whole system. They also _inoculate each other_ with or
without contact, so that _if edible and noxious toadstools are gathered
together the former will absorb the properties of the latter_."

In proof of this assertion he instances a personal experience as
follows: "About four years ago a number of poisonous mushrooms (not
Amanitæ, but of a totally different family) were sent me with edible
fungus. The two varieties had lain twelve hours in the same box.
The noxious ones were rejected, and the esculent washed and eaten.
In a moment my appetite was gone; violent perspiration, vertigo, and
trembling were the next symptoms; then chills, nausea, purging, and
tenesmus, all within thirty minutes. Now the substance could not have
reached the intestines. The virus absorbed from the noxious fungus
permeated the whole system through eating the harmless ones; unmixed
with other food it acted upon the muscles through an empty stomach;
once spent, the ailment passed off," etc.

[Sidenote: =Poison extracted by vinegar=]

From these and other experiences he draws the following conclusions:
The poisonous principle of a fungus being absorbed by a harmless
element, if the latter be eaten the venom acts more quickly. In
reinforcement of this he states that "if the Amanita be cut in sections
and laid in vinegar the fungus may be eaten without danger to life; but
on a very small dose of the vinegar, death will follow more speedily
than if the whole toadstool be eaten." Further interesting matter upon
this topic is contained in the article from which I quote, and to which
the reader is referred in his volume included in my bibliographical
list. The work also contains numerous other collected articles of Mr.
Palmer's upon this subject of fungi, to which he has devoted so much
attention, and with which his name has become so popularly identified
in America.

[Sidenote: =Effect of salt and heat=]

The allusion to vinegar as an absorbent of the poison suggests the
prevalent habitual use of salt as a safeguard by many in the employment
of the fungus as food, as both of these ingredients play a prominent
part in a fungus cuisine. It is averred by some writers that one of the
most noxious of Amanitæ--the Fly-agaric--is eaten in some countries,
notably Russia, without unpleasant results, while it is confidently
asserted to be harmless after, as it were, having its venom drawn by
a soaking in brine previous to cooking. Boiling--both in the possible
neutralizing of the poison through heat, and in the withdrawal of the
same in the solution--would also be contributive to safety in such
cases, provided the tainted liquid were not retained as in a stew or
soup.

[Sidenote: =Epicurean perversity=]

On this topic it is interesting to note the epicurean perversity of a
certain French author, who, in the face of the already overwhelming
abundance of nature's esculent species of fungi, must needs include
all the deadly Amanitæ as well, though he gives a recipe by which the
poison is extracted by the copious aid of salt, vinegar, boiling water,
and drawing. This process, on general principles, might invite humorous
speculation as to the appetizing qualities of the residual morsel
thus acquired, or as to the advisability of deliberately selecting a
poisonous substance for the desideratum of the washed-out, corned,
spiced, nondescript remnant which survives the process of extraction,
not only of its noxious properties, but of even what nutriment it might
possibly contain.

[Sidenote: =Mushrooms à la mode=]

Fancy a beefsteak similarly "prepared," all its nourishing ingredients
extracted and thrown away; its exhausted remnant of muscular fibre now
the mere absorbent vehicle for vinegar, salt, lemon-juice, butter,
nutmeg, garlic, spice, cloves, and other seeming indispensables to the
preparation of the Champignon _à la mode_!

The verdict of the extreme fungus epicure upon the delectable flavor
of this or that mushroom must indeed be taken _cum grano salis_, the
customary culinary treatment, or maltreatment, of these delicately
flavored fruits having for its apparent object the elimination as far
as possible of any suggestion of the true flavor of the fungus. I
fancy that even the caustic, rebellious root of the Indian-turnip or
the skunk-cabbage thus tamed and subdued in a smothering emollient of
spiced gravy or ragoût might negatively serve a purpose as more or less
indigestible pabulum.

[Sidenote: =Enough without Amanita=]

While, as already mentioned, a few of this genus Amanita are edible,
it is well in concluding our chapter to emphasize the caution of an
earlier page as to the absolute exclusion of the entire genus from
the bill of fare of the amateur mycophagist. There is an abundance of
wholesome, delicious fungi at our doors without them.

Many species of Amanita are to be found more or less frequently in
company with the esculent varieties recommended in the chapters
following. Among these the two extremes of variation from the typical
form are seen in the _A. muscarius_ in its permanent retention of the
volva scales and the obscurity of its cup, and in the _A. phalloides_,
herewith pictured about half natural size, with the frequent _entire
absence_ of these remnant scales, which wither and fall off, leaving
the yellowish or greenish cap perfectly smooth.

It is to the _volva_ or _cup_, then, that we must turn for the one
fixed permanent character by which this genus is to be identified.

[Illustration: AMANITA PHALLOIDES]

[Illustration: Agaricini or Gill-bearing Fungi]



[Illustration: Agarics]

Our introductory description of the Amanita presents the most
perfect botanical type of a large division of the fungus tribe, the
_Agaricaceæ_, or gill-bearing mushrooms, one of the two great orders of
fungi which include the large majority of edible species.

A brief consideration of the general classification of fungi will not
be out of place at the head of this chapter.


CLASSIFICATION OF FUNGI

A fungus is a cellular cryptogamous (flowerless) plant, nourished
through its spawn or mycelium in place of roots, living in air, and
propagated by spores.

Fungi--_mycetes_--are naturally subdivided into two great divisions:

1. SPORIFERA--those in which the spores or reproductive bodies are
_naked_ or soon exposed, as shown in illustration on page 79.

2. SPORIDIIFERA--in which the spores are _enveloped_ in sacs or _asci_.
These resemble in shape the _cystidium_ of illustration on page 79.

The first of these divisions--the SPORIFERA, or naked-spored fungi--is
again subdivided into four families, as follows:

1. _Hymenomycetes._ Hymenium, or spore-bearing surface, _exposed_
and conspicuous, as seen in the common mushroom and all Agarics and
Polyporei.

2. _Gasteromycetes_ (_gaster_, a belly). Hymenium, or spore-bearing
surface, _enclosed_ in a more or less spherical case, called the
peridium, which ruptures and expels the spores at maturity in the form
of dust, as in the puff-balls.

3. _Coniomycetes_, from the Greek κωνἱς, meaning dust, the entire
fungus having a _dust-like_ appearance. Mildew forms a good example of
this family.

4. _Hyphomycetes_, from the Greek ὑφα, meaning a thread. _Thread-like_
fungi, the filaments being more conspicuous than the spore masses, of
which group blue-mould affords an illustration.

[Illustration]

The Hymenomycetes (1) is again subdivided into six orders, the
discrimination being based on the diverse character of the spore
surface. The first of these orders is the _Agaricini_, or gill-bearing
fungi, to which our present chapter will be confined.


AGARICINI

In this order the hymenium, or spore-bearing surface, is inferior,
_i.e._, on the under side of the pileus, and is spread over lamellæ or
gills, which radiate from the stem of the fungus, and each of which may
be separated into two filmy flat divisions.

[Illustration: SPORE-SURFACE MAGNIFIED]

On the opposite page is shown an Agaric in vertical section, disclosing
a full side view of the gills. A highly magnified view of this
gill-surface is indicated herewith, duly indexed, the sporophore being
shown in the act of shedding its spores from their points of attachment
to the four stigmata at the summit. These fruitful four-pointed
sporophores or basidia are intermingled with the cystidia and sterile
cells, the whole mass forming the surface of the hymenium. The
dissemination of the Agaric is further considered in a later chapter on
"Spore-prints."

The most perfect botanical type of the Agarics is the Amanita, already
sufficiently dwelt upon.

We will now proceed to the consideration of other examples in which
the symbol of the fatal cup is happily absent, and whose identities as
esculent species are clearly denoted by individual characteristics.



EDIBLE AGARICS


MEADOW MUSHROOM

_Agaricus campestris_

[Sidenote: ="The" mushroom=]

[Sidenote: =Description of Campestris=]

Perhaps the one species which enjoys the widest range of popular
confidence as the "mushroom" in the lay mind, as distinguished from
"toadstool," is the _Agaricus campestris_, known as the "meadow
mushroom" (Plate 5). It is the species commonly exposed in our markets.
Its cultivation is an important industry, but it often yields an
enormous spontaneous harvest in its native haunts. The plate shows a
cluster of the mushrooms in their various stages of development, the
detached specimen below representing the semi-opened condition in which
the fungus is usually gathered for market. It will be observed that
the base of the stem is _entirely free from any suggestion of a volva
or cup_. As its popular name implies, this species in its wild state
is one of the voluntary tributes of our late summer and autumn meadows
and pastures, though it may occasionally frequent lawns, shrubberies,
and barn-yards. In size it varies from two to three and a half inches
across the pileus or cap, which is either smooth or slightly rough,
scaly, or scurfy, and creamy white or tawny in color, according to age
or variety. The most important distinguishing feature of this species
is the color of the gills. If we break away the "veil" in the unopened
specimen, we find them to be of a pallid flesh tint. In the more
advanced state they become decidedly pinkish, with age and expansion
gradually deepening to purplish, purple-brown, and finally brownish
black. The gills are of unequal lengths, as shown in the section. The
stem is creamy white and of solid substance, and always shows the
remains of the veil in a persistent frill or ring just beneath the cap.

[Illustration: Agaricus campestris]

_PLATE V_


"THE MUSHROOM"

_Agaricus campestris_

     =Pileus:= At first globular, its edge connected to
        stem by the veil; then round convex, at length
        becoming possibly almost flat. Surface dry, downy,
        or even quite scaly, varying in color from creamy
        white to light brown. Diameter at full expansion,
        about three inches.

     =Gills:= Unequal in length; pink when first revealed,
        becoming brownish, brown, purplish, and finally
        almost black.

     =Stem:= Solid; of the color of the cap; paler and
        white in section, retaining the remnant of the veil
        in a permanent ragged ring.

     =Spores:= Brown.

     =Taste:= Sweet and inviting, and odor agreeable.

     =Habitat:= Pastures, lawns, and open rich soil
        generally.

     =Season:= Late summer and early autumn, occasionally
        in spring.

[Illustration: PLATE V AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS.]

[Sidenote: =Cultivation of mushrooms=]

Doubtless a sufficient and satisfactory reason for the universal
dignity which this species has acquired as "the mushroom" may be found
in the fact that it is the only species prominently under cultivation,
and almost the only one which is sure to respond to the artificial
cultivation of its spawn in the so-called "mushroom bed." The "spawn"
of the Campestris has thus become a mercantile commodity, duly
advertised in the seedsmen's catalogues.

[Sidenote: =Mushroom "spawn" bed=]

This so-called spawn is in truth nothing but the mycelium, or
subterranean vine of the mushroom (see Plate 2), taken from the beds
in which the mushrooms have been grown, or in which the mycelium has
been cultivated. The cultivator simply prepares a "bed" to receive
it--duplicating as far as possible the soil conditions from which it
was taken, whether from foreign cultivation or his old manure-bed or
stable-yard--a rich, warm compost of loam and horse-manure, this latter
ingredient being a most important consideration, as the fungus in its
several varieties, notably the larger, _Agaricus arvensis_, known as
the "horse-mushroom," has followed the track of the horse around
the world. These natural conditions having been even approximately
fulfilled, will, within two months, generally reward the cultivator
with a crop of mushrooms, which, with the continued ramifications of
the mycelium permeating the muck as the yeast fungus permeates the
home-made loaf, will insure a continual succession of crops for weeks
or months, to be renewed spontaneously, perhaps, the following season.

The present volume, having specific reference to fungi in their wild
state, and the celebration of their esculent virtues, being thus
essentially in antithesis to artificial culture, further consideration
of the cultivation of the mushroom is omitted. The reader is referred
to the volumes in my bibliographical list, Nos. 8 and 22, in which full
instructions will be found.

[Sidenote: =Species opposed to cultivation=]

[Sidenote: =Certain exceptions=]

The Campestris is conspicuous among mushrooms in its ready
accommodation to artificial imitation of its native environment. There
is no other mushroom which is thus confidently to be relied on. Other
species--not a dozen, however, out of the thousands--will occasionally
reward the cultivator, who has devoted the most scrupulous care to the
humoring of their fastidious conditions of growth. Thus the _Agaricus
candicans_ of the Italian markets is said to have been successfully
raised from chips of the white poplar which have been properly covered
with manure. Other species, it is claimed, can be humored from a block
of the cob-nut tree after singeing its surface over burned straw, while
Dr. Thore claims that both _Boletus edulis_, and _Agaricus procerus_
are "constantly raised by the inhabitants of his district from a watery
infusion of said plants poured upon the ground." The truth of these
statements has been denied by authorities, and individual experiment
will only tend to discredit their trustworthiness. In general the
mushroom or toadstool absolutely refuses to be "coaxed or cajoled."
The mycelium of all is practically identical; but species such as the
Coprinus, for instance, which are perhaps found growing naturally in
company with the Campestris, and whose spawn is similarly transplanted
to the artificial environment, will show no sign of reappearance, while
its fellow may literally crowd the bed.

[Sidenote: =Not to be humored=]

The "fairy-ring" mushroom grows year after year upon our lawn,
because its mycelium is continually present, simply threading its way
outwardly, inch by inch, in the congenial surrounding soil. Instances
are reported of the occasional successful establishment of this
mushroom in new quarters by the transfer of a clod of earth threaded
with mycelium taken from the "fairy-ring" to another lawn, in which the
immediate soil conditions happened to be harmonious, and this method
of actual transference of the spawn might occasionally be effectual.
But the writer, in his limited number of experiments, has never yet
been able to propagate a mushroom by a transfer of the _spores_ to soil
where the conditions would appear to be exactly suitable. On a certain
lawn, for instance, every year I obtain a number of the _Coprinus
comatus_ (Plate 16). Upon another lawn, apparently exactly similar
as to soil conditions, I transfer the melting mushroom where it
sheds its inky spore-solution upon the earth, and yet, after years of
waiting, there is no response. Even an absolute transfer of the webby
spawn from the original haunt has proven equally without result. Thus
while the habitual fungus-hunter comes to recognize a certain logical
association between a given character of natural haunt and some certain
species of fungi--a prophetic suspicion often immediately fulfilled--as
when he inwardly remarks, as he comes upon an open, clear spot in the
woods, "This is an ideal haunt for the green Russula," and instantly
stumbles upon his specimen; yet he may take the pallid spawn, with a
small clod of earth from its roots, and place it in the mould not ten
feet distant, apparently in identically auspicious conditions, and it
absolutely refuses to be humored. He may mark the spot, and look in
vain in its precincts for a decade for his Russula, though the ground
in the vicinity be dotted with them.

[Sidenote: =Dormant spores=]

Year after year I have thrown my refuse specimens of hundreds of
species of fungi out of my studio window, over the piazza rail or upon
my lawn, yet never with the slightest sign that one of the millions of
spores in the species thus sown has vegetated.

Considering the ready accommodation of the Campestris, the contrast
of the fastidiousness in other species is a notable phenomenon. As a
rule, "they will not colonize; they will not emigrate; they will not be
cheated out of their natural possessions: they refuse to be educated,
and stand themselves upon their single leg, as the most independent and
contrary growth with which man has to deal."

[Illustration: PLATE VI. VARIATIONS IN AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS]

[Sidenote: =Varieties of the Campestris=]

The Campestris is probably the most protean of all mushrooms, and
mycologists are even yet at odds as to the proper botanical disposition
of many of the contrasting varieties which it assumes. A few of these
are indicated in Plate 6. Indeed, some of these, as in the _Agaricus
arvensis_, following, have until quite recently figured as distinct
species. In its extreme form it might well so do, but when science
is confronted with an intermediate specimen bearing equal affinities
to the Campestris and Arvensis--and perhaps reinforced by other
individuals which actually merge completely into the Campestris--the
discrimination of the Arvensis as a distinct species becomes
impossible, and would hardly seem warrantable.

Berkeley gives the following selection of the more distinct varieties,
not including the Arvensis with _its_ variations, and which he
considers a distinct species:

     1. The so-called "garden mushroom," with its brownish,
   hairy, scaly cap.

     2. _A. pratensis_, in which the pileus is more or less
   covered with reddish scales, and the flesh as well as
   gills a pinkish tinge.

     3. _A. villaticus_, large size and very scaly.

     4. _A. silvicola_, pileus smooth and shining, stem
   elongated and conspicuously swollen at base; often found
   in woods.

     5. _A. vaporarius_, brown pilose coat which covers the
   stem as well as the cap, and leaves streaky fragments on
   the stalk as it elongates.

     6. He also figures another marked form, with the
   cap of a reddish color, completely covered with a
   pilose coat; the gills being perfectly white in young
   specimens, and the flesh turning bright red when bruised.

     Any one of the above, he admits, are as much entitled
   to classification as "distinct species" as the Arvensis.

[Sidenote: =The "horse" mushroom=]

The application of the title "horse-mushroom" to this last-mentioned
species was generally supposed to be referable to the same popular
traditions of which we see the analogies in the names horse-weed,
horse-nettle, horse-balm, horseradish among the herbs--the prefix
"horse" referring to the element of coarseness or rank growth. But
in the instance of the mushroom it bears a deeper significance, as
this ample cosmopolitan variety of the Campestris, which follows the
horse all over the world, from stable and through lane to pasture, and
which can only be grown in the manure of this animal, is now generally
believed to be a secondary, exaggerated form consequent upon the
following conditions:

The spores of the Campestris are shed in myriads in the pastures. The
grazing horse no doubt swallows thousands of them, which, upon their
return to the soil under especially favorable conditions for growth,
vegetate into mycelium, and at length fructify in the full-formed
mushroom. The dense white spawn of this species may often be seen
beneath the manure in pastures where no sign of the mushroom itself is
yet apparent.

[Sidenote: =A huge variety=]

During the writing of the present pages I have received from Arizona a
letter accompanied with a sketch of a most astonishing mushroom, which
my correspondent finds plentifully prevalent in his vicinity, growing
in arid sand, even in an exceptionally dry season. He claims that
"it is deliciously edible," and he has partaken of it several times.
His sketch and description call to mind no existing form of mushroom
known to me, though from one peculiarity in particular--namely, its
frequently enormous size, "occasionally ten inches in diameter"--one
would naturally expect to find it at least notorious, if not famous.

It is plainly an Agaric related to the Campestris, and from the fact
of its having "pink gills darker in older specimens" I suspect it to
be simply another local masquerade of this same Campestris, which
suspicion, by the receipt of further data, I hope soon to verify.


HORSE-MUSHROOM

_Agaricus arvensis_

[Sidenote: =Description of Arvensis=]

This other and larger variety, so readily confounded with the
Campestris, demands further and more detailed description. It may
frequently be found growing in company with the former, and so closely
do the two kinds merge in specimens of equal size that it is often a
puzzle to separate the species. Indeed, as already mentioned by some
mycologists, the larger form is considered merely as a variety of the
Campestris. The accompanying plate (5) may well serve as a portrait
of this species also. It frequents the same localities as the former,
and is occasionally seen crowded in clusters of crescent shape, or in
scattered rings, while its size is generally conspicuous, the solid
cream-colored or white cap often expanding to the diameter of seven
inches. Its substance discolors to yellowish brown on being bruised.
The stem is less solid than in Campestris, often with a pithlike or
even hollow heart. The gills are of unequal length, as in the former
species, though of much the same tints of pink and brown and black,
though more dingy in the lighter shades. The veil is often more
conspicuous, and occasionally appears to be double, the outer or lower
more or less ragged or split into a fringe at the edge. The species can
hardly be mistaken for any poisonous variety, and, once recognized,
its generous size, frequent profusion, and savory qualities make it a
tempting quest to the epicure, being considered by many as superior in
flavor to its rival, the smaller Campestris.

[Sidenote: =In matters of taste=]

But this question of gastronomic prestige will perhaps never be finally
settled. _De gustibus non est disputandum._ Species considered here by
many as the _ne plus ultra_ of delicacies, like the Campestris, are
discriminated against in other countries, and in Rome, it is said,
are even thrown into the Tiber by inspectors and guardians of the
public health who find it exposed for sale in the markets. There are
those connoisseurs in delicate feasting who consider no other species
comparable to this. These fastidious gourmands are in turn viewed with
pitying consideration by other superior epicurean feeders with finer
sensuous discrimination, who know perfectly well that our woods afford
a number of common species which easily consign the Campestris to the
fourth or fifth choice as a competitor at the feast.

The arts of the chef have been exhausted in the savory preparation of
this, the most famous of the mushrooms. A few of his ingenious methods
are given in a later chapter. Meanwhile most of us will be perfectly
contented with our simple "mushrooms on toast."

While the Campestris is generally considered as "the" mushroom, there
is another species which almost equally shares the honors in popular
favor.

I have alluded to the habit of the horse-mushroom as "growing in
crescents or rings." This singular tendency is, however, much more
fully exemplified in another fungus, which has thus won the popular
patronymic of the "Fairy-ring" Champignon, and which is considered on
page 101.


ST. GEORGE'S MUSHROOM

_Agaricus gambosus_

[Sidenote: =Remarkably strong odor=]

Another very common example of mushroom in its season of early spring
is the _Agaricus gambosus_, or St. George's mushroom, as it is
popularly styled in Great Britain, from its usual appearance about
the time of St. George's Day, April 23d. In addition to its unusually
early season, which is the same with us, and which at this date would
be a valuable hint in its identification, it has also the singular
habit of growing in rings or clustered in crescents, after the manner
of the Fairy-ring Champignon of our lawns. Add to this, also, a very
strong odor, and we have at least three suggestive characteristics
to aid us. This odor, according to Dr. Cooke, is so strong as to
occasionally become oppressive and overpowering where the fungus is
plentiful. Workmen employed to root them out are said to have been so
overcome by the odor as to be compelled to desist. Other features of
this fungus are noted in Plate 7. The cap varies in size in different
individuals, but is occasionally very large--five inches or more in
diameter, the average expanse, perhaps, being about three inches. The
cap is smooth, thick, and fleshy, suggesting soft kid leather, at
first rounded convex, ultimately expanding quite horizontally, and is
commonly fissured here and there with irregular cracks, both in its
expanse and at its edges. Its color is white, or yellowish white. In
surface appearance Dr. Berkeley compared it to a "cracknel biscuit."
The gills are yellowish white, very moist and densely crowded, and of
various lengths, as indicated in my sectional drawing on the plate, and
are, moreover, annexed to the solid stout stem by a toothed border,
also shown herewith.

[Illustration: TOOTHED GILLS]

[Sidenote: =Epicurean opinions=]

The season of this mushroom extends into June, and in its favorite
haunt it may occasionally be gathered by the bushel. Opinions are at
variance as to the comparative esculent qualities of this species.
Certainly delicacy cannot be claimed for it; but those epicures who
desire the characteristic _fungus flavor_ at its maximum will find it
in the Gambosus.

[Illustration: _Agaricus gambosus_]

_PLATE VII_


     ST. GEORGE'S MUSHROOM

     =Agaricus gambosus=

     =Pileus:= Three to six inches in diameter,
        occasionally much larger; rounded convex, at length
        more flat and commonly cracked here and there;
        surface smooth, thick, and fleshy, suggesting soft
        kid leather. Color, pale ochre or yellowish white.

     =Gills:= Densely crowded; yellowish white; very moist;
        various lengths; each annexed to stem by a small
        sharp downward curve.

     =Stem:= Solid; stout; substance creamy white.

     =Spores:= White.

     =Taste:= Highly flavored; by some considered "too
        gamy."

     =Odor:= Powerfully strong, perhaps rank.

     =Habitat:= Fields, lawns, and pastures, frequently
        growing in broken rings or crescents.

[Illustration: PLATE VII AGARICUS GAMBOSUS.]

By many fungus-feasters this species is prized as the _ne plus ultra_,
and most various are the methods of its culinary preparation, either in
the form of mince and fricassee with various meats, suitably seasoned
with salt, pepper, and butter, or simply broiled and served on buttered
toast. An appetizing recipe for this especial mushroom is given on page
313.


TRUE FAIRY-RING CHAMPIGNON

_Marasmius oreades_

[Sidenote: =Fairy-ring mushrooms true and false=]

I remember, as a boy, summer after summer observing upon a certain
spot upon our lawn this dense, and at length scattering, ring of tiny
yellowish mushrooms, and the aroma, as they simmered on the kitchen
stove, is an appetizing memory. This species is very common, and
inasmuch as it is likely to be confounded with two noxious varieties,
it is advisable to bring in prominent contrast the characters of the
true and the false.

The true Fairy-ring Champignon is pictured in Plate 8. It is common
on lawns and close-cropped pastures, where it is usually seen growing
in rings more or less broken, and often several feet in diameter, or
in disconnected arcs, the vegetation extending outward year by year.
This mushroom is held in great esteem, and frequently grows in such
profusion that bushels may be gathered in a small area.

[Sidenote: ="True" fairy-ring=]

The pileus is buff or cream colored, from one to two inches in
diameter, leathery and shrivelled when dry, but when moist, after rain
or dew, becoming brownish, soft, and pliable, the conditions perhaps
alternating for several days; the skin refuses to be peeled, and in
the older, fully opened specimens the centre of the cap is raised in a
distinct tiny _mound_; gills, _widely separated_, about ten or twelve
to the inch at circumference in average specimens, same color as cap,
or paler, unequal in length, curving upward on reaching stem, thus
"_free_" from apparent contact with it; stem, equal diameter, tough,
fibrous, and tenacious, paler than gills, smooth to the base (_no
spines nor down_); cup, none; spores, white; _taste nutty_, _somewhat
aromatic_, _appetizing_; habitat usually on lawns or pastures.

[Sidenote: =Traditions of the mystic "ring"=]

The "ring" was long involved in mystery, being attributed to moles,
lightning, witchcraft, etc.; and, clothed with popular superstition,
has found its way into many folk-legends, and has figured in the
lore of elfs and goblins, to whom, in the absence of scientific
knowledge, the strange, fungus-haunted circle was referred, the "ring"
being applied not merely to the circle of mushrooms themselves,
but especially to the clearly defined ring of clear, fresh grass
surrounding the central, more faded area. But the fairies no longer
dance their moonlight rigadoon upon the charmed circle of the
champignon, nor do the nimble elves "rear their midnight mushrooms"
upon the rings of lush grass as of old, for science has stepped in and
cleared up the mystery. The Rev. M. J. Berkeley, in his _Outlines to
British Fungology_, thus completely rescues the "fairy-ring" from the
domain of poetry and reduces it to prosaic fact:

[Illustration: _Marasmius oreades_]

_PLATE VIII_


      FAIRY RING CHAMPIGNON

     =Marasmius oreades=

     =Pileus:= Convex at first, becoming flat, with a mound
        at centre, at juncture of stem; texture, tough and
        pliable when moist, brittle in drying, alternating
        between these two conditions with rain and sun;
        color, reddish buff at first, becoming cream
        colored when old, when it is usually quite wrinkled.

     =Gills:= Broad, and quite separated; about ten or
        twelve to the inch at rim in large specimens;
        unequal in length; deep cream color; clearing the
        stem as they curve upward towards cap.

     =Stem:= Solid; equal diameter; tough and fibrous;
        naked and smooth at base.

     =Spores:= White.

     =Taste:= Sweet, "nutty," and appetizing.

     =Odor:= Aromatic and pleasant.

     =Habitat:= Pastures and lawns, generally growing in
        rings or curved lines.

     Diameter of pileus, full expansion, one to two inches.

[Illustration: PLATE VIII MARASMIUS OREADES.]

[Sidenote: =The "ring" explained=]

"These rings are sometimes of very ancient date, and attain such
enormous dimensions as to be distinctly visible on a hill-side for
a great distance. It is believed that they originate from a single
fungus whose growth renders the soil immediately beneath unfit for
its reproduction. The spawn, however, spreads all around, and in the
second year produces a crop, whose spawn spreads again, the exhausted
soil behind forbidding its return in that direction. Thus the circle
is continually increased, and extends indefinitely till some cause
intervenes to destroy it. If the spawn does not spread on all sides at
first, an arc of a circle only is produced. The manure arising from the
dead fungi of former years makes the grass peculiarly vigorous around,
so as to render the circle visible even when there is no external
appearance of fungus, and the contrast is often stronger from that
behind being killed by the old spawn. This mode of growth is far more
common than is supposed, and may be observed constantly in our woods,
where the spawn can spread only in the soil or among the leaves and
decaying fragments which cover it."

[Sidenote: =Various recipes=]

Many recipes are recommended for the preparation of this mushroom,
some of which are given in a later chapter, including the method of
desiccation so commonly employed with other species, and by which the
champignon may be kept for ready use throughout the winter months.

In its fresh state, according to J. M. Berkeley, "When of good size
and quickly grown, it is perhaps the best of all fungi for the table,
whether carefully fried or stewed with an admixture of finely mixed
herbs and a minute portion of garlic. It is at the same time tender and
easy of digestion, and when once its use is known and its character
ascertained, no species may be eaten with less fear. It is so common in
some districts that bushels may be gathered in a day."


FALSE OR POISON CHAMPIGNON

_Marasmius urens_

There are two other species of mushroom which might possibly be
mistaken for the above by the casual eye, but which are easily
distinguishable on careful examination. The first of these is the
false Champignon (Plate 9, fig. 1). The most important distinguishing
features are italicized. They will be seen to afford a striking
contrast to the true edible species in these especial characters.

The pileus is pale buff, convex, central mound absent; the cap varies
from one-half to one and a half inches in diameter, and is thus
slightly smaller than the "true" fairy-ring; gills, yellowish brown,
narrow, and _crowded_, twenty-five or more to the inch at circumference
in good specimen, curving upward at junction with stem, thus "free"
from actual attachment; stem, solid, clothed with _whitish down_,
especially noticeable at the base; cup, none; _taste, acrid_. This
last quality alone should distinguish the species, which, moreover,
usually grows in _woods_, though occasionally found upon the lawn in
association with the edible species.

[Illustration: _Marasmius urens  Marasmius peronatus_]

_PLATE IX_


     POISONOUS CHAMPIGNONS

     =Marasmius urens=

     =Pileus:= Pale buff in color; tough and fleshy; flat
        convex, becoming depressed and at length wrinkled;
        one to two inches in diameter.

     =Gills:= Unequal, cream colored, becoming brownish;
        much closer together than in the true Champignon,
        hardly reaching the stem proper.

     =Stem:= Solid; fibrous; pale, its surface more or less
        covered with white, flocculent down, and densely
        clothed with white down at base.

     =Taste:= Acrid.

     =Habitat:= Lawns and pastures, often in association
        with the edible _M. oreades_.

     =Marasmius peronatus=

     =Pileus:= Reddish buff; convex slightly flattened at
        top, becoming convex by expansion; very wrinkled
        when old; diameter, at full expansion, between one
        and two inches.

     =Gills:= Thin and crowded; creamy, becoming light
        reddish brown, continuing slightly down stem by a
        short, abrupt curve.

     =Stem:= Solid; fibrous; pale, densely clothed with
        stiff yellow hairs at base.

     =Taste:= Acrid.

     =Habitat:= In woods, among dead leaves, etc.

[Illustration: PLATE IX POISONOUS CHAMPIGNONS. MARASMIUS URENS. M.
PERONATUS.]


POISONOUS FAIRY-RING MUSHROOM

_Marasmius peronatus_

The other false species (Plate 9, fig. 2) still more closely simulates
the "fairy-ring," but may be identified by the growth of _spines_ at
the base of the stalk. The gills are also _annexed to the stalk_ by a
small, sharp, _recurved tooth_. Like the previous spurious species, it
is found in _woods_, and is rarely to be seen in association with the
true Champignon or in its peculiar haunt.


THE PASTURE MUSHROOM

_Agaricus (Lepiota) procerus_

[Sidenote: =Description=]

One of the most readily recognized of our wild mushrooms is the
pasture or parasol Agaric (_Agaricus procerus_), a cluster of which in
various stages of development is shown in Plate 10. It is frequently
abundant in pasture-lands, and is occasionally found in woods. Its
conspicuous cap sometimes measures six inches or more in diameter,
the centre being abruptly raised in a mound. The pileus is at first
egg-shaped. The color of the full specimen is pale-brown or buff,
more or less spotted with darker brown shaggy patches, generally
arranged in somewhat concentric order. The skin of the cap is thick
and somewhat tough, especially in drying. The gills are almost pure
white in early specimens, slightly creamy later, and unequal in length.
Stem, often six or eight inches high, proportionately slender, and of
equal diameter, bulbous at base, but without a cup, hollow, fibrous,
finely speckled or streaked with brown, and deeply inserted in the cap,
at which juncture, by a narrow flat space, as shown in the section
drawing below, it is _distinctly free_ from contact with the gills. The
remnants of the veil are in the form of a more or less detachable ring
encircling the stem. The spores are white and odorous. The flavor, when
raw, is distinctly nutty, aromatic, sweet, and palatable; when dry,
slightly pungent.

[Illustration]

[Sidenote: =Simple recipe=]

This species is cosmopolitan, and is a great favorite on the
Continent--in France being known as the _Coulemelle_, in Italy as
_Bubbola maggiore_, and in Spain as _Cogomelos_. It is by many
considered as the choicest of all mushrooms, and is indeed a delicious
morsel when quickly broiled over coals, seasoned to taste with salt
and pepper and butter melted in the gills, and served hot on buttered
toast. Other recipes are noted in a later chapter. The scurfy spots and
stems should be removed before cooking.

[Illustration: _Agaricus procerus_]

_PLATE X_


     THE PASTURE MUSHROOM

     =Agaricus procerus=

     =Pileus:= At first egg-shaped, finally expanded like a
        parasol four to seven inches in diameter, the apex
        raised in a prominent mound or "umbo." Color pale
        buff or creamy, occasionally almost pure white,
        more or less regularly spotted with the brown
        shaggy patches of the separating epidermis, which
        remains of the pale brown color on the "umbo." Skin
        thick and somewhat tough; substance hygrometric,
        drying and swelling naturally in its haunts.

     =Gills:= Unequal in length; crowded; at first almost
        white, finally becoming creamy or pale buff.

     =Stem:= Tall, slender, equal, hollow, and fibrous;
        bulbous at base, but with no sign of a "cup;"
        separated from the gills above by a distinct space;
        surface streaked and speckled with brown, encircled
        by a loose ring.

     =Spores:= White, and, like the whole plant, fragrant
        aromatic--more so, perhaps, than any other fungus.

     =Taste:= Distinctly sweet and "nutty," slightly
        pungent when dry.

     =Habitat:= Pastures and fields, occasionally woods.

     =Season:= Summer.

PLATE X

[Illustration: Agaricus Procerus.]

[Sidenote: =Hygrometric properties=]

This species is especially free from the swarming grubs too commonly
found in mushrooms. It is highly hygrometric, dries naturally even
while standing in the pasture, in which condition it is decidedly
aromatic in fragrance and nutty sweet to the taste, as described.
Indeed, it is sometimes called "the nut mushroom." Absorbing moisture
from the dews and rains, it again becomes pulpy and enlarged, thus
alternating for days between its juicy and dry condition, in which
latter state it may be gathered and kept for winter use. It is a
palatable morsel at all times, but especially in the prime of its
first expansion, each successive alternation, with its gradual loss of
spores, affecting its full flavor.


THE RUSSULA GROUP

[Sidenote: =Generic characters=]

Among the wild species of mushrooms which the novice might possibly
mistake for the common "mushroom" of the markets--which is popularly
supposed to be the _only edible_ variety, as distinguished from
"toadstools"--is the Russula group. They are extremely frequent in our
woods from spring to late autumn, and have many features in common.
Their caps vary in color from a gray-green, suggesting cheese-mould, to
olive-red, scarlet-red, and purplish. The gills are generally of the
same length, or practically so, occasionally double-branched, beginning
at the stem and usually extending to the rim of the cap, at which
portion they are covered by the mere skin of the pileus, a slightly
fluted appearance being observable from above, which indicates the
location of the radiating laminæ below (Plate 12, fig. 6).

The stem may be white or cream-colored, or perhaps stained or mottled
with the color of the cap.

[Sidenote: =Principal species=]

There are at least four of these edible Russulæ that we are certain of
meeting in our walks in the woods: The green Russula (_R. virescens_),
with its mottled cap of mouldy or sage green; the various-gilled
Russula (_R. heterophylla_), varying in the lengths of its gill plates;
the purple Russula (_R. lepida_), whose cap varies from bright red to
dull purple; and the red Russula (_R. alutacea_), which presents a
variety of shades of red, from bright to dull. Having once identified
the Russula as a group, or the common characteristics of the genus, we
may take our pick from all of these delicious species for the table;
but we must avoid one other member of the genus, also quite common, and
which frequently masquerades in the guise of some of the bright red
varieties above mentioned. This is the _R. emetica_, whose obnoxious
qualities are indicated by its classical surname, and which will be
separately considered.

[Illustration: RUSSULA VIRESCENS

(Showing mottled cap of occasional specimen, and variations in gills. 1
even; 2 forked; 3 dimidiate.)]

THE GREEN RUSSULA

_Agaricus (Russula) virescens_

[Sidenote: =Specific characters=]

Our first species, the green Russula, is to be found throughout the
summer in hard-wood groves, and is apt to frequent the same immediate
locality from year to year. I know one such veritable mushroom bed in
the woods near by, where I am almost certain of my mess of Russulæ
almost any day in their season. This species is shown in its various
stages of development and also in section in Plate 11. Its substance
is _firm_ and solid _creamy white_. The pileus, at first almost
hemispherical, as it pushes its way through the earth, at length
becomes convex, with a slight hollow at the centre, and later ascends
in a gentle slope from centre to rim. Its color is sage green, or
mouldy green, usually quite unbroken in tint at centre, but more or
less disconnected into spots as it approaches the circumference by
the gradual expansion of the cap, the creamy undertint appearing like
network between the separated patches of color. The substance of the
cap becomes gradually thinned towards the circumference, where the
mere cuticle connects the gills, the position of these gills being
observable from above in a faint fluting of the edge, a peculiarity
of all the Russulæ. The cuticle peels readily some distance from the
edge, leaving the projecting tips of the gills exposed in a row of
comb-like teeth, but usually adheres towards the centre of cap. The
gills, with rare exceptions, are _all of the same length_, white or
creamy in color, firm and thick, but _very brittle_, easily broken into
fragments by a rude touch, a characteristic of all the group; spores,
white. The stem is short, stout, and solid, and usually tapers towards
the base. There is no vestige of a cup or veil at _any_ stage of growth.

A fine specimen of the green Russula should measure five inches in
diameter when fully open, but three inches is probably the average size.

[Sidenote: =The noxious Russulæ=]

When once acquainted with the above as a _type_ of the Russula group,
noting the firm substance, straight, equal gills, and their brittle
texture; the sweet, nutty flavor common to all the edible species,
these become readily identified, the _noxious_ Russulæ, as in the
brilliant pink or scarlet _R. emetica_ (Plate 13), being _acrid_ and
_peppery_ to the taste.

[Sidenote: =Green Russula often sufficient=]

In an auspicious season and in a congenial habitat--usually an open
wood with scant undergrowth and preferably raked clean of dead
leaves--the green Russula is often abundant. Familiarity even with this
one species will often afford a sufficiency of fungus food during its
season. A lady amateur mycophagist of the writer's acquaintance, whose
home is located at the border of such a wood as is above described,
and who is especially fond of the green Russula, is never at a loss
for this especially prized tidbit as a reward for her daily stroll
among the trees. A visitor may often see upon her buffet a small glass
dish filled with the mushrooms, nicely scraped and cut in pieces--an
ever-present relish between meals. For even in their natural state, as
she discriminatingly says, they are "as sweet as chestnuts." This is
especially the case with the "buttons" or younger specimens.

[Illustration: _Russula virescens_]

_PLATE XI_


     THE GREEN RUSSULA

     =Russula virescens=

     =Pileus:= Very firm; solid, dull, dry-surfaced, as
        with a fine "flock"; mouldy green or creamy, with
        sage-greenish broken spots more united at centre;
        occasionally entirely green, with warty patches of
        darker hue. At first globular, then convex with
        flat top, at length expanded and hollowed towards
        centre.

     =Gills:= Pale, creamy white; commonly all of equal
        length, but frequently unequal and forked; very
        brittle, breaking in pieces at a rude touch.

     =Stem:= Solid; creamy white; no veil.

     =Taste:= Very mild, sweet, and nut-like.

     =Habitat:= In woods--July-September.

     Diameter of pileus, ideal specimen, four inches.

PLATE XI

[Illustration: RUSSULA VIRESCENS.]


PURPLE RUSSULA

_Russula lepida_

[Illustration: RUSSULA LEPIDA--CONTORTED AND CRACKED PILEUS]

[Sidenote: =Color of cap misleading=]

[Sidenote: =Specific characters=]

This, perhaps the most common species, is figured in Plate 12, fig. 3.
It corresponds with the foregoing in size as well as in general shape,
firm texture, and friable nature of the gills. The pileus of this
species frequently assumes eccentric shapes, or is often cracked, as
seen in the accompanying cut. Its name of "purple" is probably local
in its application, as it is known also as the _red_ Russula, neither
of which titles is at all distinctive. Indeed, the color of the _cap_
is often a misleading character for identification, as a given species
may vary greatly in this particular. This feature is thus generally
omitted in purely scientific descriptions, more dependence being
placed upon the tint of the flesh and that of the spore surface, the
laminæ or gills, which are more permanent and reliable as a character.
Thus, in the present species, _R. lepida_, the tint of the pileus or
cap is often of a deep dull purplish red or ruddy wine color. Another
authority describes it as violet-red and cherry-red or slightly tawny,
paler at circumference. Berkeley, in his _British Fungi_, omits any
reference to the color of the cap, as evidently of little value in
identification. But from numerous examples gathered by the present
writer, the color may, I think, be safely averaged under the general
hue of dark, subdued red inclining to maroon. The surface is dull,
as with a fine dust or plum-like bloom, and thus without polish.
Occasional specimens appear almost velvety in the sheen of surface. But
the tints of the flesh and the gills are always uniform, the _leaflets_
or gills being _pure white_ or very slightly creamy, continuous from
stem to rim or occasionally forked, not crowded, curved in outline in
open specimen, with broadest width near the circumference of cap. The
flesh is white or slightly creamy, firm and compact as in the former
species, with the same variations of outline from early stage to
maturity. The stem is white, solid, and generally more or less tinted
or streaked vertically with rose or pale crimson (Fig. 8). The taste of
the flesh is sweet and appetizing.

[Illustration: _Edible Russulæ_]

_PLATE XII_


      EDIBLE RUSSULÆ

  1. =Russula heterophylla--Variable Russula=

     =Pileus:= Firm, solid; greenish or pinkish-gray; at
        first convex, with flat top, ultimately rising from
        centre to rim.

     =Gills:= Milk-white; extremely brittle, like all the
        Russulæ, and easily crumbled (see Fig. 7); long,
        short, and forked intermixed. Fig. 5.

     =Stem:= Milk-white; solid.

     =Taste:= Mild and sweet.

  2. =Russula alutacea--Yellow-gilled Russula=

     =Pileus:= Firm, solid; shape as in above; color very
        variable, from bright to deep red; cuticle thin
        at rim, where the lines of junction of gills are
        readily discernible from above by the depressed
        channels. Fig. 6.

     =Gills:= Equal, brittle, broad; yellow-buff color in
        all stages. Fig. 4.

     =Stem:= Solid; milk-white, commonly stained or
        streaked with red towards the base.

     =Taste:= Sweet and nut-like.

  3. =Russula lepida--Purple Russula=

     =Pileus:= In shape like above, varying in color from
        bright red to dull, subdued purplish, with a
        distinct bloom.

     =Gills:= White, broad, principally even, occasionally
        forked as in Fig. 1; like the above, extremely
        brittle. Fig. 7.

     =Stem:= Solid; white, usually stained and streaked
        with pink. Fig. 8.

     =Taste:= Sweet, and similar to above.

     Average diameter of extended pileus of each of these
        species about three and one-half inches; veil
        absent in each.

     =Habitat:= All grow in woods--July-September.

PLATE XII

[Illustration: EDIBLE RUSSULÆ. RUSSULA HETEROPHYLLA. R. ALUTACEA. R.
LEPIDA.]


YELLOW-GILLED RUSSULA

_Russula alutacea_

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

Our third example of the Russula is one which is also quite common
in our woods, and which might in the extreme variation of its color
be confounded with the last by a careless observer, as indeed both
might be still further confounded with the poisonous member bearing
the red tint, and which will be hereafter considered. The _Russula
alutacea_ (Pl. 12, figs. 2, 4, 6) is a delicious species. In general
size and contour it resembles the foregoing. The color of the cap
varies from bright-red to blood-red or even approaching the purplish
red of the preceding species, lightening towards edge. But we have a
clear distinction in the color of the _gills_, which are _distinctly
yellowish_, pale ochre, or nankeen, in all stages of the mushroom, _or
even tawny_ in old specimens. They are, moreover, usually _all of even
length_, being straight and continuous from stem to circumference of
pileus, none of them forked, their juncture with the edge of the cap
being clearly manifest from above by the thinness of the cuticle. The
flesh is white, stem firm and solid, white and smooth, often tinted
with pink or red. The flesh of the cap often appears pinkish upon
peeling the cuticle from the edge. The taste resembles that of the
previous species--sweet and nutty.


VARIOUS-GILLED RUSSULA

_Russula heterophylla_

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

Growing in company with both of the above is frequently to
be seen another species, which is somewhat protean in its
accomplishments of color, but which in the character of its gills,
as implied in its scientific name, gives us a ready means of
identification--_heterophylla_--various-leaved (Pl. 12, figs. 1 and
5). In the previous examples of Russulæ the gills have been commonly
straight, continuous from stem to edge of cap, or more rarely forked
and continuous in the bifurcation. In the present species we have both
of these conditions, combined also with what are called _dimidiate_
gills, or _shorter_ leaflets, which reach, perhaps, only half-way from
rim to stem, all crowded together and alternating. The color of the cap
is very variable--occasionally pinkish-ash color or dull pinkish-gray
inclining to green or olive or even red. Its surface is smoother than
in the foregoing species, being almost polished, and the pellicle of
the cap is usually noticeably thinner. Having found such a specimen,
possessing also all the other attributes of shape, firmness of flesh,
and dry brittleness of gills, if tasted and found sweet in flavor it
may be eaten without the slightest fear, and like its congeners will
be found a delicious morsel, whether nibbled raw, as the squirrels are
so fond of doing, or served hot on toast as an entrée, or otherwise
prepared according to taste.

[Sidenote: =Delicious broiled Russula=]

Various methods prevail in the culinary preparation of the Russula
mushroom, many of which are suggested among the receipts in another
chapter, but broiling is perhaps the most simple and generally
satisfactory. Having thoroughly cleaned the top, or, if desired, peeled
the cuticle, place the mushrooms on a gridiron over a hot fire, gills
downward, for a few moments, sufficient to allow them to be heated
through without scorching. Then reverse them and repeat the process,
melting a small piece of butter in the gills and salting and peppering
to taste; serve hot on toast or in the platter with roast beef or fowl.
They are also delicious fried in the ordinary way, either with or
without batter.

[Illustration: AN INFESTED SPECIMEN]

The Russula is particularly in favor among the fungus-eating insects,
whose rapid development and voracity are consistently related to the
ephemeral nature of their food. A Russula specimen showing barely
a trace of insect life when gathered will sometimes prove literally
honey-combed and totally unfit for food in the space of twenty-four
hours. It is therefore well to cut each specimen in sections before
venturing upon its preparation for the table, and to profit thereby
according to our individual fastidiousness, as suggested on page 37.

While the above esculent species of Russulæ are being familiarized
by the tyro, he must now be put on guard against a certain dangerous
species of the group, which is sure to claim his attention, being
especially fond of the good company of its cousins, and likely to do
some mischief through its frequent disguise.


POISONOUS OR EMETIC MUSHROOM

_Russula emetica_

[Sidenote: =The poisonous Russula=]

[Sidenote: =A warning tang=]

The variability in the coloring of the three edible species already
described brings them occasionally into such close similarity with the
gamut of color of the one common poisonous species of the group that
this enemy must also be familiarized ere we venture too confidently
upon our Russula diet. The _Russula emetica_ (Plate 13), as its name
implies, is at war with luxurious gastronomy, but its distinction
from the harmless varieties is, after all, quite simple. Its frequent
general similarity to _R. lepida_ and _R. alutacea_ is such that the
amateur should hardly rely upon the botanical characters alone. There
is but one safe, as it is a simple, rule for him: _He should taste
every specimen of his Russula of whatever kind before venturing upon
its use as food_. All of the sweet and palatable Russulæ are esculent.
When he chances upon the _R. emetica_ he will be aware of its important
demoralizing resources in the peppery-hot tingle of his tongue, which,
if not instantly perceived, will within the space of a minute assert
itself distinctly. All such acrid specimens should be excluded, as a
single one would be sufficient to bring an ignominious denouement to an
otherwise delectable feast. In the typical _R. emetica_ the pileus is
a bright, brilliant red--which, as we have said, is very variable, as
indicated in our plate--often polished and shining; the gills broad,
_equal, straight, continuous, not crowded_, and _white_, as is the
flesh beneath the peeled cuticle. The stem is white or pink. The cap
will average, perhaps, three inches in diameter, though occasionally
reaching the dimensions indicated by the marks in plate, or even
larger.

[Illustration: _Russula emetica_]

_PLATE XIII_


      POISONOUS OR EMETIC MUSHROOM

     =Russula emetica=

     =Pileus:= Expansion two to four inches; color varying
        from pale bright pink to deep scarlet; very smooth.

     =Gills:= Broad (in section), mostly equal in length,
        and continuous from edge of cap to stem; not
        crowded; white.

     =Stem:= White or pinkish.

     =Spores:= White, like all Russulæ.

     =Taste:= Hot and peppery.

     =Habitat:= Woods, with other Russulæ.

     =Season:= July-September.

     NOTE.--While, for conservative reasons, the poisonous reputation
     of this species is here perpetuated, it is quite probable that
     such condemnation is unwarranted, except as to the _raw_ mushroom.
     The peppery tang and demoralizing powers are now claimed to be
     dissipated in cooking, and the _Emetica_ will doubtless soon be
     more generally included with its congeners among the esculents,
     thus bringing the entire genus _Russula_ into the friendly group.

     Captain Charles McIlvaine is largely responsible for this
     conversion in favor of _Emetica_. His individual experiments
     warrant him in pronouncing this species "as good as the rest"
     when cooked. Others of the writer's acquaintance, following his
     example, echo his opinion.

PLATE XIII

[Illustration: RUSSULA EMETICA. (POISONOUS)]


THE OYSTER MUSHROOM

_Agaricus ostreatus_

What a mass of nutritious food do we occasionally pass in innocence or
spurn with our foot upon the old stump or fallen log in the woods!--a
neglected feast, indeed, if the specialists on edible fungi are to be
believed; a feast, in truth, for a big family, if we chance upon even
an average cluster of the "vegetable oyster," which is pictured in
Plate 14.

[Sidenote: =A "vegetable oyster"=]

I have commonly observed this species, the _Agaricus ostreatus_, in
the autumn, and this is the season given for its appearance in Europe
by the authorities; but according to certain American specialists,
notably Charles McIlvaine, it is common in our woods in spring, even as
early as March, and through the summer. It is usually found in large
clusters, similar to our illustration, growing upon decaying stumps and
the trunks of various trees. The "oyster" is a gilled mushroom which
grows _sidewise_ from its position, the stem being usually lateral and
very short, though occasionally quite prolonged, the two varieties
being indicated in the accompanying cut.

[Illustration: AGARICUS OSTREATUS--VARIATIONS IN FORM]

The individual mushroom may be five or six inches in breadth, a cluster
affording several pounds in weight. The color of the upper surface is
light brown or buff, varying to yellowish-ashen, according to age, and
the gills are dirty white of various lengths; spores white.

[Illustration: _Agaricus ostreatus_]

_PLATE XIV_


      THE OYSTER MUSHROOM

     =Agaricus ostreatus=

     =Pileus:= Four to six inches in diameter; smooth.
        Color, dull, light yellowish, sometimes pale ochre
        or grayish.

     =Gills:= Dingy white; of various lengths, extending
        down the stem.

     =Stem:= Short or obsolete; on the side of pileus.

     =Spores:= White.

     =Taste:= Agreeable; suggesting the flavor of the
        cooked oyster; texture tough in older specimens.

     =Odor:= Pleasant.

     =Habitat:= On old tree trunks and fallen logs,
        occasionally in dense masses.

PLATE XIV

[Illustration: AGARICUS OSTREATUS.]

This species and the one following belong to the subdivision of the
typical genus Agaricus, called Leucospori--white spored. The division
has many sub-genera. The particular sub-genus in which these are
included is the Pleurotus, or _side-foot_ mushrooms, as they are
sometimes called.

Another earlier species with which _A. ostreatus_ might be confounded
(_A. euosmus_) has spores of a rosy pinkish or lilac hue, a sufficient
identification, and is accounted injurious.

[Illustration: THIRTY POUNDS OF VEGETABLE MEAT]

The clustering growth of the "Oyster Mushroom" frequently attains
huge proportions, as will be seen from the above reproduction of a
photograph sent to me by a correspondent. The dimensions of the mass
are easily judged by the height of the gun leaning against the tree,
and introduced for comparison.

[Sidenote: =Broiled oyster recipe=]

This "Oyster Mushroom" should be gathered in its young state, and may
be served in various ways. Broiling over the coals, gills upward,
seasoning with butter, pepper, and salt during the cooking, is a
favorite method with most of the Agarics, but a well-known fungus
epicure claims that this mushroom "may be cooked in any way that an
oyster is, and will be found fine eating."

The average specimen will probably prove more ashen in hue than those
represented in my plate.


THE ELM MUSHROOM

_Agaricus ulmarius_

[Sidenote: =Appetizing qualities=]

This edible species of mushroom, allied to the foregoing, and which
grows in similar clusters on the elm-tree, is the _Agaricus ulmarius_
(Plate 15). While much difference of opinion prevails regarding the
appetizing qualities of this mushroom or its right to a place among the
esculents, this varying individual judgment has doubtless often had
direct reference to the character of the particular specimen chosen for
trial. Dr. M. C. Cooke is not disposed to place a high appreciation
upon its qualities. "It has been customary," he says, "to regard this
and some of its allies [presumably in allusion to the preceding] as
alimentary, but there is no doubt that they could all be very well
spared from the list." Opposed to this uncomplimentary aspersion is the
testimony of other authorities who claim that "it is most delectable"
and "a delicious morsel." Certain it is that in its young and tender
condition only is it fit for food, as it becomes progressively tough in
consistency towards maturity.

[Illustration: _Agaricus ulmarius_]

_PLATE XV_


      THE ELM MUSHROOM

     =Agaricus ulmarius=

     =Pileus:= From three to five inches in diameter.
        Color, pale yellow or buff; smooth in young
        specimen, fissured, spotted, and leathery at
        maturity. Flesh in section white.

     =Gills:= Dingy white, becoming tawny at maturity,
        extending down the stem.

     =Stem:= Various in length, occasionally very short and
        attached to side of pileus; generally longer as in
        Plate, and "off centre"; white; substance solid.

     =Spores:= White.

     =Taste:= Suggesting fish when cooked.

     =Odor:= Pleasant.

     =Habitat:= Trunk of elm or from surfaces of broken
        or sawn branches. Often growing in dense masses
        covering several square feet.

PLATE XV

[Illustration: AGARICUS ULMARIUS.]

[Sidenote: =Massive growth=]

As its specific name implies--_Ulmus_--this mushroom is devoted to
the elm, upon whose trunk and branches it may be often seen, either
singly, which is rare, or in great dense masses, sometimes, covering a
space of several square feet, often, unfortunately, at an inaccessible
height from the ground. I have in my possession a photograph which has
been sent to me by an interested correspondent representing a dead
tree trunk, apparently a foot in diameter, densely covered to a height
of seven feet from the ground with a mass of the _A. ulmarius_--and
presumably representing thirty or forty pounds in weight. This species
is most frequently seen on apparently healthy branches, or growing from
the wood of a severed limb. Its season is late summer and autumn.

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

A small cluster of these mushrooms is seen in Plate 15. They afford a
good refutation of the old-time discriminating "ban," which excluded
all mushrooms which grow "sidewise," or "upon wood." The individual
mushroom of this species is a horizontal grower, sometimes with a
barely noticeable or obsolete stem; in other specimens this portion
being quite distinct and an inch or more in length, and firm and solid
in texture. The upper surface is pale yellow or buff, smooth in the
younger specimens, becoming disfigured by spots and fissures with
age. The flesh is white, as also are the gills, though more dingy,
becoming tawny-tinted with maturity, when the entire mushroom becomes
quite leathery in substance, and might well awaken doubts as to its
digestibility. The spores are white.

This fungus is known in some sections as the "Fish Mushroom," referring
to its peculiar flavor, the appropriateness of which appellation is
suggested in the incident related by Mr. Palmer, and quoted in my last
chapter.


SHAGGY-MANE MUSHROOM

_Coprinus comatus_

[Sidenote: =A plebeian toadstool=]

Upon a certain spot on the lawn of one of my neighbors, year after
year, without fail, there springs up a most singular crop. For the
first two seasons of its appearance it was looked upon with curious awe
by the proprietors of the premises, and usually ignominiously spurned
with the foot by the undiscriminating and destructive small boy. One
day I observed about five pounds of this fungus delicacy thus scattered
piecemeal about the grass, and my protest has since spared the annual
crop for my sole benefit. It usually makes its appearance in late
September, and continues in intermittent crops until November. A casual
observer happening upon a cluster of the young mushrooms might imagine
that he beheld a convention of goose eggs standing on end in the grass,
their summits spotted with brown.

[Illustration: _Coprinus comatus_]

_PLATE XVI_


      THE SHAGGY-MANE MUSHROOM

     =Coprinus comatus=

     =Pileus:= Egg-shaped in young specimens; at length
        more cylindrical, and finally expanded, melting
        away in inky fluid. Color, creamy white, becoming
        black at edge with advancing age, as is also the
        case with the shaggy points upon its surface, which
        generally cover the pileus.

     =Gills:= Crowded; equal in length; creamy white in
        young specimens, becoming pink, brown, and finally
        black, and always moist.

     =Stem:= Cylindrical; creamy white; hollow, or with a
        loose cottony pith.

     =Spores:= Black, falling away in drops.

     =Taste:= Sweet, which applies only to the pink or
        white condition, at which time alone the species is
        considered esculent.

     =Habitat:= Lawns, pastures, gardens, and rich grounds
        in the neighborhood of barns, etc.; usually grows
        in dense clusters.

     Diameter of cylindrical pileus in average specimens,
        two inches.

     One of the most easily identified of all mushrooms.

PLATE XVI

[Illustration: COPRINUS COMATUS.]

[Sidenote: =Inky deliquescence=]

If one of them is examined, it is seen to be a curious short-stemmed
mushroom which never fully expands (Plate 16), perhaps five inches
high, and whose surface is curiously decorated with shaggy patches.
In its early stages it is white and singularly egglike, but later
becomes brownish, its curved shaggy points finally changing to almost
black. The concealed gills are crowded and of equal length, at first
creamy white, but gradually changing through a whole gamut of pinks,
sepias, and browns until they become black, at which time the whole
substance of the cap melts on its elongated stalk--_deliquesces into
an unsightly inky paste, which besmears the grass_ and ultimately
leaves only the bare white stem standing in its midst, a peculiar
method of dissemination which distinguishes the group Coprinus, of
which it is the most conspicuous example. This is the "shaggy-mane"
mushroom, _Coprinus comatus_, the specific name signifying a wig--"from
the fancied resemblance to a wig on a barber's block." Even a brief
description is unnecessary with its portrait before us. It is a
savory morsel, and it cannot be confounded with any other fungus. It
frequently grows in such dense, crowded masses that a single group will
afford a dinner for a family.

[Illustration: A DINNER FOR A FAMILY]

It should be gathered while the gills are in the early white or pink
stage, and may be prepared for the table in various ways, either
broiled or fried, as described for previous species, or stewed with
milk, or otherwise served according to the culinary hints in our later
chapter, in which a special recipe for this species is found.

In a recent stroll down the main street of Litchfield, Connecticut, I
observed, over the fence in a front door-yard of a summer resident,
just such a dense cluster of the shaggy Coprinus, the proprietor of the
premises, an appreciative habitué of Delmonico's at other seasons of
the year, complacently reading his morning paper in his piazza, little
dreaming of the twenty pounds of dainty diet, fit for a king, so easily
available.

[Illustration: _Coprinus atramentarius_]

_PLATE XVII_


      THE INKY TOADSTOOL

     =Coprinus atramentarius=

     =Pileus:= Fleshy, moist; at first egg-shaped; of a Quaker-drab,
        dirty white, or even pale brownish color; at length becoming
        expanded, umbrella-like, when it melts away in inky drops.

     =Gills:= Broad and crowded, not adhering to stem at top; creamy
        white in young species, becoming pinkish gray, and at length
        black.

     =Stem:= Firm; white; hollow.

     =Spores:= Black; shed in liquid drops.

     =Taste:= Sweet, as is also the odor, which applies to its early
        stage only.

     =Habitat:= About old decaying stumps and rotten wood, gardens,
        rich lawns, and barn-yards; usually growing in clusters, often
        very dense.

     Diameter of pileus, young state, two inches.

PLATE XVII

[Illustration: COPRINUS ATRAMENTARIUS.]


INKY MUSHROOM

_Coprinus atramentarius_

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

In frequent company with the foregoing will be found another allied
species, _Coprinus atramentarius_ (Plate 17), with the same inky
propensities, which is scarcely less delicious as an article of food.
In this species the shaggy feature is absent, there being merely a few
obscure slightly raised stains at the summit, of a brownish color. The
stem is white and hollow. The surface of the pileus is smooth and of a
Quaker-drab color, occasionally dirty-white, or with a slight shade of
ochre, moist to the touch, darkened by rubbing. In the eatable stage
the caps are drooping, as shown in the cluster on the plate, while the
mature specimen expands considerably before its inky deliquescence. Its
texture when young is firm, and the thick gray cuticle peels readily,
leaving an appetizing nutty-flavored morsel, delicious even when raw.
The inky Agaric is frequent about barn-yards, gardens, and old stumps
in woods, and usually grows in such crowded masses that the central
individuals are compressed into hexagonal shape. Like the previous
variety, it should be collected for food while its gills are in the
white or pink stage.

Cordier claims that all the species of Coprinus are eatable at this
stage. The profusion in which they occasionally abound renders it often
a simple matter to obtain a bushel of them in a few minutes.

[Sidenote: =Coprinus ink=]

Like the foregoing, a large cluster of these mushrooms leaves a
most unsightly spot on the lawn. A diluted solution of this melting
substance, as Cooke assures us, has been used "to replenish the
ink-bottle. The resemblance is so complete that it may readily be
employed as a substitute, all that is required being to boil and strain
it, and add a small quantity of corrosive sublimate to prevent its
turning mouldy." It may also be employed as pigment. It is, indeed,
quite possible to paint the portrait of Coprinus with its own dark
sepia, as the author has personally demonstrated. (See head-piece to
"Illustrations.")


MILKY MUSHROOM

_Lactarius deliciosus_

[Sidenote: =Orange-milk Agaric=]

Prominent among the fungi which give unmistakable characters for their
identification is the genus Lactarius, or milky mushrooms, another
group of the agarics or gilled fungi, from which we will select for our
first example the _Lactarius deliciosus_, or orange-milk Agaric (Plate
18). The figure will itself almost serve to identify it in its advanced
open stage. Having found a specimen resembling our illustration, and
anywhere from three to five inches in expanse, its general upper
surface _dull reddish-orange_ in color, more or less plainly banded
with darker red, it is safe to predict that when its surface or gills
are broken an exudation of milky juice will follow. If this exudation
is orange or _deep yellow_ in hue, gradually turning _greenish_ on
exposure, the identification is complete, and we have the orange-milk
_L. deliciosus_, of which an authority says, "It really deserves its
name, being the most delicious mushroom known." W. G. Smith goes still
further in its praise, assuring us that "when cooked with taste and
care it is one of the greatest delicacies of the vegetable kingdom."
The taste of this species when raw is slightly acrid, but this quality
disappears in the cooking.

[Illustration: _Lactarius deliciosus_]

_PLATE XVIII_


      THE ORANGE-MILK MUSHROOM

     =Lactarius deliciosus=

     =Pileus:= Diameter three to five inches. Color varying
        from yellow to dull orange, or even brownish yellow
        with mottled zones of deeper color, especially in
        younger plants; outline at first convex, ultimately
        somewhat funnel-shaped; surface usually smooth and
        moist.

     =Flesh:= Brittle; creamy, more or less stained with
        orange.

     =Gills:= Orange; generally clearer in hue than the
        pileus; when bruised, exuding a copious milky juice
        of orange color, becoming greenish in drying.

     =Stem:= Paler than pileus; hollow; occasionally
        spotted with orange or greenish stains from bruises.

     =Spores:= White.

     =Taste:= Slightly peppery.

     =Habitat:= Woods, pine-groves, and swamps.

     =Season:= July-September.

PLATE XVIII

[Illustration: LACTARIUS DELICIOSUS.]

[Sidenote: =Mild white-milk species=]

One other species of Lactarius, _L. volemum_, may properly find a place
in this work as being easily recognized. In general shape it resembles
_L. deliciosus_. The top is of a rich sienna golden hue; the gills
are crowded. The milk is _white_ as it first falls from the fracture,
becoming _dull dark-reddish_, and having a mild, pleasant taste; gills
white, at length yellowish or buff-colored. This species is esculent.

[Sidenote: =Peppery white-milk species=]

Other species are accounted edible, even one--the peppery Lactarius,
_L. piperatus_--a pure-white variety, whose copious exudations of
_white_ milk will almost blister the lips, an _acrid_ property which
is claimed by Curtis, Smith, and others to be dispelled in cooking, by
which treatment it becomes delicious and wholesome.

This species may reach a diameter of seven inches, its shape at first
rounded, convex, then flat, concave, and finally funnel-shaped, as in
many of the species. But its decidedly ardent tang in the raw state,
as reminiscent from my own experience, warns me not to dwell too
enthusiastically upon its merits in my limited selection of desirable
esculent species.


THE CHANTARELLE

_Cantharellus cibarius_

Bearing somewhat the shape of the Lactarius, but having its own
distinguishing features, is the Chantarelle (Plate 19).

[Sidenote: =Fluted gills=]

The "Agarics," as already described on page 79, are distinguished
by the feature of the gills, or thin laminated curtains--the
_hymenium_--upon which the spores are produced, and from which they are
shed beneath the mushroom. These gills vary in thickness and number in
the various species, and in one genus are so short, thick, swollen,
and branched as to give rather the effect of turgid veins than gills,
as shown in the accompanying sectional drawing. We occasionally come
upon one of these mushrooms in our walks, usually in the woods. When
it first appears the cap is rounded, and the rim folded inward towards
the stem; but in mature specimens it assumes the flat or, later, the
cup-shaped form shown in Plate 19.

[Illustration: SECTION OF CHANTARELLE]

[Illustration: _Cantharellus cibarius_]

_PLATE XIX_


      THE CHANTARELLE

     =Cantharellus cibarius=

     =Pileus:= At first convex, later flat; three to five
        inches in diameter, with central hollow, and
        finally almost funnel form. Color, bright to deep
        yellow above and below.

     =Gills:= Shallow and fluted, resembling swollen veins,
        branched, more or less interconnected and tapering
        off down the stem; color same as pileus.

     =Stem:= Solid, generally (often slightly) tapering
        towards base; paler than pileus or gills.

     =Spores:= Very pale yellow ochre in color; elliptical.

     =Taste:= Peppery and pungent in the raw state; mild
        and sweet after cooking.

     =Odor:= Suggesting ripe apricots or plums.

     =Habitat:= In woods, especially hemlocks, generally in
        clusters of two or three, or in lines or arcs of
        several individuals.

PLATE XIX

[Illustration: CANTHARELLUS CIBARIUS.]

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

A fungus thus formed is a Chantarelle, or _Cantharellus_, and
is readily identified. Any specimen having these features, and
which possesses in addition a fine, rich yellow color, is the
_C. cibarius_ of our plate, the esculent morsel so highly prized
by epicures on the Continent, where to many--perhaps somewhat
indiscriminating--gastronomists it forms one of the greatest delicacies
among the entire list of edible fungi. The diameter of the mature
specimen may reach five inches, though three inches will be nearer
the average size. The cap is frequently quite eccentric in its form,
wavy-edged, or even folded upon itself in occasional individuals; but
the pure, deep yellow color "suggesting the yolk of an egg," and the
swollen, vein-like hymenium, generally of a similar color, will be
sufficient to distinguish it under any disguise of mere form. Another
unique characteristic is its odor, which suggests ripe apricots or
plums. The taste of the Chantarelle when raw is pungent and peppery,
but this quality disappears in cooking. The spores are of a pale
yellow-ochre color, and beneath the microscope are elliptical in shape.

[Sidenote: =Stewed Chantarelle=]

From the last of May until early November the Chantarelle may be found
in our woods, with more or less frequency, singly or in clusters.
According to Dr. Badham, an eminent authority on esculent fungi, "the
best ways of dressing the Chantarelle are to stew or mince it by
itself, or to combine it with meat or with other fungi. It requires
long and gentle stewing to make it tender, but by soaking it in milk
the night before, less cooking will be requisite."

But the recipes employed in Great Britain and upon the Continent to
the glory of the Chantarelle would almost fill a fair-sized receipt
book, and some of them are quite elaborate. A few of these are given
in a later chapter. After a trial of a number of them the writer is
assured that the simple broiling or frying in butter or oil, with
proper seasoning, and serving on toast, will prove a most acceptable
substitute.

[Sidenote: =Another species=]

Another species of Chantarelle, which might possibly be confounded
with the _C. cibarius_, is the Orange Chantarelle, _C. aurantiacus_,
which is pronounced "scarcely esculent" by the authorities. Its average
size is much smaller than the true Chantarelle, and its much deeper
orange hue, and straighter, more regularly branched and crowded gills,
will readily identify it, the gills of _cibarius_ being thicker,
and usually somewhat eccentric and netted. Like the foregoing, it
assumes the funnel form with age, as indicated in the generic name,
Cantharellus--"a diminutive drinking-cup."

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _Polyporei or Tube-bearing Fungi_]



Polyporei

[Sidenote: =Works by Prof. Peck=]

The previous examples of mushrooms have all been included in the order
of the Agarics, or "gill-bearing" fungi, the under spore-bearing
surface of the cap having been disposed in the form of laminæ or
gills. We will now pass to the consideration of a class of mushrooms
certain of which enjoy a wider reputation as "toadstools" than any
other species, a new botanical order of fungi--the Polyporei--in which
the gills are replaced by _pores_ or tubes--polyporus (many pores).
Conspicuous among the Polyporei are those great shelf-like woody
growths so frequently to be seen on the trunks of trees, and popularly
known as "punk," "tinder," and "touch-wood," and many of which increase
in size year by year by accession of growth at the rim. A few of these
lateral-stemmed species are edible during their young state, one or
two of which are included in my subsequent pages. But the most notable
group from the standpoint of esculence is the typical genus _Boletus_,
containing a large number of species, and of which Plate 20 presents a
conspicuous example. Especial attention should here be called to the
notable monograph on the Boleti of the United States by State Botanist
Professor Charles Peck, of Albany University, New York, which presents
detailed descriptions of one hundred and eight indigenous species.
Other contributions to mycological literature by this distinguished
American authority are noted in my bibliographical list at the close of
the volume.


THE BOLETI

_Tube mushrooms_

The structure of these mushrooms is clearly shown in Plate 38, in my
chapter on "Spore-prints," the hymenium being here spread upon the
honey-combed pore surfaces, and shedding its spores from the tubes.
Each of these tubes is distinct and may be separated from the mass.

The ideal form as shown in Plate 20 is perfectly symmetrical, in
which condition the pores would naturally be perpendicular. But this
perfection seldom prevails, and we continually find the specimens
more or less eccentric in shape, especially where they are crowded or
have met with obstruction in growth. But in any case, no matter what
the angle or distortion of growth during development, the _tubes_ are
always adjusted to the perpendicular, or in malformed individuals as
nearly so as the conditions will permit, as shown in the section on
next page.

The Boleti are in general a salubrious group. Certain species have
long been accredited as being poisonous, and others excluded from the
feast as "suspicious." The early authorities caution us to avoid all
Boleti having any shade of red on the spore-bearing surface beneath,
even as it was originally claimed that all _red-capped_ toadstools were
poisonous. But from the writer's own individual experiments, reinforced
by the experience of others, he is beginning to be persuaded that the
Boletus as a _genus_ has been maligned. Many species accredited as
poisonous he has eaten repeatedly without the slightest deleterious
consequences, including the crimson Boletus, _B. alveolatus_ (Plate 24,
fig. 2), with its red spore surface, and the _B. subtomentosus_ (Plate
22, fig. 1), whose yellowish flesh, like the species just mentioned,
changes quickly to blue upon fracture, a chemical feature which has
long stamped both species as dangerous.

[Illustration: SECTION OF BOLETUS SHOWING PERPENDICULAR TUBES]

[Sidenote: =Maligned species=]

It is interesting to note that the ban is gradually being lifted from
the Boleti by mycophagists of distinction, largely through their own
experiments. Thus I note that Mr. McIlvaine, who has made a close study
of esculent fungi, in a recent article claims that "all the Boleti
are harmless, though some are too bitter to eat"; and Mr. Palmer, in
his admirable portfolio of esculent fungi, includes among his edible
species one of those whose flesh "changes color on fracture," and which
has hitherto been proscribed as "off color." Of course, this food
selection would obviously apply only to species of inviting attributes,
possessing pleasant odor, agreeable taste, and delicate fibre. The
selection comprised in this volume is confined to a few varieties of
established good repute. As to the rest--if only on the consideration
of idiosyncrasy--it is wiser to urge extreme caution on the lines laid
down on page 34.

[Sidenote: =Changes of form in growth=]

The Boletus, like all other mushrooms, passes through a variety of
forms from its birth to maturity, at first being almost round, then
convex, with the spore surface nearly flat, horizontal, the profile
outline finally almost equally cushion-like on both upper and lower
surfaces, or the upper surface absolutely flat. Mere outline drawings
of a number of Boleti would be almost identical. The form alone,
therefore, is of minor importance in their identification. Among those
more readily recognized by their color and structural features, may be
classed the following common species:

[Illustration: _Boletus edulis_]

_PLATE XX_


      EDIBLE BOLETUS

     =Boletus edulis=

     =Pileus:= Cushion-like; moist; variable in color,
        light brown to darker brownish red; surface smooth
        but dull; dimensions at full expansion, three to
        six or eight inches.

     =Tube surface= (_A_--magnified): Whitish in very young
        specimens, at length becoming yellow and yellowish
        green. Pore openings, angled.

     =Spores:= Ochre-colored.

     =Stem:= Stout; often disproportionately elongated.
        Pale brown, generally with a fine raised network of
        pink lines near junction of cap.

     =Flesh:= White or yellowish, not changing color on
        fracture.

     =Taste:= Agreeable and nutty, especially when young.

     =Habitat:= Woods, especially during July and August;
        common.

PLATE XX

[Illustration: BOLETUS EDULIS.]


EDIBLE TUBE MUSHROOM

_Boletus edulis_

[Sidenote: =A famous delicacy=]

The most prominent member of the Boleti is the typical species whose
portrait I have given on Plate 20, "in vain calling himself '_edulis_,'
where there were none to believe him." But in spite of this remark
of Dr. Badham, which had reference especially to his native country,
England, this fungus had long been a favorite article of food among
a large class of the more lowly Europeans, to say nothing of the
luxurious epicures of the continent.

_Boletus edulis_ is to be found singly or in groups, usually in the
woods. Its average diameter is perhaps four or five inches, though
specimens are occasionally found of double these dimensions. A letter
to the writer from a correspondent in the Rocky Mountains describes
specimens measuring fifteen inches in diameter having been found there.

[Sidenote: =Specific characters=]

The cushion-like cap is more or less convex, according to age, of a
soft brownish or drab color somewhat resembling kid, and with velvety
softness to the touch. The under surface or hymenium is thickly beset,
honey-combed with minute vertical pores, which will leave a pretty
account of themselves upon a piece of white paper laid beneath them
and protected from the least draught, a process by which we may always
obtain a deposit of the ochre-tinted spores, as is further described in
a later chapter.

In _Boletus edulis_ this pore surface is white in young specimens,
later yellow, finally becoming bright olive-green; flesh _white_ or
_creamy_, unchangeable on fracture. Stem paler than cap, thick, swollen
at base, often malformed and elongated, especially when from a cluster,
generally more or less covered with vertical raised ridges, which
become somewhat netted together and pinkish as they approach the cap.
The taste is sweet, and in the very young specimen, which is brittle,
quite suggestive of raw chestnut.

[Sidenote: =Insects and decay=]

Any Boletus answering this description may be eaten without fear,
assuming, of course, that its substance is free from any taint
of dissolution and traces of insect contamination. Both of these
conditions are too apt to prevail in the mature specimens, and all
Boleti are more safely employed for food in their young crisp stage,
or at least before their full expansion. In their maturity, moreover,
they often prove too mucilaginous in consistency to be pleasant to the
average partaker, especially the novice.

[Sidenote: =Preparation for table=]

In preparing them for the table, all that is necessary is to cut off
the stems, which are apt to be tough and fibrous, and to wipe the
pellicle of the cap perfectly clean, or, if preferred, to pare the
pileus with a very sharp knife. It is recommended by some that the
entire mass of the pore section be removed. In a mature specimen this
would reduce the bulk of the mushroom by half, and, moreover, deprive
the remainder of the full flavor of the fungus. I have not found it
necessary, and it is certainly needless in a young and tender specimen.

[Illustration: _Boletus scaber_]

_PLATE XXI_


      ROUGH-STEMMED BOLETUS

     =Boletus scaber=

     =Pileus:= Rounded convex; diameter two to five inches;
        surface occasionally smooth and viscid when moist;
        color usually brownish red, but varying from orange
        brick red or even black in certain varieties to
        yellow or whitish.

     =Tube surface:= Rounded, cushion-like; whitish at
        first, becoming dingy; tube openings small and
        round, and rather long as seen in section.

     =Spores:= Reddish brown.

     =Stem:= Solid, dingy white, tapering slightly above,
        more or less thickly beset with brownish, fibrous,
        dot-like scales, this being the most pronounced
        botanical character for identification.

     =Flesh:= White or dingy in certain varieties, often
        changing to blue, brown, pinkish, or black where
        wounded.

     =Taste:= Negatively pleasant.

     =Habitat:= A common and widely distributed species,
        with many variations of color. Found in woods and
        shaded waste-places.

     =Season:= July-October.

PLATE XXI

[Illustration: BOLETUS SCABER.]


ROUGH-STEMMED BOLETUS

_Boletus scaber_

This is a very common mushroom in our woods all through the summer and
autumn, in reasonably moist weather. It is figured in Plate 21. The cap
of an average specimen expands four inches or more, is of a brown or
brownish buff color, and viscid when moist. The pore-surface is _dingy
white_, the _tube_ orifices being quite _minute_ and _round_--not so
conspicuously angular or honey-combed as in other species--and with
occasional reddish stains, presumably a deposit from the floating
_spores_, which are _tawny reddish_. The flesh is dirty white, the stem
solid, contracting upwards, and rough with fibrous _brownish scaly_
points--whence the name "_scaber_"--often arranged somewhat in vertical
lines. Epicures fail to agree as to the esculent qualities of this
mushroom. It is certainly inferior to the _edulis_.


THE YELLOW-CRACKED BOLETUS

_Boletus subtomentosus_

[Sidenote: =Specific qualities=]

The general contour of the present species--_B. subtomentosus_ (Plate
22, fig. 1)--resembles the foregoing, but it is easily distinguished
by the color of its cap and tube surface, the pileus being usually
olive, olive-brown, or red of various shades; the color, however,
does not extend to the flesh beneath the peeled cuticle, as in _B.
chrysenteron_, Fig. 2. The surface is soft and dry--subtomentous--to
the touch. Cracks in the cap become yellow, on which account this
species is called the "yellow-cracked Boletus," in contradistinction
to the red-cracked _B. chrysenteron_. Its most important distinction,
however, is of a chemical nature.

[Sidenote: =The blue stain=]

The stem is stout, unequal, firm, yellowish, and more or less ribbed,
occasionally tinted, minutely dotted, or faintly striped with the
color of the cap. The taste of the flesh is sweet and agreeable.
Palmer compares it to the flavor of walnuts. The tube surface is
_yellow or yellowish green_, and the _tubes and yellowish flesh
of cap and stem turn a rich peacock-blue immediately on fracture,
becoming deeper_ moment by moment until the entire exposed portion
becomes leaden--especially noticeable in mature specimens. The pore
surface shows a similar blue stain whenever bruised. The tubes are
angular-sided instead of round, and much larger than in the _B.
edulis_; spores ochre colored.

[Sidenote: =An unwarranted stigma=]

This blue stain was formerly, and is even now, deemed sufficient with
many mycophagists to place this mushroom on the black-list, but is
believed by Mr. Palmer and Mr. McIlvaine to be unwarranted as a stigma,
assuming that fresh specimens are employed. The _B. subtomentosus_ is
also among the eleven edible Boleti in the list of Dr. Curtis, given
on a previous page, and the present author has habitually eaten the
species with enjoyment and without unpleasant results. Fresh young
specimens with the least change of color would perhaps be the wiser
choice for the novice.

[Illustration: _Boletus subtomentosus   Boletus chrysenteron_]

_PLATE XXII_


      YELLOW CRACKED BOLETUS

  1. =Boletus subtomentosus=

     =Pileus:= Diameter three to six inches. Color, varying
        in different individuals, yellowish brown, olive,
        or subdued tan color; epidermis soft and dry, with
        a fine pubescence. Cracks in surface become yellow.

     =Flesh:= Creamy white in mature specimens, changing to
        blue, and at length leaden on fracture.

     =Tube surface:= Yellow or yellowish green, becoming
        bluish when bruised; opening of tubes large and
        angled.

     =Stem:= Stout; yellowish; minutely roughened with
        scurfy dots, or faintly striped with brown.

     =Spores:= Brownish ochre.

     =Taste=: Sweet and agreeable.

     =Habitat:= Woods.

     =Season=: Summer and autumn.

      GOLDEN-FLESH BOLETUS

  2. =Boletus chrysenteron=

     =Pileus:= Diameter two to four inches; convex,
        becoming more flattened; soft to the touch, varying
        from light yellowish brown to bright brick red;
        more or less fissured with red cracks and clincks.

     =Flesh:= Rich, bright yellow, red immediately beneath
        the cuticle.

     =Tube surface:= Olive-yellow, becoming bluish where
        bruised; tube openings rather large, angled, and
        unequal in size.

     =Stem:= Generally stout and straight; yellowish, and
        more or less streaked or spotted with the color of
        the cap.

     =Spores:= Light brown.

     =Habitat:= Woods and copses.

     =Season:= Summer and autumn.

PLATE XXII

[Illustration: BOLETUS SUBTOMENTOSUS. B. CHRYSENTERON].

[Sidenote: =Caution advisable=]

Another species having this peculiar property of "turning blue" even in
a more marked degree, and named, in consequence, the _B. cyanescens_,
though always heretofore considered poisonous, is now pronounced by
certain prominent mycophagists to be not only harmless but esculent. It
is still advisable, however, to caution moderation in its use as food,
if only on the ground of idiosyncrasy. The spores of this species are
_white_, which, with the more minute tube openings, form a sufficient
discrimination from _subtomentosus_. The spores should be obtained by
a deposit on black or dark-colored paper. The flesh is white also.
Other blue-stain species, such as _B. alveolatus_ (Plate 24), are still
considered with suspicion, presumably groundless.


YELLOW-FLESHED BOLETUS

_Boletus chrysenteron_

Among the toadstools which tradition would surely brand as poisonous
on account of "bright color" is the common species whose name heads
this paragraph, and which is illustrated in Plate 22, fig. 2. In its
various shapes it suggests the preceding varieties. Its cap, however,
is brownish red, often bright _brick red_. _Flesh almost lemon-yellow_,
stained _red just beneath_ the cuticle, and _not noticeably changeable_
on fracture. _Tube surface yellowish green_, turning blue or bluish
green when bruised. Spores light brown. _Tubes_ rather _large_,
angular, and _unequal in shape of aperture_. Stem yellow, often
brightly colored with the red of the cap. Chance cracks in its surface
become red, whence the common name of the "Red-cracked Boletus." A
species frequent in woods throughout the summer and autumn, and edible.

In its brightly colored cap it might possibly be superficially
confounded with the suspicious _Boletus alveolatus_ of Plate 24. But
the latter species is easily distinguished by its rose-colored spores
and red pore surface.


CONE-LIKE BOLETUS

_Strobilomyces strobilaceus_

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

Another allied species, not especially famous for its esculent
qualities, but which is, nevertheless, not to be despised, is here
introduced on account of its especially pronounced character (Plate
23)--the cone-like Boletus, or, more properly, Strobilomyces. It is of
a brownish gray color, its shaggy surface more or less studded with
deep brown or black woolly points, each at the centre of a scale-like
segment. The tubes beneath are covered by the veil in the younger
specimens, but this at length breaks, leaving ragged fragments hanging
from the rim of the pileus. The pore surface thus exposed is at first a
grayish white, ultimately becoming brown. The substance of the fungus
turns red when broken or cut.

This very striking mushroom is found in woods, especially under
evergreens. It frequently attains a diameter of four inches. Its spores
are a deep brown, and a specimen selected at the stage when the under
surface is _flat_ will yield a most beautiful spore print if laid upon
white paper and protected from the atmosphere, as described in a later
chapter.

[Illustration: _Strobilomyces strobilaceus_]

_PLATE XXIII_


     THE CONE-LIKE BOLETUS

    =Strobilomyces strobilaceus=

     =Pileus:= From two to four inches in diameter, covered
        with a soft gray wool drawn into regular cone-like
        points tipped with dark brown.

     Flesh grayish white, turning red when bruised.

     =Pore surface:= Grayish white in young specimen, and
        then usually covered with the veil; dark brown
        or almost black at maturity. Plate 38 shows a
        spore-print of this species.

     =Spores:= Very dark brown.

     =Taste:= Negatively pleasant.

     =Odor:= Sweet and mild.

     =Habitat:= Woods; singly or in small clusters.

PLATE XXIII

[Illustration: STROBILOMYCES STROBILACEUS.]

[Sidenote: =Black spore-prints=]

A reproduction of one of these prints is shown in Plate 38, the white
reticulation representing the contact of the tube orifices with the
paper, each tube depositing its dot composed of spores, the depth of
color increasing in proportion to the time involved in the deposit. A
single mushroom will yield a half-dozen or more prints. This fungus
dries readily, and may be kept indefinitely.


SUSPICIOUS BOLETI

_Boletus felleus--B. alveolatus_

[Sidenote: =Maligned species=]

[Sidenote: =A daring pioneer mycophagist=]

In Plate 24 are shown two examples of the Boleti which have commonly
been accounted poisonous--_B. felleus_ and _B. alveolatus_--and, in
the absence of absolutely satisfactory assurance to the contrary,
it is safer from our present point of view to consider them still
as suspicious and to give them a wide berth. There can be no doubt
but that the popular condemnation of the Boleti has been altogether
too sweeping. The gradual accession of many questionable species
to the edible list of Messrs. McIlvaine and Palmer and other
daring mycophagists is a sufficient attestation of this fact. Thus
_subtomentosus_ and _cyanescens_, already described, always heretofore
branded as reprobates, are now redeemed from obloquy, and even the
universal ill-repute of the _B. satanas_, with its pale pileus and
blood-red pores, has not frightened the indefatigable Captain
McIlvaine from a personal challenge and encounter with this lurid
specimen, with the result that the formidable "Satanas" has proved
anything but deserving of its name--not half so lurid as it has been
painted; indeed, it has been even pronounced "the best of them all."
Of course there's no telling to what extent the considerations of
contrast, through surprise and the consequent demoralization on the
contingents of the personal equation, may have influenced the captain's
discrimination, but it certainly would appear, to put it negatively,
that even the ill-favored world-renowned _B. satanas_ has apparently
been freed from aspersion as an enemy of mankind.

But it is well for the amateur to avoid these notorious species
absolutely until their edibility becomes universally accepted by the
"professionals."

[Sidenote: =The bitter Boletus=]

The _Boletus felleus_ (Plate 24, fig. 1) is a very common species.
The pinkish substance of this Boletus is so extremely bitter when raw
as to make it sufficiently repellent as food. The color of its smooth
cap varies from creamy yellow to reddish brown. Substance white in
young specimens, flesh color or pinkish in older individuals. Tube
surface white at first, becoming pinkish. Opening of tubes, angled.
Stem usually more or less netted with raised lines towards cap. Spores
pinkish or "flesh colored." Common in rich soil in woods.

[Illustration: _Boletus alveolatus   Boletus felleus_]

_PLATE XXIV_


      SUSPICIOUS BOLETI

     =Alveolate Boletus--Boletus alveolatus=

     =Pileus:= Smooth, polished; bright, deep crimson
        or maroon, occasionally mottled or marbled with
        yellowish; three to six inches in diameter.

     =Flesh:= Firm and solid in substance; pale greenish or
        yellowish white, changing blue in fracture or where
        bruised.

     =Tubes:= Tube-surface reaching the stem proper;
        undulate with uneven hollows; maroon, the tubes in
        section being yellow beyond their dark red mouths.

     =Spores:= Yellowish brown.

     =Stem:= Usually disproportionately long, covered with
        depressions or oblong pitted indentations, with
        intermediate coarse network of raised ridges; red
        and yellow.

     =Habitat:= Woods; quite common.


     =Bitter Boletus--Boletus felleus=

     =Pileus:= At first firm in substance, becoming soft
        and cushion-like; smooth, without polish, varying
        in color from pale ochre to yellowish or reddish
        brown; diameter three to nine inches.

     =Flesh:= White on immediate section, generally
        changing to slight pinkish or flesh color in
        fracture.

     =Tubes:= Tube-surface rounded upward as it reaches
        stem; white at first, becoming dull pinkish with
        age, or upon being bruised.

     =Spores:= Flesh colored or dull pink.

     =Stem:= Usually quite stout, nearly as smooth as the
        cap, and somewhat lighter in color; more or less
        ridged with coarse reticulations, occasionally
        covered with them to its thickened base.

     =Taste:= Bitter.

     =Habitat:= Rich woods and copses, often about decaying
        trunks.

PLATE XXIV

[Illustration: SUSPICIOUS BOLETI. BOLETUS ALVEOLATUS. B. FELLEUS.]


[Sidenote: =The crimson Boletus=]

_Boletus alveolatus_.--Pileus smooth and polished, usually rich crimson
or maroon, sometimes varied with paler yellowish tints. Substance
very solid, changing to blue on fracture or bruise. Tube surface deep
dull crimson or maroon, this color not extending the full length of
the pores, which are yellow a short distance above their mouths. The
stem is quite stout and tall for the size of the cap as compared with
other Boleti. It is mottled in yellow and bright red or crimson, and
conspicuously meshed with a network of firm ridges. The spores are
yellowish brown. A conspicuous and easily identified species.


THE VEGETABLE BEEFSTEAK

_Fistulina hepatica_

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

Our next member of the Polyporus order, or tube-bearing fungi, is a
unique member of the fungus tribe, and cannot be mistaken for any
other species. An example of this species is shown in Plate 25, the
_beefsteak_ mushroom--_Fistulina hepatica_. The specimen from which my
drawing was made was found growing at the foot of a chestnut-tree, and
was about nine inches across by about two in greatest thickness. Its
upper surface was dark meaty red or liver colored, somewhat wet, or
viscid and clammy, and its taste slightly acid. The under tube surface
was yellowish white, and, as the section will show, was proportionately
thin--the pores being about one-eighth of an inch in length. The solid
red substance much resembled meat, and in sections was streaked with
darker lines of red, as indicated in plate, somewhat suggesting a
section of beet-root.

[Sidenote: =Savory qualities=]

Though not common in my vicinity, I nevertheless succeed in obtaining
a few specimens during the season. It varies greatly in size and
shape. M. C. Cooke, in his admirable "plain and easy" account of
British fungi, says of it: "When old it affords an excellent gravy, and
when young, if sliced and grilled, would pass for a good beefsteak.
Specimens are now and then met with that would furnish four or five
men with a good dinner, and they have been collected weighing as much
as thirty pounds. The liver, or paler pinkish meaty color, clammy
viscidity, and streaky section are sufficient guides in the recognition
of this species."

[Sidenote: =Culinary preparation=]

It is a highly prized article of diet on the Continent where the arts
of the chef are ingeniously employed in endless recipes for its savory
preparation, often, it would seem, with the main object of obliterating
as far as possible all trace of the delicate flavor of the mushroom
_per se_.

If the reader's experience correspond with the writer's in his
mycological experiments "_à la mode_" he will gladly fall back to the
plain plebeian method of simply broiling over the coals, or frying or
roasting in the pan, with the least possible seasoning of pepper, salt,
and butter, relying upon his mushroom to furnish the predominant zest
and flavor.

Other hints for serving this fungus are given in a later chapter.
Besides the common name of "beefsteak mushroom," it is also known on
the Continent as the "oak tongue," and "chestnut tongue."

[Illustration: _Fistulina hepatica_]

_PLATE XXV_


      THE BEEFSTEAK MUSHROOM

     =Fistulina hepatica=

     =Pileus:= Diameter, average specimen, about six
        inches, occasionally twice or three times this
        size; color varying from pinkish to dark meaty red;
        surface roughened with minute papillæ; soft and
        moist.

     =Flesh:= Light red, streaked with darker red; tender
        and juicy in young specimens; juice light red.

     =Tube surface:= Creamy in color; tubes distinct from
        each other, crowded, very short, as shown in
        section opposite.

     =Stem:= Short or obsolete, growing at the side.

     =Taste:= Slightly acid.

     =Habitat:= On the stumps and trunks of oak and
        chestnut trees.

     =Season:= July-September.

PLATE XXV

[Illustration: FISTULINA HEPATICA.]


THE SULPHUROUS POLYPORUS

_Polyporus sulphureus_

Probably the most conspicuous member of our native polyporei remains
to be considered among the esculents, though until recently it was
included in the black list, Dr. Curtis, of North Carolina, I believe,
having first demonstrated its edibility, though pronouncing it merely
"tolerable."

[Illustration]

The brilliancy of its sulphur-yellow and orange-salmon colors, in
association with its large size, renders it a most conspicuous object,
especially from its habit of growing in dense clusters, often a number
of such clusters in close contiguity upon a decaying stump or prostrate
log, frequently so numerous and so crowded as to completely conceal
the bark beneath, as shown in the accompanying figure, or completely
covering; a space of several square feet.

[Illustration: A YOUNG SPECIMEN]

There lies before me even as I write a fragment of a single cluster
which I plucked yesterday from the trunk of an apparently healthy
red-oak near my studio, the remainder of the clump having been
enjoyed as a special course in my dinner of last evening. In Plate
26 I present a portrait of this specimen, the well-named Sulphur
Polyporus--_Polyporus sulphureus_. It may be found frequently from
July till frost upon its favorite habitat of old trunk, stump, log
water-trough, or fencepost, usually upon wood in the early stages of
decay. A single cluster will often measure a foot in diameter through
its very solid mass of thickened pulpy branches, its early and esculent
stage being thus compact with the subdivisions ascending from their
common thick stem, the mass somewhat suggesting a cauliflower in shape,
as shown in the illustration above.

The general color at this tender stage is pure sulphur-yellow, this
being the ultimate _lower_ or spore surface now exposed by its upright
position. The true upper surface or cap of the later eccentrically
branched fungus is of a bright orange-salmon color, and is mostly
concealed by the crowded growth.

[Sidenote: =A voice in the wilderness=]

The specimen above alluded to would have weighed about two pounds, and
this central mass was so crowded as to afford scarcely a glimpse of the
pinkish-orange pileus surface. Upon showing my specimen to a friend, I
was informed that a certain log by the roadside about two miles distant
was covered with this same kind of fungus, which seemed to be spreading
all over the ground. Doubtless ten or twenty pounds of good nourishing
food was thus going begging by the way-side, even in sight of a rural
homestead, whose lord and master finds the butcher's bill a serious
drain upon his resources.

My plate shows a more open cluster of the fungus in its earlier
stages, the _only_ time when it is fit for food. In this condition
it is tender, succulent, and juicy. In a few days the lobed fringes
or fan-like divisions have lowered and spread out as widely as their
crowded condition will permit, assuming the horizontal or even drooping
position seen at C, and at D in the plate, as viewed from above. The
pileus now being exposed, the fungus presents a deep orange-red or
salmon color to the beholder, its sulphurous-hued pore surface being
turned beneath. Its texture at this adult stage is tough, fibrous, and
almost woody, especially as it approaches the stem, and no one would
think of eating it.

The young specimen, however, is quite delicious and wholesome, and,
considering that a single cluster will afford a dinner for a large
family, its importance as a food product, especially to the farmer or
peasant who finds economy a necessity, is thus manifest. Tasted at
the tip, it yields for the first moment of mastication an acid flavor
recalling that of the _Fistulina hepatica_. This is followed by a
sweet, slightly mucilaginous savor, which, in the realization that
the species is wholesome, will at once prove an invitation to further
experiment with the fungus as food.

[Sidenote: =Texture and quality=]

The texture of the young mushroom will be found to vary in its
different parts, extremely tender at the thickened tuberculated
tips, becoming fibrous as the stem is approached, and increasing in
toughness, in fracture suggesting wood in appearance (see A, Plate
26), and unless the specimen is _very_ young this portion will have
to be excluded from the diet. Excepting this precaution it needs no
preparation for the table, assuming, of course, that the substance is
free from grubs, which will presumably be the case, as I have never
seen this fungus thus infested except in its more advanced woody growth.

[Sidenote: =Methods of cooking=]

I have not as yet satisfied myself as to the best methods of cooking
this polyporus. Fried in butter it has a tendency to become slightly
tough in consistency, in its white stringy fibre as well as in taste
closely suggesting the "white meat" of chicken. It lends itself well
to a stew or ragoût, and might, perhaps, to a curry, the substance
being cut or broken in small pieces and treated after the manner of
meat under similar recipes. Following the hints contained in our
last chapter, many methods of its culinary treatment will suggest
themselves.

[Illustration: _Polyporus sulphureus_]

_PLATE XXVI_


     THE SULPHUROUS POLYPORUS

    =Polyporus sulphureus=

     In the mature specimen the growth is horizontal,
        spreading fan-like from stem, undulating with
        radiating flutings. Upper surface salmon orange
        or orange red, the edge being smooth and unevenly
        thickened with nodule-like prominences. In young
        specimen ascending, under yellow surface outwardly
        exposed.

     =Pore Surface:= Bright sulphur yellow; pores very
        minute.

     =Spores:= Dingy white.

     =Stem:= Very short; a mere close attachment for the
        spreading growth.

     =Taste:= Slightly acid and mucilaginous when raw;
        after cooking somewhat suggesting white meat of
        chicken.

     =Odor:= Suggesting A. campestris.

     =Habitat:=: On tree trunks, particularly oaks, often
        growing in very large clusters.

     _A_. Section of fungus showing fibre.

     _C_. and _D_. Matured specimen.

PLATE XXVI

[Illustration: POLYPORUS SULPHUREUS.]

[Sidenote: =Its ornamental attributes=]

The freely expanded specimen of this species is full of beauty, in
its wavy fan-like form and flowing lines and flutings presenting a
suggestive decorative theme, whether in the branches of painting,
sculpture, or the plastic arts. The pores upon its sulphurous surface
are so minute as to be scarcely visible, but they shed a copious
quantity of whitish spores. The pileus of the dried specimen is
often more or less frosted with minute white crystals--binoxalate of
potash--and the spore surface dulls to the color of buckskin.

[Sidenote: =Luminous by night=]

Another remarkable feature about this fungus, if report be true, is its
visibility by night, not merely from its pale yellow hue, but by an
actual flood of bluish luminous phosphorescent light, the environment
of its haunt in the woods sometimes being lighted up by the effulgence
from its ample mass of growth, a resource not uncommon among the fungi,
and popularly known under the name of "foxfire." This phenomenon is
frequently observable in woods at night, following rainy weather.
An old stump or prostrate log will appear streaked with lines of
brilliant light. If we approach and detach the loosened bark, its back
and the decayed surface of the log thus exposed will prove ablaze in
phosphorescence, whose presence had scarcely been suspected but for the
chance fissures which revealed the telltale streaks. I recall from my
boyhood experience one such midnight episode as this in which, from the
peculiar outline of the fallen trunk and the coincident circumstance
of two approximate dots of brilliant light suggesting the eyes of a
huge puma or tiger, I stood spell-bound with momentary fear, until I
realized that the apparition was only a bugaboo after all. Approaching
in the darkness, I soon laid hold of the rough head of the monster, and
with a strong pull at the mass of bark of which it was composed, laid
bare several square feet of blazing phosphorescence whose only hint
had gleamed through those two imaginary eyes, which proved to be holes
which had disclosed the hidden luminous fungus. One authority describes
a single mass of this phosphorescence as extending the entire length of
a prostrate trunk thirty feet long.

Hawthorne records having made good use of foxfire upon one occasion
when, left in the lurch at night by a canal-boat, he procured a
phosphorescent flambeau which effectually lighted his path for several
miles through the otherwise impassable woods.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _Miscellaneous Fungi_]



Miscellaneous Fungi

The species of fungi thus far described have been confined to the two
great orders of the Agarics and the Polyporei, which include the large
majority of our edible mushrooms and toadstools.

The remainder of my selection in the present chapter comprises
scattered examples from four other orders: Hydnei (Spine-bearers),
Clavariei (Coral-fungi), and the Trichogastres (Puff-balls),
all belonging to the first great division of the Sporifera. The
remaining two species considered--Morel and Helvella, of the order
Elvellacei--are my only representatives of the second grand cohort of
the Sporidiifera, whose botanical characters are described on page 77.

In our previous examples the hymenium or spore-bearing surface has
been disposed upon "gills," as in the Agarics, and on "tubes" in the
Polypores. In the Hydnei group, which we will first consider, this
disseminating surface is spread over _spines_ or _teeth_.

[Illustration: SECTION OF A HYDNUM]

The examples selected from this order are both in the typical genus
Hydnum; and the object of this present book on fungi being especially
the presentation of only such varieties as are conspicuously
self-placarded by some distinctive marks for identification, these
delicious spine-bearing or "hedgehog" mushrooms should of course be
included--a genus which cannot be mistaken for any other, and which
is _instantly_ recognized by its own peculiar character, already
mentioned, its spore surface being beset with _soft, drooping spines_
instead of pores or gills. There are more than a score of species. The
two more or less common with us are the _Hydnum repandum_, in outline
suggesting an ordinary mushroom, and of which the above cut represents
a section, and the _H. caput-medusæ_, or Medusa-head Hydnum. None of
the group is accounted poisonous, though some of them are too tough to
be acceptable as food.

[Illustration: _Hydnum repandum_]

_PLATE XXVII_


      THE HEDGEHOG MUSHROOM

     =Hydnum repandum=

     =Pileus:= Diameter two to five inches, generally
        irregular, with the stem off centre. Color varying
        from pale buff, the typical hue, to a distinct
        bricky red.

     =Spines:= Beneath the cap, one-quarter to one-third
        inch in length; soft, creamy in tint, becoming
        darker in old specimens.

     =Flesh:= Creamy white, solid.

     =Stem:= Often set eccentrically into the cap;
        proportionately thick and short.

     =Taste:= Slightly aromatic.

     =Habitat=: Woods or shaded places in rich soil, often
        in clusters.

     =Season:= Summer and autumn.

PLATE XXVII

[Illustration: HYDNUM REPANDUM.]


THE HEDGEHOG MUSHROOM

_Hydnum repandum_

[Sidenote: =Characters and qualities=]

In this species, figured on Plate 27, bearing somewhat the contour of
an Agaric, the spines are all confined to the lower surface of the
expanded cap. The general color of the upper surface is buff, generally
very pale, occasionally almost white. The spines being of similar hue,
this color and the smoothness of texture have suggested the common
popular English name of "doeskin mushroom." The flesh is firm and
white or creamy, turning brownish when bruised. Its sweet but slightly
pungent or peppery taste when raw disappears in cooking. It is quite
frequent in our woods, and if fresh and free from insects may be eaten
without the slightest hesitation. It is a species highly favored on the
Continent, where the surplus yield is habitually dried and kept for
winter use. The hot flavor of the raw Hydnum was formerly sufficient
to brand it as poisonous, Roques, I believe, having been the first to
demonstrate its edibility, and Dr. Badham to distinguish its mimetic
flavor--"Hydna as good as oysters, which they somewhat resemble in
taste."

[Sidenote: =Variations and varieties=]

Cooke and Berkeley describe a variety of this mushroom having a
distinctly reddish pileus--_H. rufescens_--and Prof. Charles Peck gives
the species quite a range in its color gamut. "Its color may be pale
buff, rusty yellow, pale red, or sienna color." The "pale buff" will
doubtless be found to be the most common. In the variety _rufescens_
the size is smaller and the form more symmetrical, but the general
shape and fringe-toothed spore surface are sufficient to identify the
typical species under any disguise of color.

The cap is occasionally quite symmetrical, suggesting the outline of a
Boletus in profile, but more commonly is irregular and eccentric, with
stem attached towards its side, as indicated in section on previous
page. It may reach the diameter of five inches in a fine specimen.

Its favorite haunt is the open woods, where it may be seen from the
last of June until September, either singly or in clusters, lifting the
dried leaves from their bed, or occasionally barely revealed beneath
them.

But the most important and savory of the entire group of Hydnei is the
species following:


THE MEDUSA HYDNUM

_H. caput-medusæ_

[Sidenote: =A dinner thrown away=]

While driving through the White Mountain Notch, many years ago, I
chanced upon a mass of cream-colored, fringy fungus growing upon a
fallen beech-log by the side of the road. The fungus was then entirely
new to me, and I lost no time in making a sketch of it, with notes.
The growth covered a space possibly eighteen inches wide by eight in
height, and I estimated it would weigh fully five pounds, its most
marked feature being the dense growth of drooping spines. In my limited
knowledge of edible fungi at the time, I cautiously left the specimen
in the woods, afterwards to learn from Dr. Harkness, the mycologist,
that I had "thrown away five pounds of the most delicious fungus meat
known to the epicure." I have since found minor specimens many times,
and can readily understand the enthusiastic encomiums of my connoisseur
friend as to its esculent qualities.

[Illustration: _Hydnum caput-medusæ_]

_PLATE XXVIII_


     THE MEDUSA MUSHROOM

    =Hydnum caput-medusæ=

     =Spines:= The long, soft spines cover the entire
        exposed portion of the fungus, which is disposed
        in fleshy branching divisions, each terminating in
        a "crown" of shorter, drooping teeth. The color is
        pale buff or dark creamy.

     =Stem:= Short, concealed beneath the growth.

     =Taste:= Sweet and aromatic, slightly pungent.

     =Habitat:= Trunks of trees, especially beech.

     =Season:= July to October.

PLATE XXVIII

[Illustration: HYDNUM CAPUT-MEDUSÆ.]

[Illustration: PLATE XXIX.--HYDNUM CAPUT-MEDUSÆ]

[Sidenote: =Haunt and description=]

This species (Plate 28) cannot be confounded with any other; it is of
a dark creamy color, and usually grows sidewise upon dead beech wood
(Plate 29), sometimes in great profusion, especially in the summer. The
soft spines entirely cover the rounded branching protuberances of the
fungus. The upper teeth are short and form a sort of "crown," falling
from which the more and more elongated spines are firmly pendent
beneath, somewhat suggesting as many heads of tiny skye-terriers in
crowded convocation--or a tiny bleached "hedgehog," if you choose.

A fungus bearing such conspicuous characteristics may be gathered and
eaten without fear, assuming the specimen to be fresh and free from
grubs. It will be found an aromatic and savory morsel, though simply
fried in butter and served on toast.

[Sidenote: =Moss-mushroom=]

One other species may be mentioned briefly, the _H. coralloides_, or
Moss-mushroom, which is unfamiliar to the writer, but which Curtis
includes among his edible fungi. It may be found growing sidewise
"on old trunks of living trees," _at first white_, then yellowish,
resembling when young the _chou-fleur_ (cauliflower). From its base,
which is tender and fleshy, spring a large number of flexible branches,
interlaced and assembled in tufts, bearing upon the summit of each of
their divisions an expansion of long points or projections, at first
straight, then pendent, and even curved under, and terminating in
layers. Cordier says that it is "delicate food."

Professor Peck speaks enthusiastically of this species. "It is found
in woods, especially in hilly and mountainous districts, and occurs
during rainy or showery weather from August to October. It is a pretty
fungus, and very attractive to those who are neither botanists nor
fungus eaters, and it is as good as it is beautiful. In our botanical
expeditions in the vast wilderness of the Adirondack region, we were
often obliged to camp in the woods several nights in succession. On
such occasions this fungus sometimes formed a luxurious addition to our
ordinarily simple and sometimes limited bill of fare."

[Sidenote: =Hydnum in the kitchen=]

The Hydnei may be cooked in the same manner as employed for the
ordinary mushroom, or gathered and dried for winter use, a very common
custom on the Continent. Owing to the somewhat firm, compact substance
of these mushrooms they should be cooked _slowly_, in order to preserve
their tenderness. Berkeley recommends that they be "previously" steeped
in hot water. Badham especially favors the Hydnum stew, which he claims
is "an excellent dish with a flavor of oysters." According to the same
authority it yields also a "very good purée." The "oyster" flavor is
recognized in many of the epicurean encomiums on this species. Various
hints as to its culinary treatment will be found in a later chapter.


THE CORAL OR CLUB FUNGUS

_Clavaria_

[Sidenote: =A neglected feast=]

What frequenter of the summer and autumn woods has failed to observe
that occasional dense cluster of creamy-colored, coral-like growth such
as I have indicated at Plate 30, and who has thought to gather up its
fragile, succulent mass with designs on the cook? I have seen clusters
of this fungus so dense and ample as to strikingly suggest a huge
cauliflower, and representing many pounds in weight. But in the absence
of popular appreciation it must needs decay by "whole hundred-weights"
in the woods.

This is the Clavaria, or coral fungus--more literally translated,
though less appropriate to this particular species, "club fungus"--a
representative of a genus containing many edible species.

The one presented in the Plate is _Clavaria formosa_, or the elegant
Clavaria. It grows from four to six inches in height, is deep creamy
yellow or pale orange buff in color, and slightly reddish at tips
of branches. It has a sweet taste, a fragile, brittle consistency,
and white substance; its spores are pale-ochre colored. Curtis gives
thirteen edible native species. Among them are the following, which
hardly call for severe technical description, as the entire group are
doubtless edible:

[Illustration: THE WHITE CORAL FUNGUS]

[Sidenote: =Clavaria coralloides=]

The _true_ "coral fungus"--_Clavaria coralloides_--of our woods
resembles _C. formosa_ in general shape, but its color is _white_, or
perhaps pale gray. Its thick stem is hollow, and its uneven, crowded
branches are brittle and flesh-white. Its odor is like that of the
_Agaricus campestris_, and it possesses a sweet, pleasant flavor.
Cordier recommends it as eatable even when raw. This species is in
great favor in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, where it is desiccated
for winter use.

[Illustration: _Clavaria formosa_]

_PLATE XXX_


      THE CORAL FUNGUS

     =Clavaria formosa=

     Thickly branched from a stout pale base, the dense
        branchlets being tipped with two or three minute
        teeth.

     =Color:= Saffron yellow. Tips generally darker and
        more rosy.

     =Flesh:= White.

     =Spores:= Ochre-tinted.

     =Taste:= Sweet, tender, and delicate.

     =Height:= Four to six inches.

     =Habitat:= Woods.

PLATE XXX

[Illustration: CLAVARIA FORMOSA.]

[Illustration: C.flava C.stricta C.umbrina C.rugosa C.amethystina

PLATE XXXI.--VARIOUS FORMS OF CLAVARIA]

[Sidenote: =Clavaria fastigiata=]

_Clavaria fastigiata_ is a somewhat dwarf variety, usually found on
lawns and pastures, seldom reaching a height of more than two inches.
In general aspect it resembles Fig. 3 in Plate 31. It is of a yellow
color, very densely branched from its short, slender stem close to the
ground, the branches mostly terminating at the same height.

[Sidenote: =White-spored species edible=]

All of the above-mentioned species, except _C. formosa_, have _white
spores_, and while none of the genus is considered poisonous, though
some are so bitter and of such tough consistency as to make them unfit
for food, it is generally conceded among the authorities that _all
white-spored_ Clavarias _are certainly edible_. The spores are easily
obtained by simply laying the fungus upon a dark surface and excluding
the air, as directed in a later chapter.

The various forms assumed by the Clavarei are indicated in Plate 31.

Fig. 1 is _C. flava_; 2. _C. stricta_; 3. _C. umbrina_; 4. _C. rugosa_;
5. _C. amethystina_. Any specimen bearing resemblance to any of these
in form, and which is found to have _white_ spores, may be eaten
without fear.

The Clavaria forms a most inviting relish by the simple process of
frying in butter, with seasoning to taste. They have the advantage of
being quite free from "fungus-worms," and in the larger species are
occasionally so plentiful that a half-bushel may be gathered in a few
moments.

Another species bearing the general shape suggested in Plate 31, fig.
1, is the _C. botrytis_. It has a thick, fleshy trunk and swollen
branches. Its substance is very brittle; color creamy-yellow, with
red-tipped branchlets. It is found in woods.


THE MOREL

_Morchella esculenta_

In decided contrast to any of the foregoing fungi, and of unmistakable
aspect, is the famous Morel, _Morchella esculenta_ (Plate 32).

[Sidenote: =Botanical characters=]

The Morel belongs to a cohort of fungi known as the Sporidiifera, in
which the spores are _enclosed in bag-like envelopes_, in distinction
to the Sporifera, in which the spores are _naked_ and _exposed_, as
shown in Plates 35 and 36. These cysts, or bags, or _asci_, which
resemble the _cystidium_ in Plate 35, and in the family of Ascomycetes,
to which the Morel belongs, each contains about eight spores, which
are finally liberated by the bursting of the tip of the bag, after the
manner of a Puff-ball.

In the Morel the hymenium or spore-bearing surface is crowded with
these cysts, and covers the entire exposed conical and pitted surface
of the mushroom.

Description is hardly necessary with its portrait before us. No
other fungus at all resembles it except those of the same genus, and
inasmuch as they are _all edible_, we may safely add to our bill of
fare any fungus which resembles our illustration. The Morel has long
been considered as one of the rarest of delicacies, always at a fancy
premium in the markets--a _bon-mot_ for the rich, a prize for the
peasant. I could fill all my allotted space with the delicate schemes
of the chefs in its preparation for the table.

[Illustration: _Morchella esculenta_]

_PLATE XXXII_


      THE MOREL

     =Morchella esculenta=

     =Pileus:= Oval, elliptical, or round in outline;
        diameter one inch to three inches in a large
        specimen; hollow. Color pale yellowish brown,
        varying to greenish; surface more or less regularly
        honey-combed with deep depressions.

     =Stem:= Hollow, dingy white, united to the base of
        pileus.

     =Taste:= Sweet and pleasant.

     =Habitat:= Woods, orchards, and shaded grassy places.

     =Season:= May and June.

PLATE XXXII

[Illustration: MORCHELLA ESCULENTA.]

Dr. Badham's recommendation, among my list of recipes, is worth a trial
for the sake of novelty, if nothing more. The hollow shape of our Morel
thus suggests a variation on the conventional methods of cooking.

The color of the Morel in its prime is grayish-green, occasionally
brownish. It is most commonly found in orchards, and is said to favor
spots where charcoal or cinders have been thrown.


HELVELLA

_Helvella crispa_

[Sidenote: =Specific characters=]

One of the most strikingly individual of all the mushrooms, and one
which could not possibly be confounded with any other kind, is the
example pictured in Plate 33. With this mere portrait as our guide,
we might safely classify our specimen--at least, as to its genus;
and inasmuch as no one of the group is poisonous, and all are edible
with varying degrees of esculence, we can make no mistake even in our
ventures as amateur mycophagists. When, therefore, we find a fungus
with such a peculiar, irregularly fluted and hollowed stem, itself
hollow within, or tubular, and surmounted with a rather thin, flexible,
wavy cap, resembling our illustration, we may know that we have a
specimen of Helvella. If this example happens to be creamy above and
ochre-colored beneath, it is the _Helvella crispa_ of our Plate. The
specimen here shown is somewhat larger than in nature. Other species
are differently formed and colored, one of them having the cap dark
ash-colored or even black. There are three species occasionally met
with, of which the first, _H. crispa_, is the most common and perhaps
the most delectable.

[Sidenote: =Dried mushrooms=]

The peculiar texture of these mushrooms permits of their ready
desiccation, and in Britain and on the Continent they are commonly
strung on strings and dried for future use, in which condition they
have been compared to dried "wash-leather" in texture. The famous
aristocratic Morel (_Morchella esculenta_), already described, so
prized as food in Europe, and to which the Helvella is closely allied,
has a similar irregular, pitted, hollowed, and netted surface over
its entire conical or globular gray cap, and the same texture. Most
competent judges claim that the delicious Morel possesses no advantages
over the more plebeian Helvella as a delicacy for the table. The flavor
is identical, and the other qualities of the two mushrooms make them
equally desirable.

The readiness with which they may be dried, and thus kept indefinitely,
is another distinct advantage which the Morels and Helvellas possess
over the ordinary gilled Agarics, many of which must be gathered in
their young prime and immediately eaten.

There are numerous ways of serving these fungi, among which is the
common method of frying with butter or oil, and variously seasoning
with onion, garlic, herbs, etc., according to taste, and serving on
toast, or with crisped bread-crumbs. Our chapter on recipes will
suggest other more elaborate methods.

[Illustration: _Helvella crispa_]

_PLATE XXXIII_


     THE WHITE HELVELLA

    =Helvella crispa=

     =Pileus:= Two to three inches in diameter; wavy or
        curled, reflexed at edges, often puckered towards
        centre; white or pale creamy; somewhat leathery in
        texture in older specimens.

     =Spore surface:= On underside of cap, ochraceous.

     =Stem:= White, more or less furrowed with vertical
        hollows.

     =Taste:= Similar to Morel, to which it is closely
        allied.

     =Habitat:= Woods.

     =Season:= Summer and autumn.

PLATE XXXIII

[Illustration: HELVELLA CRISPA.]


PUFF-BALLS

_Lycoperdaceæ_

[Illustration: SECTION OF PUFF-BALL--EARLIER AND LATER STAGES]

A detailed discrimination of the Puff-balls is hardly necessary here,
and I will therefore omit it. While I am not inclined to go so far
as to contend, as was the quaint habit of old Dr. Culpeper, in his
_Herbal_, in which he was wont similarly to elude description of an
herb, affirming that "he were a fool indeed who does not know this
plant"--or words of similar import--it is perfectly safe to say that
if there is one fungus more than another with which the populace is
_specifically_ familiar it is the Puff-ball.

[Sidenote: =Spore-cloud dissemination=]

In these fungi, of which there are many species, the spores are
incased within the white or dingy peridium or more or less globular
case--_gasteromyceteæ_, from _gaster_, a stomach. The interior spore
substance is at first white and firm in structure, at length peppered
with gray, both conditions being indicated in accompanying cut, and
ultimately black or brown, after which the outer case becomes dry
and papery, and soon bursts at the summit, liberating its clouds
of spores with the slightest zephyr, or, later, becoming dislodged
from its slender anchorage to the soil, is whisked before the breeze
enveloped in its spore-smoke. Fries, the eminent fungologist, has
reckoned the number of these spores in a single Puff-ball at ten
millions--presumably a conservative estimate.

But it will surprise most people to know that the plebeian Puff-ball of
our pastures is good for something besides the kick of the small boy.

There are a number of species of the Puff-ball, and none of them is
known to be poisonous.

[Sidenote: =Various species=]

I have indicated an arbitrary group in Plate 34 ranging in shape and
size from the small white globular variety of an inch in diameter, _L.
saccatum_, and the pear-shaped _L. gemmatum_, to the giant pasture
species, which may frequently attain the dimensions of a football or a
bushel basket. In its larger dimensions it is more spreading in shape,
being somewhat wider than high. _All the Puff-balls are edible_ if
gathered at the _white stage--i.e._, white pulp; those of yellow or
darker fracture being excluded, as the fungus in this later stage is
not considered fit for food.

[Illustration: _A group of Puff-balls_]

_PLATE XXXIV_


     A GROUP OF PUFF-BALLS

    =Lycoperdaceæ=

The group opposite represents three species. The largest, _L.
giganteum_; the pear-shaped, _L. gemmatum_; and the small, round _L.
saccatum_.

     _L. giganteum._ The largest species. Diameter ten to
        twenty-five inches; often more spreading in shape
        than specimen shown; surface smooth; stem hardly
        apparent; color dingy white in the edible state,
        at which time the solid flesh is also white. Spore
        dust, at maturity, yellowish brown. Grows in fields
        and pastures.

     _L. gemmatum._ Stem prolonged and tapering from above,
        suggesting the specific name pear-shaped; color
        dingy white; surface covered with deciduous warts;
        substance, young state, white; spore dust brown;
        height two to three inches.

     _L. saccatum._ Stemless; white; setting close to the
        ground; one to two inches in diameter; surface
        covered with loose, warty granules; substance,
        young state, white; spore dust brown.

     These and all other Puff-balls are edible in the young
        condition when the pulp is white.

PLATE XXXIV

[Illustration: A GROUP OF PUFF-BALLS. LYCOPERDON GIGANTEUM. L.
GEMMATUM. L. SACCATUM.]

[Sidenote: =Esculent qualities=]

Of the esculent qualities of the larger species, _Lycoperdon
giganteum_, we may judge from the statement of a connoisseur: "Sliced
and seasoned in butter and salt, and fried in the pan, no French
omelette is half as good in richness and delicacy of flavor." M. C.
Cooke, the British authority, says of it: "In its young and pulpy
condition it is excellent eating, and indeed has but few competitors
for the place of honor at the table." Other epicurean suggestions will
be found in a later page. Occasionally in its plenitude, especially
during August and September, single clusters will be found which would
afford a meal for a large family.

Other species, more or less frequent, are the _L. separans_, whose
outer epidermis cracks off in flakes at maturity; _L. cyathiforme_, or
cup-shaped Lycoperdon, a large species with distinctly purplish smoke
so familiar to us all, the final cup-shaped remnant of its case having
suggested its name. The larger specimens will be found the more fully
flavored.

[Sidenote: =Closing words of caution=]

There is but one danger which would seem to be possible with reference
to the use of the Puff-ball as food within the restrictions already
given, and that is, the remote contingency--assumable only on the
supposition of most careless observation--of confounding the white ball
with the globular condition of the Amanita (see Plate 2, fig. 1), or
other fungi of the same deadly group, which are similarly enclosed in a
spherical volva in their early stages.

But inasmuch as this spherical period of the Amanita is usually spent
underground and out of sight, and the merest glance at its contents
would at once reveal the folded form of the enclosed mushroom, it
would hardly seem necessary to warn the intelligent reader. But "once
warned, twice armed;" and for absolute safety the tyro would do well
to open every specimen, and be sure of its even, white, homogeneous
substance before turning it over to the cook.

There are a number of other esculent species of fungi as easily
available and enjoyable as those already described, but the scheme
of the volume would hardly warrant their inclusion. Even though
the element of danger is practically eliminated, so far as the
identification of the foregoing fungi is concerned, it is still wise
for the amateur to proceed with caution until he has absolutely
_learned_ the individual species in their various forms of development.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _Spore-prints_]



Mushroom Spore-prints


[Sidenote: =Puff-ball spore-clouds=]

Our common dusty Puff-ball, floating its faint trail of smoke in the
breeze from the ragged flue at its dome-shaped roof as from an elfin
tepee, or perhaps enveloping our feet in its dense purple cloud as
we chance to step upon it in the path, is familiar to every one. To
the mycophagist connoisseur, on the alert for every delectable fungus
morsel for his fastidious appetite, the Puff-ball is indeed pleasantly
familiar, though a specimen in such a powdery stage as the above is
apt to bring only regrets that its discovery has been thus delayed,
for in its earlier firm white stage he knows it at his table as a most
delicate entrée of "mock omelet."

The old-time country physician gathered its powdery bag and carefully
preserved it for another purpose, its spongy, dusty contents having
been a time-honored remedy as a styptic, or for the arrest of
hemorrhage from wounds. But by no class of the community perhaps is it
so enthusiastically welcomed as by the small boy, to whom it is always
a challenge for a kick and a consequent demonstration of smoke worthy
of a Fourth-of-July celebration.

A week ago this glistening gray bag, so free with its dust-puff at the
slightest touch, was solid in substance and as white as cottage cheese
in the fracture. In this condition, sliced and fried, it would have
proven a veritable delicacy upon our table, quite suggesting an omelet
in consistency and flavor, and in size also, if perchance we had been
favored with one of the larger specimens, which frequently approaches
the dimensions of a football.

[Sidenote: =Development of spores=]

But in a later stage this clear white fracture would have appeared
speckled or peppered with gray spots (see page 271), and the next day
entirely gray and much softened, and, later again, brown and apparently
in a state of decay. But this is not _decay_. This moist brown mass
by evaporation becomes powdery, and the Puff-ball is now _ripe_, and
preparing for posterity.

[Sidenote: =Buoyant spore-atoms=]

[Sidenote: =Number of spores=]

Each successive squeeze, as we hold it between our fingers, yields
its generous response in a puff of brown smoke, which melts away
apparently into air. But the Puff-ball does not thus end in mere smoke.
This vanishing purple cloud is composed of tiny atoms, so extremely
minute as to require the aid of a powerful microscope to reveal their
shapes. Each one of these atoms, so immaterial and buoyant as to be
almost without gravity, floating away upon the slightest breath, or
even wafted upward by currents of warm air from the heated earth, has
within itself the power of reproducing another clump of Puff-balls, if
only fortune shall finally lodge it in congenial soil. These spores
are thus analogous to the seeds of ordinary plants. The number of these
vital atoms or spores in a single Puff-ball is almost past computation.
Fries, however, an eminent fungologist, went to some pains to estimate
this number, and, referring to a certain puff-ball, says: "The spores
are infinite. In a single individual of _Reticularia maxima_ I have
reckoned ten millions so subtle as to resemble thin smoke as light
as if raised by evaporation, and dispersed in so many ways--by the
sun's attraction, by insects, by adhesion and elasticity--that it is
difficult to conceive the spots from which they could be excluded."

[Sidenote: =Spore-cloud from mushrooms=]

We have seen the myriad-fold dispersion of its potential atoms in the
cloud of spore-smoke, but who ever thinks of a spore-cloud from a
mushroom or a toadstool? Yet the method of the Puff-ball is followed
by all the other fungi, with only less conspicuousness. The Puff-ball
gives a visible salute, but any one of the common mushrooms or
toadstools will afford us a much prettier and more surprising account
of itself if we but give it the opportunity. This big yellow toadstool
out under the poplar-tree--its golden cap studded with brownish
scurfy warts, its under surface beset with closely plaited laminæ or
gills--who could ever associate the cloud of dry smoke with this moist,
creamy-white surface? We may sit here all day and watch it closely, but
we shall see no sign of anything resembling smoke or dust, albeit a
filmy emanation is continually eluding us, floating away from beneath
its golden cap, the eager breeze taking such jealous care of the
continual shower that our eyes fail to perceive a hint of it.

[Sidenote: =Catching the spores=]

Do you doubt it? You need wait but a few moments for a visible
demonstration of the fact in a pretty experiment, which, when once
observed, will certainly be resorted to as a frequent pastime in
leisure moments when the toadstool or mushroom is available.

[Sidenote: =A spore-portrait=]

Here is a very ordinary-looking specimen growing beside the stone
steps at our back door perhaps. Its top is gray, its gills beneath are
fawn-colored. We may shake it as rudely as we will, and yet we shall
get no response such as the Puff-ball will give us. But let us lay it
upon a piece of white paper, gills downward, on the mantel, and cover
it with a tumbler or finger-bowl, so as to absolutely exclude the least
admission of air. At the expiration of five minutes, perhaps, we may
detect a filmy pinkish-yellow tint on the paper, following beneath the
upraised border of the cap, like a shadow faintly lined with white.
In a quarter of an hour the tinted deposit is perceptible across the
room, and in an hour, if we carefully raise the mushroom, the perfect
spore-print is revealed in all its beauty--a spore-tint portrait of
the under surface of the mushroom--a pink-brown disk with a white
centre, which indicates the point of contact of the cut stem, and white
radiating lines, representing the edges of the thin gills, many of them
as fine and delicate as a cobweb.

Every fresh species experimented with will yield its surprise in the
markings and color of the prints.

[Illustration: MAKING THE PRINT]

These spore-deposits are, of course, fugitive, and will easily rub off
at the slightest touch. But inasmuch as many of these specimens, either
from their beauty of form or exquisite color, or for educational or
scientific purposes, it will be desirable to preserve, I append simple
rules for the making and "fixing" of the prints by a process which was
original with the writer, and which he has found most effective for
their preservation.

[Sidenote: =Making and fixing spore-prints=]

[Sidenote: =Various colors of spores=]

Take a piece of smooth white writing-paper and coat its surface evenly
with a thin solution of gum-arabic, dextrine, or other mucilage, and
allow it to dry. Pin this, gummed side uppermost, to a board or table,
preferably over a soft cloth, so that it will lie perfectly flat. To
insure a good print the mushroom specimen should be fresh and firm,
and the gills or spore-surface free from breaks or bruises. Cut the
stem off about level with the gills, lay the mushroom, spore-surface
downward, upon the paper, and cover with a tumbler, finger-bowl,
or other vessel with a smooth, even rim, to absolutely exclude the
slightest ingress of air. After a few hours, perhaps even less, the
spores will be seen through the glass on the paper at the extreme edge
of the mushroom, their depth of color indicating the density of the
deposit. If we now gently lift the glass, and with the utmost care
remove the fungus, perhaps by the aid of pins previously inserted, in
a _perfectly vertical_ direction, without the slightest side motion,
the spore-print in all its beauty is revealed--perhaps a rich brown
circular patch with exquisite radiating white lines, marking the
direction and edges of the gills, if an Agaric; perhaps a delicate
pink, more or less clouded disk, here and there distinctly and finely
honey-combed with white lines, indicating that our specimen is one
of the polypores, as a Boletus. Other prints will yield rich golden
disks, and there will be prints of varying red, lilac, green, orange,
salmon-pink, and brown and purple, variously lined in accordance with
the nature of their respective parent gills or pores.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV.--SPORE-SURFACE OF AN AGARIC]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI.--SPORE-SURFACE OF POLYPORUS (BOLETUS)]

[Sidenote: =Invisible prints=]

[Sidenote: =Fixing the print=]

Occasionally we shall look in vain for our print, which may signify
that our specimen had already scattered its spores ere we had found
it, or, what is more likely, that the spores are _invisible_ upon the
paper, owing to their whiteness, in which case black or colored paper
must be substituted for the white ground, when the spores will be
beautifully manifest in a white tracery upon the darker background. One
of these, from the _Amanita muscarius_, is reproduced in Plate 37. If
the specimen is left too long, the spore-deposit is continued upward
between the gills, and may reach a quarter of an inch in height, in
which case, if extreme care in lifting the cap is used, we observe a
very realistic counterfeit of the gills of the mushroom in high relief
upon the paper. A print of this kind is of course very fragile, and
must be handled with care. But a comparatively slight deposit of the
spores, without apparent thickness, will give us the most perfect
print, while at the same time yielding the full color. Such a print may
also be fixed by our present method so as to withstand considerable
rough usage, by laying the paper upon a wet towel until the moisture
has penetrated through and reached the gum. The spores are thus set,
and, upon drying the paper, are securely fixed. Indeed, the moisture
exuded by the confined fungus beneath the glass is often sufficient to
set the spores.

A number of prints may be obtained successively from a single specimen
gathered at its fruitful prime.

[Sidenote: =Agarics and Polypores=]

To those of my readers interested in the science of this spore-shower
I give illustrations of examples of the two more common groups of
mushrooms--the Agaric, or gilled mushroom, and the Polyporus, or
tube-bearing mushroom. The entire surface of both gills and pores is
lined with the spore-bearing membrane or hymenium, the spores being
produced in fours from each of the crowded sporophores, and, where all
air is absolutely excluded, permitting them to fall directly beneath
their point of departure as indicated; in the case of the Agaric, in
radiating lines in correspondence with the spaces between the gills;
and in Polyporus, directly beneath the opening of each pore, whose
inner surface is lined with the sporophores, as shown in Plate 36.

[Sidenote: =Spore-mist from an Agaric=]

This dust-shower is continuous in nature after the perfect ripening of
the spores, but it is almost impossible to conceive of such an entire
absence of moving air under natural conditions as to permit even a
visible hint of the spore-shower to appear beneath its respective
fungus. An exception to this rule is sometimes to be seen in fungi of
massed growth--as, for example, beneath such a cluster as that shown on
page 147. Indeed, a correspondent recently described such a cluster as
"enveloped in a mist of its own spores floating away in the apparently
still air."

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII.--SPORE-PRINT OF AMANITA MUSCARIUS]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII.--ACTION OF SLIGHT DRAUGHT ON SPORES]

[Sidenote: =Affected by a pin-hole draft=]

In Plate 38 is shown a spore-print with a peculiar elongated tail. Such
was the specimen which I observed when lifting the pasteboard box which
had been placed above the mushroom to absolutely exclude the air. The
explanation was simple when I discerned that the tapering elongation
pointed directly to a tiny hole in the box barely larger than a
knitting-needle.

[Illustration: FUNGUS SPORES]

The greatest portion of the myriads of spores are wafted to the ends
of the earth, and form an important element in the so-called "dust" so
unwelcome to the tidy housewife. A sticky glass slide exposed to the
deposit of such dust, and placed beneath the microscope, will reveal
many fungus spores. The air is full of them.

A few of the various characteristic forms of these fungus-spores is
shown on a previous page, somewhat as a powerful microscope would
reveal them to us.

[Sidenote: =Whims of habitat=]

But it is only as they chance to alight individually in congenial
conditions for growth that they will consent to vegetate. Thus billions
of them are doomed to perish without progeny. These whims of habitat
among the fungi are almost past belief. Here, for instance, is a
tiny Puff-ball hardly larger than the period on this page. It bursts
at the summit, and sheds its puff of microscopic spores, so light
as to be without gravity, floating and settling everywhere upon the
earth, but only as they chance to alight upon the spines of a _dead
chestnut-burr_ of two years' decay will they find heart to grow. Such
is the fastidiousness of the little white mushroom, whose globular caps
dot the spines of the decaying chestnut-burrs in so many damp nooks in
the woods.

[Sidenote: =Curious fastidiousness=]

In closing my chapter a glance at the further eccentricities of choice
will not be inopportune. I append a few taken at random from the pages
of Berkeley, which lie open before me. In addition to the general broad
distinctions of habitat as "woods," "rotten wood," "old pastures,"
"dunghills," we find such fastidious selections as the following, each
by a distinct species with its own individual whim: "Dead fir-cones,
sawdust, beechnuts, plaster walls, old fermenting coffee-grounds,
wheat ears, cinders, dead oak leaves, old linen, wheat bread, hoofs,
feathers, decayed rope, fat, microscopic lenses, and damp carpets."

A complete list of these exclusive habitats of fungi would well fill a
large book, and might indeed almost involve the "index" of our botanies
and zoologies, to say nothing of organic substances generally.

[Sidenote: =House-fly fungus=]

Plants, both living and dead, are favorite habitats for various
species. The old stems of the common European nettle, according to
Cooke, becomes the host of about thirty distinct species of the
minute fungi. The toadstool itself is often the victim of other minor
species. Insects are a frequent prey. The wasp succumbs to its special
fungus parasite, which has formed a home within its body, and the
common house-fly is seen in the toils of its similar enemy, as it
hangs helpless by its proboscis upon the window-pane, enveloped in
the winding-sheet of white mould from the fungus which has done its
work within the insect's body. Spiders, locusts, ants, cicadæ, and
presumably all insects, are subject to similar fate from their especial
parasitic fungi. The fungus thus often comes to the rescue of afflicted
humanity in regulating the undue increase of insect pests. Here is
a pretty, slender, orange, pointed mushroom growing in the moss. We
pluck it from its bed, and it brings to the surface a chrysalis,
with the dead moth distinctly seen within the cavity from which its
roots spring. When we next come upon this species in the moss, we may
confidently predict the discovery of this same species of chrysalis.

[Sidenote: =Edible caterpillar fungi=]

A similar long, slender fungus springs from the head of a caterpillar
in New Zealand, and at length almost absorbs the insect's body. A
similar species upon another caterpillar is carefully collected and
desiccated by the Chinese, with whom it forms an important article in
their native pharmacopœia, and, moreover, it seems, may be perhaps
appropriately included among the "edibles," for are we not assured by
these expert and indiscriminate epicures of the chopsticks that this
species "makes an excellent dressing for roast duck."

[Illustration]

[Illustration: _Recipes_]


     Concerning "Mushromes and Tadstoles"

     "And now for that our fine mouthed and daintie wantons who set
     such store by their tooth; take so great delight to dress this
     only dish with their own hands, that they may feed thereon
     in conceit and cogitation all the while they be handling and
     preparing the same, furnished in this their businesse with their
     fine knives and razors of amber and other vessels of silver about
     them.

     "I for my part also am content to frame and accomodate myself
     to their humourous fancie and will shew unto them in generall
     certaine observations and rules how to order and use them that
     they may be eaten with securitie."

                              PLINIUS SECUNDUS.



Recipes

The earnest plea of Dr. Badham for this neglected--rather, I may say,
spurned--spontaneous harvest of fungi is well worth emphasizing in
our pages; affording, as it does, a most suggestive commentary on the
universal popular ignorance, so far as America is concerned, of the
economic value of this perennial offering of Nature, which abounds in
such luxuriance throughout our continent.

[Sidenote: =The spurned harvest=]

"I have this autumn myself," he writes, "witnessed whole
hundred-weights of rich, wholesome diet rotting under trees; woods
teeming with food, and not one hand to gather it; and this, perhaps, in
the midst of a potato-blight, poverty, and all manner of privations,
and public prayers against imminent famine.

[Sidenote: =The comprehensive fungus=]

"I have, indeed, grieved, when I have reflected on the straitened
condition of the lower classes this year, to see pounds innumerable of
extempore beefsteaks growing on our oaks in the shape of _Fistulina
hepatica_; _Agaricus fusipes_, to pickle, in clusters under them;
Puff-balls, which some of our friends have not inaptly compared
to sweetbreads for delicacy of their unassisted flavor; Hydna, as
good as oysters, which they somewhat resemble in taste; _Agaricus
deliciosus_, reminding us of tender lamb kidneys; the beautiful
yellow Chantarelle, that _kalon kaigothon_ of diet, growing by the
bushel, and no basket but our own to pick up a few specimens on our
way; the sweet, nutty-flavored Boletus, in vain calling himself
'_edulis_' where there was none to believe him; the dainty Orcella;
the _Agaricus heterophyllus_, which tastes like a crawfish when
grilled; the _Agaricus ruber_, and _Agaricus virescens_, to cook in
any way and equally good in all--these are the most conspicuous of the
_trouvailles_."

[Sidenote: =A reliable crop=]

His remarks applied to Great Britain, and reflected a popular disdain
of fungi, which presented a marked contrast to the appreciation of the
mushroom of the Continent, where the fungus had become the much-sought
_bonne bouche_ of the epicure, and the welcome reliance of the peasant
poor, to whom it afforded a perfect substitute for the desideratum of
animal food commonly denied them by their circumstances.

[Sidenote: =The fungus specialist=]

This plea of Dr. Badham's is even more pointedly pertinent to the
America of the present than it was for his own country at the time;
for while, in Great Britain, the mycophagist epicure was even then
occasionally to be met with, in America to-day this particular
gastronomic specialist is locally conspicuous, or rather notorious,
from his very rarity, being popularly considered as a sort of
dangerous crank, who should be conservatively muzzled by the
authorities, for the safety of himself as well as the public.

[Sidenote: =Mycophagist missionaries=]

In the absence of any adequate popular guide to this great food
resource, it may be hoped that this present work may afford not merely
an occasional dainty entrée to the menu of the luxurious epicure,
but--a far more important consideration--a means of bringing the fungus
within reach of the less-favored masses as a never-failing dependence
for their daily food.

Dr. Badham's further pertinent remarks are worth quoting, in this
connection, with emphasis: "As soon as the reader is initiated in this
class of dainties he will, I am persuaded, lose no time in making
the discovery known to the poor of his neighborhood; while in so
doing he will render an important service to the country at large,
by instructing the indigent and ignorant in the choice of an ample,
wholesome, and excellent article, which they may convert into money or
consume at their own tables, when properly prepared, throughout the
winter."

[Sidenote: =A suggestive statement=]

Concerning the lavish plenitude of the fungus as a food resource, a
passage from a letter of the late Dr. Curtis, of North Carolina, to the
Rev. J. M. Berkeley, of England, many years ago, is most significant:
"Of this latter quality I had become so well convinced that, during
our late war, I sometimes averred--and I doubt if there was much, if
any, exaggeration in the assertion--that in some parts of the country
I could maintain a regiment of soldiers five months in the year upon
mushrooms alone." A statement which doubtless will appear extravagant
to those who have been accustomed to consider the one common "mushroom"
as the only esculent among the fungi.

[Sidenote: =Nutritious properties=]

As already mentioned previously in my pages, the fungus affords a
perfect substitute, chemically and gastronomically, for animal food.
The analysis of its substance is almost identical with that of meat,
being especially rich in nitrogenous elements, while its flavor and
aroma and texture, as served for the table, occasionally so closely
imitate that of flesh food as to be actually deceptive. Even in its raw
state it would occasionally seem to suggest the same animal similarity.
As an illustration, I recall the following striking instance of
gastronomic discrimination in a carnivorous appetite, as exemplified in
a full-grown pet hawk which I had tethered near my country studio.

[Sidenote: =A discriminating hawk=]

One day, returning from a toadstool hunt, she observed me approaching
with a basketful of mushrooms. They were mostly of the fleshy Boleti
species. Supposing that I was bringing her food, she became very
demonstrative in her actions, eying me most eagerly, and uttering
that peculiar low squeal which seemed to emanate from the region of
her appetite. As she approached me, thinking to satisfy her that the
basket contained nothing suitable for hawk-food, I tossed her one of
the largest of the mushrooms, which she almost caught in mid-air in
her talons. Such was the strength of her clutch that the fungus was
scattered in fragments upon the ground, when what was my surprise
to observe the bird proceed from one fragment to another in a most
ravenous manner, exhibiting all those tactics habitual to the hawk with
live prey--the lowering and outspreading of the wings and tail against
the ground, the raising of the neck feathers, and the same defiant,
defensive mien which she had so often shown on previous occasions when
a mouse or a squirrel had been the object of her solicitude. Having
eaten the first fungus, I threw her another, which she devoured with
the same eagerness, and another, and another, until she had taken
five, and her crop was as large as a pint cup; after which she betook
herself quietly to her roost on the rail near by, evidently under the
supposition that she had broken her fast with a sumptuous meal of
rabbit or squirrel flesh.

[Sidenote: =Fish, flesh, and fowl=]

The _Agaricus ostreatus_ is known as the "vegetable oyster "--its
flavor in a stew quite closely simulating the flavor of the bivalve;
another fungus as the "beefsteak mushroom"--not without good reason;
the _Polyporus sulphureus_ distinctly suggests the flesh and flavor
of chicken; others, as we have seen, resemble kidneys and sweetbread;
while the _Agaricus ulmarius_ of the elm would seem entitled to its
popular name of "fish-mushroom," from the following incident related by
Palmer:

"I recently sent some elm-tree mushrooms to a family where the youngest
member is but twenty-one months of age. At breakfast-time she noticed
the strange dish, and her father gave her a small piece. 'More fish!
more fish!' was the instant response."

[Sidenote: =A boon to the vegetarian=]

Indeed, the vegetarian may humor his humane whim, and still enjoy
fish, flesh, and fowl at his table without a qualm of conscience in
a menu which, in aroma, quality, and flavor, might well deceive his
unconverted omnivorous brother, only at last to win his encomium
to the glory of the _multum in parvo_ fungus. The possibilities in
this direction are suggested in my appended hints for a menu for the
vegetarian.

In my previous pages I have made occasional reference to the more
simple methods of preparation of certain species of fungi for the
table, but have reserved extended reference to culinary treatment for
the present chapter.

[Sidenote: =Fungi in the kitchen=]

For the benefit of those of my readers who may desire to "humour
their delicate fancie" to the full, with the result of a more or less
complete disguise of the characteristic mushroom flavor through the
arts which are supposed to "assist nature," I append a selected list
of favorite recipes for such alleged appetizing sophistication of
the mushroom. Many of them will be found equally applicable to other
species than that for which they are nominally recommended, especially
if such species should possess the same general character as to
consistency.

The author confesses that he is not in thorough sympathy with the
general trend of these ingeniously contrived lures to dyspepsia,
whose contemplation may well awaken a sympathetic appreciation of that
antique philosophic epigram, "There are as many diseases as cooks"--the
discriminating impeachment of Seneca regarding the "_chef à la mode_."

[Sidenote: =De gustibus non est disputandum=]

But doubtless the author will be overwhelmingly overruled in his
hypercriticisms, and will remain one of a select discriminating
minority in continued genuine enjoyment of his _mushrooms_, while the
majority of his proselytes to mycophagy will in vain endeavor to detect
the mushroom flavor in the obliterating disguise concocted in the
kitchen or instigated by the mischievous "receipt-book."

Indeed, the prominence of the spice, clove, nutmeg, thyme, tarragon,
and pepper ingredient in most of these "favorite recipes," to say
nothing of the champagne, onion, garlic, lemon-juice, cayenne, anchovy,
etc., with which the delicately flavored mushrooms are so generally
sophisticated in these culinary preparations, would seem to warrant
our scepticism as to the value of the epicurean testimony as to the
"superior flavor," of the various "Champignons," "Chantarelles," etc.,
so confidently recommended. The juice of a lemon, or oil of lemon-peel,
will absolutely annihilate the peculiar characteristic "fungus" flavor
of the average mushroom. The true mushroom epicure, it would seem,
should value his _mousseron_ not as an absorbent vehicle for the
gastronomic conveyance of highly seasoned sauce or dressing, but for
the unique individual flavor which differentiates the fungus from other
kinds of food.

But we are all allowed to differ in matters of taste, and each must
decide for himself or herself what particular disguise is most
palatable.

The recipes which follow are from various sources, most of them
modifications based upon the earlier epicurean devices of Mrs. Hussey
and Dr. Badham, the pioneers of English mycophagy, and of Roques,
Persoon, Paulet, Cordier, and other noted European authorities. I
am indebted, also, to the works of M. C. Cook, Worthington Smith,
W. Robinson, and J. A. Palmer for occasional selections from their
recommended recipes.


RECIPES FOR MUSHROOM COOKING

In all cases the mushroom should be fresh, clear and free from the
insect indications mentioned on page 131. Some epicures recommend
that the specimens be also washed in cold acidulated water and dried
in a cloth; for what reason is not clear, unless the mushrooms are
sufficiently dirty to require such cleansing process.


1 =Mushroom Soup=

"Take a good quantity of mushrooms, cut off the earthy ends and wash
them; stew them, with some butter, pepper, and salt, in a little good
stock until tender; take them out and chop them up until quite small;
prepare a good stock as for any other soup, and add it to the mushrooms
and the liquor they have been stewed in. Boil all together and serve.
If white soup be desired, use the white button-mushrooms and a good
veal stock, adding a spoonful of cream or a little milk, as the color
may require."--_W. Smith_.

Other mushrooms may be substituted for the ordinary Campestris above
mentioned. A very good mock oyster soup may be prepared from the
mushrooms Hydnum and the _Agaricus ostreatus_.


2 =Purée of Mushrooms=

"To make a purée of mushrooms, select such as are of a globular shape,
called 'button-mushrooms;' wash them in cold water and wipe them dry;
chop them as fine as possible and press them in a cloth; put them in a
stewpan with a little butter and pepper; let them stand over a brisk
fire, and when the butter is melted squeeze in lemon-juice and add
jelly broth, according to the quantity of the mushrooms. Stew until
reduced to the consistency of pea-soup, and serve with meat, fish, or
poached egg."--_Cooke_.


3 =Mushroom Stew=

Put about two ounces of butter into a stewpan; when thoroughly melted
add a teaspoonful of salt, and from a quarter to half the quantity of
black pepper, according to taste, and a small bit of mace or a pinch of
powdered nutmeg. Having a pint of the mushrooms in readiness, put them
in the pan, cover closely, and stew them till they are tender, which
will probably require from twenty minutes to half an hour. The addition
of flour stirred in cream or milk, by which the stew is thickened, is
by some considered a desirable addition. This recipe is given with
special reference to the Campestris, but will be found suitable for
other mushrooms of the same consistency.


4 =Broiled Mushrooms on Toast=

Remove the stems, and place the mushrooms in a double wire broiler over
the coals, with the gill sides down, for about two minutes, or even
less if the specimens are small. The broiler should then be turned, and
the cooking should proceed for two minutes more; towards the end of
that time the juicy gills should be sprinkled with salt and pepper, a
small piece of butter being finally melted in each as they are served
on the hot toast. By this simple method all the natural juices of the
mushroom are retained and the true aroma and flavor is conserved. Bacon
toasted over the mushrooms is considered by some to improve the flavor.


5 =Mushrooms à la Provençal=

Take mushrooms of good size, remove the stems and cut their tops in
halves or quarters, which, with the chopped stems, should then be
immersed in olive oil, spiced with salt, pepper, and a piece of garlic,
for about two hours. They should then be put into a stewpan with oil
and cooked over a brisk fire. A variation of this method includes the
addition of chopped meat and the yolks of two eggs, the whole being
slightly browned in the oven before serving.


6 =Mushrooms à la Crème=

"Trim and rub half a pint of button-mushrooms; dissolve two ounces of
butter rolled in flour in a stewpan; then put in the mushrooms, a
bunch of parsley, a teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful each of
white pepper and powdered sugar; shake the pan around for ten minutes,
then beat up the yolks of two eggs with two tablespoonfuls of cream,
and add by degrees to the mushrooms. In two or three minutes you can
serve them in the sauce."--_Worthington Smith_.


7 =Mushroom Ragoût=

"Put into a stewpan a little stock, a small quantity of vinegar,
parsley and green onions chopped up, salt, and spices. When this
is about to boil, the mushrooms being cleaned, put them in.
When done remove them from the fire and thicken with yolks of
eggs."--_Worthington Smith_. Another recommends that the stew should be
poured upon toast, or upon crusts of bread previously fried in butter.


8 =Stewed Mushrooms on Toast=.

Put a pint of mushrooms into a stewpan, with two ounces of butter
rolled in flour, add a teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful of white
pepper, a blade of powdered mace, and half a teaspoonful of grated
lemon; stew until the butter is all absorbed, then serve on hot toast
as soon as the mushrooms are tender.


9 =Champignon=

"Cut in small pieces and seasoned it makes an excellent addition to
stews, hashes, or fried meats; but it should be added only a few
minutes before serving, as the aroma is dissipated by over-cooking.
It is the mushroom used in the French _à la mode_ beef-shops in
London."--_Badham_. They may be cooked in any of the methods employed
for the ordinary mushroom already noted.


10 =Chantarelle Stew=

This mushroom, being of rather tough consistency, requires long and
slow cooking.

"Cut the mushrooms across and remove the stems; put them into a closely
covered saucepan with a little fresh butter, and sweat them until
tender at the lowest possible temperature. A great heat always destroys
the flavor."--_Mrs. Hussey_.


11 =Hydnum Stew=

Roques, the French mycologist, says of the _Hydnum repandum_: "The
general use of this fungus throughout France, Italy, and Germany leaves
no room for doubt as to its good qualities." But very little has been
said of its companion species, the _H. caput-medusæ_, described in the
foregoing pages, and which is certainly greatly its superior in texture
and flavor. Dr. Harkness considers it one of the most delicious morsels
among the whole fungus tribe.

Both species, containing naturally less moisture than most mushrooms,
are easily dried. When fresh they should be soaked in water and cooked
slowly at low temperature and frequently basted, the dried specimens
being first soaked in tepid water until their original form and pulpy
consistency are nearly regained.

In a purée the Hydnum makes an appetizing dish, with a slight flavor of
oysters.

Roques recommends the following recipe for a stew: "Cut the mushrooms
into pieces and let them steep in warm water for twenty minutes. Then
allow them to simmer for an hour in a pan with butter, pepper, salt,
and parsley, with the addition of beef or other gravy."

Mrs. Hussey recommends stewing in brown or white sauce; in the latter
case it will closely suggest "oyster sauce."

Another mushroom--the _Lactarius deliciosus_--stewed in a similar
manner closely suggests the flavor of lambs' kidneys.


12 =Roast Mushrooms=

Mr. Palmer recommends the following: "Cut the larger specimens into
fine pieces and place them in a small dish, with salt, butter, and
pepper to taste; put in about two tablespoonfuls of water, then fill
the dish with the half-open specimens and the buttons; cover tightly
and place in the oven, which must not be overheated, for about ten
minutes. The juice of the larger mushrooms will keep them moist, and,
if fresh, yield a most abundant gravy."


13 =Baked Russula=

See that the mushrooms are free from dirt and grit on tops and stems,
or rinse in cold water, afterwards wiping them dry and shaking off
the water from the gills; make a mince of the stems, bread-crumbs,
sweet herbs, pepper, salt, and a little butter or oil; pile this upon
the gills; place the mushrooms in a shallow dish in a hot oven and
baste them frequently with the melted butter or oil. In about fifteen
minutes they will be ready to serve.

The Oyster Mushroom or its congener, the _Agaricus ulmarius_, might
both be treated by this method, the oyster or fish-like flavor of these
species thus affording a distinct second course for our menu. Either of
these Pleurotus species may also be treated so as to closely suggest an
escalop of oyster or fish.


14 =Baked Procerus=

Remove the stems; do not rinse the mushrooms unless they are soiled,
and this species is usually conspicuously clean; put some slices of
toast in a well-buttered pie-dish, and, with a little melted butter or
cream poured over them, lay in the mushrooms; sprinkle with pepper,
salt, and a small quantity of minced parsley which has previously been
rubbed with onion or garlic; cover the dish with a plate and bake in a
hot oven for fifteen minutes and serve in the dish. The aroma is thus
conserved, and, upon being released at the table, will prove a most
savory appetizer.


15 =Cottagers' Procerus Pie=

The following appetizing recipe is recommended by Robinson: "Cut
fresh Agarics in small pieces, cover the bottom of a pie-dish with
small, thin slices of bacon, and place the mushroom fragments upon
them, with the addition of salt and pepper; upon this place a layer of
mashed potatoes, following again with other similar layers of bacon,
mushrooms, and potatoes, until the dish is filled, the last layer of
potato answering for a crust; bake in the oven for half an hour, and
brown before a brisk fire."

Doubtless many other species of mushroom would lend themselves equally
well to this particular treatment.


16 =Baked Gambosus=

"Place some fresh-made toast, nicely divided, on a dish, and put the
Agarics upon it; pepper, salt, and put a small piece of butter on
each; then pour on each one a tablespoonful of milk or cream, and add
a single clove to the whole dish; place a bell-glass or inverted basin
over the whole; bake twenty minutes, and serve up without removing
the glass until it comes to the table, so as to preserve the heat
and aroma, which, on lifting the cover, will be diffused through the
room."--_Cooke_. "A great quantity of gravy comes out of it, mingled,
in the case of a good specimen, with osmazome, which tastes very much
like the similar brown exudation on the surface of a roast leg of
mutton."--_Robinson_.


17 =Fried Mushrooms on Toast=

Place a pint of mushrooms in a pan, with a piece of butter about
the size of an egg; sprinkle in a teaspoonful of salt, and half a
teaspoonful of pepper; when the butter is nearly absorbed, thicken with
fresh butter and flour and pour upon hot toast, which should be served
hot.


18 =Mushrooms with Bacon=

Fry a few rashers of nice streaky bacon in the pan in the usual manner;
when nearly done add a dozen or so of mushrooms, and fry them slowly
until they are cooked. In this process they will absorb all the fat of
the bacon, and, with the addition of a little salt and pepper, will
form a most appetizing breakfast relish.


19 =Mushrooms en Caisse=

The following is recommended as a dainty by Worthington Smith: "Peel
the mushrooms lightly and cut them into pieces; put them into cases
of buttered paper, with a bit of butter, parsley, green onions, and
shallots chopped up; salt and pepper; dress them on a gridiron over a
gentle fire and serve in the cases." The cases might be made of pastry.


20 =Hungarian Soup of Boleti=

"Dry the Boleti in the oven; soak the mushrooms in tepid water,
thickening with toasted bread till the whole be of the consistency of
a purée; then rub through a sieve, throw in some stewed boleti, boil
together, and serve with the usual condiments."--_Paulet_.


21 =Boletus Fritters=

Persoon recommends this method of treatment of the Boletus as very
appetizing: The fritters may be prepared in the method ordinarily
adopted, the slices of the mushroom being dipped in batter and browned
either in the frying-pan or in the hot fat, after the manner of the
doughnut.


22 =Beefsteak Mushroom=

This species is claimed to resemble meat in flavor more than any other
fungus. The gravy, in quality and color, would certainly deceive a most
discriminating palate. Like many of the Polyporei, it is comparatively
slow in maturing, occasionally, it is said, requiring two weeks ere it
reaches its prime, when it may acquire a large size.

It should be gathered before its maturity to insure tenderness, though
the older, tougher individuals, cut in pieces and cooked separately,
will yield a quantity of rich red gravy, to be added to the dish of
more tender specimens. "If it is not beef itself," says Mrs. Hussey,
"it is sauce for it." "If sliced and grilled it would pass for a good
beefsteak," says Cooke, with truth. Mrs. Hussey recommends that it
should be sliced and macerated in salt, the deep-red liquor which
exudes should be put hot into a dish with a little lemon-juice and
minced shallots, and a broiled steak deposited in it. It may also be
variously stewed or fricasseed with excellent results, and affords a
delicious soup with savor closely suggesting beef broth or _consommé
clair_. A "beefsteak" pie made on the foregoing recipe prescribed for
the Procerus would doubtless prove a most appetizing entrée.


23 =The Oyster Mushroom=

"It may be cooked in any way that an oyster is, and is equally good
in all," says a distinguished connoisseur--in soups, stewed, broiled,
curried, baked, in the form of an escalop, patties, or _vol-au-vent_,
or fried with butter in the form of fritters. In all cases where the
fungus itself is to be eaten, the specimens should be young and tender,
the older individuals, if free from insects, might be used for soups.
See Recipe 13.


24 =Polyporus Stew=

The beautiful sulphur-colored Polyporus described in my previous pages
when stewed closely suggests the tender white meat of chicken or veal,
and might lend itself to various deceptive dishes, as, for instance,
soups, croquettes, fricassees, or patties.

Only the tender young plant should be employed, and a little experience
will suggest various appetizing methods of treatment.


25 =Ragoût of Morels or Helvella=

The following is an old-time recipe of Persoon: "Pick and clean your
fungi and cut them in two; wash and dry them well by wiping; then put
them in a stewpan with butter, or a piece of ham or bacon; place them
over a brisk fire, and when the butter is melted squeeze in a little
lemon-juice, give a few turns, and then add salt, pepper, and a little
grated nutmeg; cook slowly for an hour, pouring on at intervals small
quantities of beef gravy or jelly broth to prevent burning; when done,
thicken with yolks of eggs." The lemon-juice is omitted by many, who
consider it a positively unpalatable as well as unwholesome ingredient.


26 =Stuffed Morels=

Dr. Badham's work contains the following recipes from Persoon, which,
from the peculiar construction of the fungus, affords a contrast to
ordinary methods: "Choose the freshest and whitest Morels; open the
stalk at the bottom; wash and wipe them well; fill with veal stuffing,
anchovy, or any rich _farce_ you choose, securing the ends and dressing
between slices of bacon. Serve with a sauce."


27 =Morelles à la Italienne=

Here is another skilful compound from the same source: "Having washed
and dried the mushrooms, divide them across; put them on the fire with
some parsley, scallion, chervil, burnet, tarragon, chives, a little
salt, and two spoonfuls of fine oil; stew until the juice runs out,
then thicken with a little flour. Serve with bread-crumbs and a squeeze
of lemon."


28 =Clavaria Stew=

Badham gives the following recipe for the Clavaria, or coral fungus:
"After sousing in tepid water and wiping perfectly clean, the fungus
should be 'sweated' over a slow fire, afterwards to be strained and the
liquor thrown away; stew for an hour; add salt, pepper, cloves, and
parsley to taste, masking with plain stock and dredging occasionally
with flour. Thicken with yolks of eggs and cream."


29 =Fried Clavaria=

The simple process of browning in butter or oil in the frying-pan, with
the addition of pepper and salt, and serving hot on buttered toast or
with fried eggs, will be found a most palatable method of treating
this fungus. For those who are willing to sacrifice the characteristic
_fungus_ flavor to a savor more pronounced, the Clavaria is also said
to be delicious when fried with onions or with curry in the usual
method.


30 =Puff-ball Fritters, Omelettes, Sweetbreads, and Soufflé=

As already described, the Puff-balls in their white-pulp condition are
esculent and afford a delicate relish. The species Giganteus sometimes
attains a diameter of nearly two feet, and where such a specimen or
even much smaller ones are situated at an easily available distance, we
may profit by the hint of Vitadini, the Italian mycologist: "Cut off a
slice at a time, cutting it horizontally, and using great care not to
disturb its growth, to prevent decay, and thus one may have a fritter
every day for a week." Dr. Curtis calls this species the "Southdown
of mushrooms." His opinion of its merits as food will be shared by
others who give it a trial: "It has a delicacy of flavor that makes it
superior to any omelette I have ever eaten. It seems, furthermore, to
be so digestible as to adapt itself to the most delicate stomach." Mrs.
Hussey, the pioneer English authority, recommends the following recipe:
"First remove the outer skin; cut in slices half an inch thick; have
ready some chopped herbs, pepper, and salt; dip the slices in the yolk
of egg, and sprinkle the herbs upon them; fry in fresh butter and eat
immediately."

The extreme tenderness and delicacy of the Puff-ball thus cooked
resembles a soufflé, and suggests many possibilities of appetizing
variations and combinations, as, for example, with jelly, in the form
of an entremet or dessert. By many the flavor of the Puff-ball has been
compared to "sweetbread," and doubtless so cooked and served would
afford an agreeable variation in the menu. Indeed, it may be prepared
in a variety of ways, as suggested for other species, but from its
peculiar consistency is particularly adapted to frying in the pan.
With chopped ham or thinly sliced smoked beef it might furnish a good
substitute for the ham-omelette or frizzled beef.

Another addition to our entremets might be availed of in the "jelly
mushroom," Hydnum, or _Tremelodon gelatinosum_, which is not described
in this volume. It is eaten raw, either plain or with milk and sugar,
and is said to be of most delicate flavor.


31 =Mushroom Salad=

According to Cooke, the Beefsteak mushroom before mentioned is employed
as an entremet in Vienna, the fresh fungus being cut in thin slices
and eaten as a salad. The fresh, crisp young Russula mushrooms thus
served also furnish a very appetizing relish, with the usual varieties
of dressing as in the various sauces, mayonnaise, French dressing,
etc. The _Polyporus sulphureus_ having been boiled and allowed to cool
might furnish a deceptive "chicken" salad. Doubtless other species of
mushrooms--Clavaria, for example--would lend themselves acceptably
to this method of serving. Cordier recommends this latter species as
"appetizing even when raw."


32 =Pickled Mushrooms=

Select the mushrooms in the round-button condition and before
expansion; immerse them in cold water for a few moments, then drain
them; cut off the stalks, and gently rub off the outer skin with a
moist flannel dipped in salt; boil the vinegar, adding to each quart
two ounces of salt, half a nutmeg grated, a dram of mace, and an ounce
of white pepper-corns; put the mushrooms into the vinegar for ten
minutes over the fire; then pour the whole into small jars, taking care
that the spices are equally divided; let them stand a day, then cover
them.


33 =Mushroom Catsup=

Large quantities of mushrooms of various species are annually consumed
in Europe in the manufacture of catsup. Following is one of the many
favorite foreign recipes:

Place the Agarics, of as large a size as you can procure, layer by
layer in a deep pan; sprinkle each layer with a little salt; the next
day stir them well several times, so as to mash and extract their
juice; on the third day strain off the liquor, measure and boil for ten
minutes, and then to every pint of liquor add half an ounce of black
pepper, a quarter of an ounce of bruised ginger-root, a blade of mace,
a clove or two, and a teaspoonful of mustard-seed; boil again for half
an hour, put in two or three bay-leaves, and set aside until quite
cold; pass through a strainer, and bottle; cork well and dip the ends
of the bottle in melted resin or beeswax; a very little Chili vinegar
is an improvement, and some add a glass of port-wine or of ale to every
bottle. Care should be taken that the spice is not so abundant as to
overpower the true flavor of the mushrooms.


34 =Dried Mushrooms=

It will often happen in a normal fungus season that the production
will exceed the possibility of consumption, and thousands of pounds of
delicious mushrooms will thus be left to decay in their haunts.

The process of drying mushrooms for winter use is in most extensive
practice by the peasantry of Europe and Britain, who thus find an
all-the-year-round dependence upon mushroom diet.

With most species this process of desiccation is so simple that it
is recommended, in the confident belief that, once tried, the winter
mushroom will hereafter afford a frequent relish upon many a board and
will well repay the slight trouble in their summer preparation.

In most of the Agarics--notably the Campestris, Procerus, Champignon,
Russula, Chantarelle--simply threading on strings and hanging in the
sun and wind, or festooned above the kitchen range, will be sufficient
to reduce them to complete dryness in a few hours. Indeed, some of
these, such as the Procerus and Champignon, dry spontaneously in their
haunts, and may be thus gathered.

In the instances of more fleshy fungi, such as the Boleti, Polyporei,
and Coprinus, more rapid desiccation is necessary. By exposing them
in the sun on a tin roof or absorbent paper the moisture is rapidly
evaporated. They might also be suspended above the kitchen range in a
wire basket and thus quickly dried. In Boleti the drying is facilitated
by the removal of the whole pore layer, which is easily separated from
the cap.

The Clavaria and Morel are very simply dried, even in ordinary house
temperature. Strung upon threads and suspended in the sun or near the
fire they would very quickly be reduced to absolute dryness.

Mushrooms thus treated seem to retain their aroma; in Procerus,
Clavaria, Morel, Helvella, and "Fairy-ring" being intensified above
that of their moist condition and most appetizing.

The desiccated specimens should be kept in a dry place, with good
circulation of air, or enclosed in hermetically sealed tin boxes; in
the latter case being occasionally examined to insure against mould by
possible absorption of moisture.

When desired for use they are simply soaked in tepid water, which, by
gradual absorption, causes the specimens occasionally to assume almost
their original dimensions and juicy character, when they should be
treated as recommended for the fresh mushrooms.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the benefit of the vegetarian, or the curiously or experimentally
inclined, I append a few suggestions apropos of a _menu à la mode_, in
which the fungus might be employed with good effect as a rival to the
familiar established prandial delights. Each selection is numbered with
reference to its particular descriptive or suggestive paragraph in the
preceding pages of the chapter.

A feast based upon these recommendations, re-enforced with appropriate
adjuncts--the "mother"-born vinegar, the fungus-leavened loaf, the
fungus-foaming beaker--might cumulatively prove a persuasive plea for
the creed of vegetarianism.



           Menu

          Potages
  Consommé de bœuf clair, 22
  Potage à la purée d'huîtres, 1, 11, 13
  Potage à la purée de bœuf, 22
  Potage à la purée de volaille, 24

         Poissons
  Côtelettes de poisson--Sauce
         aux champignons, 13
  Escalope de poisson, 13

       Hors-d'oeuvres
  Croquettes de ris de veau, 24
  Bouchées au poulet, 24

          Relevée
  Filet de bœuf aux champignons, 22, 23

          Entrées
  Omelette aux jambon, 30
  Rognons d'agneau, 11
  Pâté de biftecks, 22
  Beignettes d'huîtres, 13, 23
  Huîtres en curry, 23
  Petits vols-au-vent d'huîtres
         ou bouchées d'huîtres, 13, 23
  Fricassée de poulet, 24

         Entremets
  Salad de Russula au mayonnaise, 31
  Salad de Fistulina, 31
  Salad de Clavaria, 31
  Salad de volaille, 31

          Dessert
  Omelette soufflé au gelée, 30
  Pouding soufflé, 30
  Gelée de Hydnum, 30



_Bibliography_


AMERICAN

1. _Geological and Natural History Survey of North Carolina._ Part III.
Botany. Containing a catalogue of the indigenous and naturalized plants
of the State. By Rev. M. A. Curtis, D.D., etc. Raleigh, 1867. (Out of
print.)

2. _Mushrooms of America._ Edible and Poisonous. Edited by Julius A.
Palmer, Jr. Numerous colored plates. Published by L. Prang & Co.,
Boston, 1885.

3. _About Mushrooms._ A Guide to the Study of Esculent and Poisonous
Fungi. A collection of various articles upon the subject. By Julius A.
Palmer. Lee & Shepard, Boston, 1894.

4. _Boleti of the United States._ A catalogue containing full
descriptions of one hundred and eight species. (No illustrations.) By
Professor Charles H. Peck, State Botanist, State Hall, Albany, N. Y.
Annual Report of the State Botanist issued by the Board of Regents,
Albany University.

Professor Peck has also published a series of papers on "Edible
Mushrooms" in _The Country Gentleman_, of Albany, N. Y. A new work from
him on this subject is in preparation.

5. _Pacific Coast Fungi._ By Dr. H. W. Harkness and Justin P. Moore.
1880. A catalogue.

6. _The Deadly and Minor Poisons of Mushrooms._ By Charles McIlvaine.
Reprint from the _Therapeutic Gazette_. George S. Davis, Detroit,
Mich. Quoted in present volume. Captain McIlvaine is also the author
of several popular articles on the subject of esculent mushrooms which
have appeared in various journals and magazines.

7. _Fungi Caroliniani Exsiccati._ Five Fasciculi, one hundred specimens
in each. By H. W. Ravenel, of Aiken, S. C. John Russell, Charleston.

8. _Bulletins of United States Department of Agriculture, Washington,
D. C._ By Thomas M. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Microscopy.
Washington, D. C., 1893-94. Five issues, with many colored plates of
various specimens, both edible and poisonous; also full directions for
cultivation of the common mushroom.

9. _Notes for Mushroom Eaters._ By W. G. Farlow. Pamphlet. Illustrated.
Garden & Forest Publishing Co., New York.


ENGLISH

10. _Illustrations of British Mycology._ (Hand-painted.) By Mrs. T. J.
Hussey. Reeve Brothers, London, 1847. An admirable work, the pioneer
treatise in Great Britain; rare; reference copies only in prominent
libraries.

11. _Esculent Funguses of England._ By Rev. Dr. C. D. Badham. With
twenty colored plates. 8vo. L. Reeve & Co., London. 1870.

12. _A Plain and Easy Account of the British Fungi_; with Descriptions
of the Esculent and Poisonous Species, Details of the Principles of
Scientific Classification, and a Tabular Arrangement of Orders and
Genera. By M. C. Cooke, M.A., LL.D. With twenty-four colored plates.
R. Hardwick, Piccadilly, London, 1871. An excellent, inexpensive, and
popular hand-book.

13. _Outlines of British Fungology._ Containing Characters of
above a Thousand Species of Fungi, and a Complete List of all that
have been described as Natives of the British Isles. By Rev. M. J.
Berkeley, M.A., F.L.S. Lovell Reeve, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden,
London, 1860. Beautifully illustrated with twenty-four lithographic
hand-colored plates by W. Fitch, each plate presenting several species,
and including a number of the esculent.

14. _Mushrooms and Toadstools_: How to Distinguish Easily the
Differences between Edible and Poisonous Fungi. With two large sheets
containing figures of twenty-nine edible and thirty-one poisonous
species drawn the natural size, and colored from living specimens. By
Worthington T. Smith, F.L.S. 2d edition, R. Hardwick, 192 Piccadilly,
London, 1875.

15. _A Selection of the Eatable Funguses of Great Britain._ Edited by
Robert Hogg, LL.D., and Geo. W. Johnson, F.R.H.S. Numerous excellent
hand-colored plates.

16. _Fungi: Their Nature and Uses._ By M. C. Cooke, M.A., LL.D.; edited
by the Rev. M. J. Berkeley, M.A., F.L.S. In "International Scientific
Series." D. Appleton & Co., N. Y. A very full and condensed epitome of
the science of fungology.

17. _Hand-book of British Fungi._ By M. C. Cooke. 2 vols. Macmillan &
Co., London, 1871.

18. _Illustrations of British Fungi._ Atlas to accompany above. By M.
C. Cooke. Williams & Norgate, London, 1889.

19. _Scottish Cryptogamic Flora._ 6 vols. By R. R. Greville, 1823.

20. _Fungi-hunters' Guide._ By William D. Hay. Swan Sonnenschein,
Lowrey & Co., London, 1887.

21. _Elementary Text-book._ By William D. Hay. Swan Sonnenschein,
Lowrey & Co., London, 1887.

22. _British Fungi._ By John Stevenson. William Blackwood & Sons,
London, 1886.

23. _Mushroom Culture._ By W. Robinson. F. Warne & Co., London, 1870.
Containing full directions for the cultivation of mushrooms; also an
extended chapter upon common wild species. Illustrated with wood-cuts,
numerous recipes, etc.


FRENCH

24. _Plantes Usuelles._ Par Joseph Roches. Vol. IV., containing
the Edible and Poisonous Fungi: also his Histoire des Champignons
Comestibles et Téné-neux. Elegantly illustrated. Paris, 1838.

25. _Les Champignons_: Histoire, Description, Culture, Usages des
Espèces Comestibles, Vénéneuses, Suspectes, etc. Par F. S. Cordier.
With sixty chromo-lithographs. 4th edition. Paris, 1876.

26. _Histoire Naturelle des Champignons._ By G. Sicard. C. H.
Delagrave, Paris, 1883. Numerous colored plates. Rare. Copy in Astor
Library, N. Y.

27. _Botanique Cryptogamique, ou Histoire des Familles Naturelles des
Plantes Inférieures._ Par J. Payer, Docteur ès Sciences, etc. With 1105
engravings on wood. Victor Masson, Paris, 1850.

28. _Des Champignons._ (Orfila Prize Essay.) By Emile Boudier. J. B.
Ballière, Paris, 1866.

29. _Champignons._ By L. M. Gautier. J. B. Ballière et Fils. Paris,
1884.

30. _Figures Peintes de Champignons._ By Captain L. Lucand. Friedlander
& Son, Berlin, 1882. (Reference copy at Massachusetts Horticultural
Society.)

31. _Les Champignons._ By J. Moyen. J. Rothschild, Paris, 1889.

32. _Nouvelle Flore._ By J. Constantin and Leon Dufour. Paul Dupont,
Paris, 1891.



INDEX

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, 40.

  _Agaricaceæ_, order of the, 77.

  _Agaricini_, 75-178;
    botanical characters of, 79.

  Agarics, edible, 80-178;
    Curtis's list of, 9-12.

  _Agaricus_, 43, 44;
    vegetation of, 44-47, 85-92, 107;
    botanical characters of, 77-79, 283.

  _Agaricus_, species of:
    ---- _Amanita_, see Amanita;
    ---- _arvensis_, 85, 91;
    epicurean opinions of, 94;
    ---- _campestris_,9, 13, 21, 24, 80-95, 307, 308, 321;
    the "Mushroom," 16-22;
    variations in, 89-93;
    spore-print of, 283;
    ---- _candicans_, 86;
    ---- _euosmus_, 147;
    ---- _fusipes_, 299;
    ---- _gambosus_, 95-101;
    to cook, 313;
    ---- _heterophylla_, see Russula;
    ---- _Marasmius oreades_, 101-108;
    ---- _melleus_, 10, 28;
    ---- _orcella_, 300;
    ---- _ostreatus_, 10, 26, 141-148, 303, 307;
    ---- _pratensis_, 91;
    ---- _procerus_, 10, 86, 87, 113-119, 312, 321;
    ---- _ruber_, 300;
    ---- _ulmarius_, 10, 26, 27, 148-154, 303, 312;
    ---- _vaporarius_, 91;
    ---- _villaticus_, 91;
    ---- _virescens_, 300.
    See, also, Russula, Coprinus, Lactarius, Chantarelle, and Marasmius.

  Agrippina, victim of Amanita, 59.

  _Amanita_, genus of, readily identified, 2, 23, 74, 273.

  ---- Botanical characters of, 29, 33, 41-51, 79, 273.

  ---- The cup or volva in, 29, 33, 47, 48, 57, 74, 273.

  ---- Vegetation and development of, 44, 45, 74;
    the veil or shroud of, 48.

  ---- Fatalities from eating, 2, 15, 29, 60;
    a dangerous enemy, 15, 23, 29;
    "silver test" upon, 26;
    effect of salt and heat upon, 29.

  ---- Poison of, 48, 60;
    chemical nature of poison of, 48, 61;
    Czar Alexis, 52;
    Agrippina, 59;
    intoxication from, 59, 60;
    dipsomaniacs, 59, 60;
    isolation of poison of, 61;
    absorption of poison of, by contact and odor, 30, 69;
    diagnosis and treatment of poison of, 38, 39;
    antidote for poison of, 61-68;
    report of a case of poisoning by, 63-66;
    poison of, extracted by vinegar, 71.

  _Amanita_, Poisonous species of:
    ---- _vernus_, 17, 25, 51;
    ---- _muscarius_, 51, 73;
    spore-print of, 289, 291;
    ---- _phalloides_, 51, 74.

    ---- Edible species of, 73;
    _Cæsarea_, _rubescens_, _strobiliformis_, 9, 12, 48.

  Amanitine, 60; antidote, 62.

  Alexis, Czar, victim of Amanita, 52.

  America and Europe, comparative appreciation of fungi in, 299.

  American and European fungi identical, 12.

  American mycophagists, 8, 9, 15.

  Antidotes for mushroom poisoning, 62, 67, 68.

  Ants attacked by fungi, 295.

  _Asci_ in fungi, 256.

  _Ascomycetes_, 256.

  Asiatic Russia, Amanita dipsomaniacs of, 59.


  Bacterium bacillus, 7, 8.

  Badham, Dr. C. D., quoted, xii., 12, 13, 40, 177, 189, 237, 246,
              299, 301, 306, 310, 316. Bibliography, No. 11, 326.

  Baked mushrooms, 311-313.

  Basket for gathering mushrooms, 36.

  "Beefsteak" mushroom, 11, 27, 213-217, 303;
      to cook, 314;
      as salad, 319.

  Bees and wasps, 36.

  Beetles infesting fungi, 37.

  Belladonna. See Atropine.

  Berkeley, Rev. M. J., variations in Campestris, 40, 91;
    quoted, 107, 237, 246, 294, 301. Bibliography, Nos. 13 and 16, 326.

  Bibliography--
      American, 325;
      English, 326;
      French, 327.

  Bitter Boletus, 208.

  Blights, 7.

  Blue mould, 78.

  Blue-stain Boleti, 196.

  _Boleti_, 182-213;
      botanical characters of, 181-184, 285;
      hawk fed upon, 302;
      fritters of, 314;
      soup of, 314;
      to dry, 321.

  _Boletus_, characters of, 182;
      various edible, 10, 26, 182-213;
      spore-print of, 285.

  _Boletus_,
    ---- _alveolatus_, 183, 201, 208;
    ---- _castaneus_, 10;
    ---- _chrysenteron_, 195-201;
    ---- _collinitus_, 10;
    ---- _cyanescens_, 201, 207;
    cone-like, 202;
    ---- _edulis_, 10, 13, 16, 18, 189, 190, 300;
    artificial cultivation of, 86;
    crimson, 213;
    ---- _elegans_, 10;
    ---- _felleus_, 207, 208-213;
    ---- _flavidus_, 10;
    ---- _granulatus_, 10;
    ---- _luteus_, 10;
    ---- _satanas_, 207, 208;
    ---- _scaber_, 10, 191-195;
    ---- _subtomentosus_, 10, 26, 183, 195;
    blue stain of, 196, 201, 207;
    ---- _strobilomyces_, 202-207;
    spore-print of, 281;
    ---- _versipellis_, 10.

  Botanical discrimination, 31, 32.

    ---- discrimination of Amanita. See Amanita.

  Boudier, Emile. Bibliography, No. 28, 327.

  _Bovista nigrescens_, 10.

    ---- _plumbea_, 10.

  Broiled mushrooms, 308.

  _Bubbola maggiore._ See Pasture Mushroom.

  Bulbosine, 60.


  Campestris. See Agaricus.

  _Cantharellus_,
    ---- _cibarius_, 10, 27, 172-178, 300;
    ---- _aurantiacus_, 178;
    to cook, 310;
    drying of, 321.

  Caterpillar fungi, 295.

  Catsup, Mushroom, 320.

  _Champignon_ "Fairy-Ring," 27, 87, 95;
    to cook, 309;
    dried, 321.

    ---- Poisonous, 108, 113.

  Chantarelle. See Cantharellus.

  "Chef à la mode," the, 305.

  Chemical analysis of fungi, 14, 302.

  Chestnut-burr fungus, 294.

  Chestnut tongue. See Fistulina.

  Chicken flavor in mushrooms, 303, 316.

  Chinese caterpillar fungus, 296.

  Cicada fungus, 295.

  Classification of fungi, 77, 78.

  Claudius, Emperor, poisoned, 59.

  _Clavariei_, 231, 247-256.

  _Clavaria_, Various, 10, 11;
    _amethystina_, _fastigiata_, _flava_,
    _rugosa_, _stricta_, _umbrina_, 255;
    ---- _botrytis_, 256;
    ---- _formosa_, 247;
    to cook, 317;
    used as salad, 319;
    to dry, 322.

  Club fungi. See Clavaria.

  _Cogomelos._ See Pasture Mushroom.

  Colored plates of the book, 39.

  _Coniomycetes_, 78.

  Consommé from mushrooms, 315.

  Cooke, Rev. Dr. M. C., 40, 59, 214, 237, 273, 295, 306, 307, 313, 315.
      Bibliography, Nos. 12, 16, 17, 326; No. 18, 327.

  Cooking fungi, 72, 306-322.

  _Coprinus_, 87;
    to dry, 321;
    ---- _atramentarius_, 11, 27, 28, 161, 163;
    ---- _comatus_, 11, 87, 154-160.

  Coral fungi. See Clavaria.

  Cordier, F. S., 246, 248, 306, 319. Bibliography, No. 25, 327.

  Correspondents, 2-6.

  _Cortinarius castaneus_, _cinnamomeus_, _violaceus_, 11.

  Cosmopolitan fungi, 12.

  _Coulemelle._ See Pasture Mushroom.

  Crimson Boletus, 213.

  _Cryptogamia_, the, 7.

  Crystals on drying fungi, 227.

  Culinary "treatment" of fungi, 72, 214, 304.

  Cultivation of mushrooms, 85, 86. Bibliography, No. 8, 325;
                                                  No. 23, 327.

  "Cup," the, in Amanita, 29, 33, 47, 48, 57, 74, 273.

  Currie, Dr., on Amanita poison, 60.

  Curtis, Rev. M. A., pioneer American mycophagist, 9, 32, 40.

  Curtis's, Rev. M. A., list of edible mushrooms, 9-12;
    quoted, 219, 245, 301, 318. Bibliography, No. 1, 325.

  _Cystidium_, the, 77, 256.

  Deadly mushrooms and toadstools, 2, 3, 43-74.

  Deaths by fungi, 43, 61.

  Decaying fungi, 6, 25, 30, 278.

  Delagrave, C. H. Bibliography, No. 26, 327.

  Desiccation of fungi, 107, 119, 246, 262, 321.

  Diagnosis and treatment of mushroom poisoning, 38, 63-68.

  Doe-skin mushroom. See _Hydnum repandum_.

  Dried fungi. See Desiccation of fungi.

  Dufour, J. Constantin and Leon. Bibliography, No. 32, 327.

  Dust-like fungi, 78.

  Economic fungology, 7, 13, 14.

  Edible Amanitæ, 9, 12, 73.

  Edible mushrooms, number of species, 2, 7, 32, 60;
    list of, by Curtis, 9-12;
    popular tests for identification, 22, 23;
    become poisonous from contact with Amanita, 70.

  Elm mushroom, 10, 26, 27, 148-154, 303, 312.

  _Elvellacei_, 231. See Helvella.

  Emetic mushroom. See Russula.

  Epicurean perversity, 72.

  European and American fungi identical, 12.

  European mycologists, 14, 326, 327.

  Fairy-ring mushroom, 95, 101-108;
    cause of "ring," 102, 107;
    recipes for cooking, 107, 108;
    false or poisonous, 108, 113.

  False Champignon, 108.

  Farlow, W. G. Bibliography, No. 9, 326.

  "Fish mushroom," 154, 303, 312.

  _Fistulina hepatica_, 11, 26, 27, 213, 299, 303;
    to cook, 314;
    as salad, 319.

  Fly, Fungus attacking, 295.

  Fly-poison, Amanita, 27, 51, 52, 72.
    See _Amanita muscarius_.

  Food, Fungi as, 8, 13-15, 35, 221, 245, 299-323.

  "Foxfire," 227.

  France, Fungus-eaters of, 14.

  Fried mushrooms, 313-318.

  Fries, Fungologist, 268.

  Fritters of fungi, 314, 318.

  _Fungi._ See, also, Toadstools, Mushrooms, and Moulds.

  ---- by mail, 4, 5.

  ---- Chemical constituents of, 14, 302.

  ---- Classification of, 77, 78.

  ---- Common tests for "Edible," and their reputation, 17-21, 24-29.

  ---- Coral. See Clavaria.

  ---- Crystals on, 227.

  ---- Cultivation of, 85, 88. Bibliography, No. 8, 325; No. 23, 327.

  ---- Desiccation of, 119, 246, 262, 301, 310, 321.

  ---- Economic, 7, 13.

  ---- Edible. See Agaricus Boletus, Clavarei, Fistulina,
           Helvella, Morel, Mushroom, and Puff-balls.

  ---- Fastidiousness in vegetation, 86-88, 294.

  ---- Gill-bearing (Agarics), 78, 178.

  ---- Hawk fed upon, 302.

  ---- Hygrometric properties of, 119.

  ---- Insects infesting, 25, 29, 34, 36-38, 135.

  ---- List of works on, 325.

  ---- Medical, 277.

  ---- Menu for fungus repast, 323.

  ---- Miscellaneous, 231-274.

  ---- Mycelium, or spawn, of, 44, 45, 77, 85, 88, 92, 107.

  ---- Number of species of, 6, 30, 60.

  ---- on caterpillars and chrysalids, 295.

  ---- on chestnut-burr, 294.

  ---- on house-fly, 295.

  ---- opposed to cultivation, 86-88.

  ---- Ornamental forms of, 227.

  ---- Phosphorescent, 227.

  ---- Physiological features of, 15.

  ---- Poisoning by, 2, 15, 29;
    diagnosis and treatment, 37;
    remedies, 38, 39;
    intoxication from, 59;
    antidotes, 62, 67, 68;
    report of poisoning case, 63-66;
    poisoning by contact and odor, 69;
    edible species inoculated by contact, 70.

  ---- Popular distrust of, 15, 21.

  ---- Rapid decay of, 6, 25, 30.

  ---- Raw, eaten as salad, 248, 319.

  ---- Recipes for cooking, 306-319.

  ---- simulating animal food, 15, 30, 302.

  ---- Spores and Spore-print of, 277-296.

  ---- Study of, 7.

  ---- traditions and superstitions, 22, 23.

  ---- Vegetation of, 44, 47, 85-92, 107, 294.

  ---- Whims of habitat of, 294.

  Fungologists, Amateur, safe rules for, 33.

  Fungus food in Europe and America, 8, 13-15, 35, 299.

  ---- gnats, flies, and beetles, 37.

  Gasteromycetes, 78.

  Gathering mushrooms, Rules for, 35, 36.

  Gautier, Dr. M. L., 62. Bibliography, No. 29, 327.

  Germany, Fungus-eaters in, 14.

  Gill-bearing mushrooms, 75-178.

  Gnats infesting fungi, 37.

  Greville, R. R. Bibliography, No. 19, 327.

  "Grubs" in fungi, 25, 29, 34, 36-38, 135.

  Harkness, Dr. H. W., 32, 245, 310. Bibliography, No. 5, 325.

  Hawk fed upon Boleti, 302.

  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, allusion to fungus phosphorescence, 228.

  Hay, William D. Bibliography, Nos. 20, 21, 327.

  Heat destroys poison, 29, 72.

  Hedgehog mushroom. See Hydnum.

  _Helvella crispa_, 11, 231, 261, 262;
    other species, 11;
    recipes for cooking, 262, 316;
    to dry, 322.

  Historical fungi, 43, 59, 60.

  Hogg, Robert, LL.D. Bibliography, No. 15, 326.

  Horse mushroom. See _Agaricus arvensis_.

  House-fly fungus, 295.

  Hungarian soup of Boleti, 314.

  Hussey, Mrs. T. J., 40, 306, 310, 311, 315, 318.
                      Bibliography, No. 10, 326.

  _Hydnei_, 231-247;
    to cook, 310.

  _Hydnum_, 300, 307;
    ---- _caput-medusæ_, 11, 27, 238-243;
    ---- _repandum_, 11, 28, 232-238;
    ---- _rufescens_, 237, 238;
    ---- _coralloides_, 245;
    ---- _gelatinosum_, 319.

  ---- Various edible species of, 11;
    to cook, 246.

  Hygrometric fungus, 119.

  _Hygrophorus eburneus_ and _pratensis_, 11.

  Hymenium of fungi, 78.

  _Hymenomycetes_, 78.

  _Hyphomycetes_, 78.

  Identification of fungi, 31.

  Idiosyncrasy, 30, 61.

  Indigestibility of certain species, 30.

  Inky mushroom, 28.
    See Coprinus.

  Insects attacked by fungi, 295.

  ---- infesting fungi, 25, 29, 34, 36, 38, 135.

  Intoxication by Amanita, 59.

  Introduction, 1.

  Italy, Fungus-eaters of, 14, 86.

  Jelly-like mushroom, 319.

  Johnson, Geo. W. Bibliography, No. 15, 326.

  Kamchatka, Amanita dipsomaniacs of, 59, 60.

  Ketchup, Mushroom. See Catsup.

  Koppe, Dr., on Amanita poison, 60.

  Lactarius, Poisonous, 61.

  _Lactarius_, Various edible species of, 11;
    ---- _deliciosus_, 28, 166-171, 300, 311;
    ---- _piperatus_, 28, 171;
    ---- _volemum_, 171.

  Lambs' kidneys, Flavor of, in fungi, 300, 311.

  Letters to the author, 4.

  Liver mushroom. See Fistulina.

  Lucand, L. Bibliography, No. 30, 327.

  Luminous fungi, 227.

  _Lycoperdaceæ_, 267.

  _Lycoperdon._ See Puff-ball.

  ---- _bovista_, 11.

  ---- structure of, 270.

  Mailing fungus specimens, 4.

  _Marasmius_,
    ---- _scorodoneus_, 11;
    ---- _oreades_, 11, 101-108;
    ---- _urens_, 108-111;
    ---- _peronatus_, 109-113.

  McIlvaine, Captain Charles, 32;
    rule regarding edibility of fungi, 35;
    diagnosis and treatment of mushroom poisoning, 39, 40, 62;
    fastidiousness of fungi, 86, 184, 208. Bibliography, No. 6, 325.

  Meadow Mushroom. See _Agaricus campestris_.

  _Medical and Surgical Reporter_ quoted, 62.

  Medusa Mushroom. See Hydnum.

  Menu of mushrooms, 323.

  Microbes, 7.

  Microscopic fungi, 7.

  Mildew, 7, 78.

  Milky mushroom. See Lactarius.

  Miscellaneous fungi, 231-274.

  Mock oyster soup, 306.

  Moore, Justin P. Bibliography, No. 5. 325.

  _Moniteur Scientifique_, quotation from, 61.

  _Morchella esculenta._ See Morel.

  ---- _caroliniana_, 12.

  Morel, 12, 231, 256;
    to cook, 316;
    to dry, 322.

  Mortality in mushroom poisoning, 43.

  Moss-mushroom, 245.

  "Mother," 7.

  Moulds, 7, 78.

  Moyen, J. Bibliography, No. 31, 327.

  "Muscarine" poison, 60.

  "Mushroom" and "Toadstool," 16-21.

  Mushrooms. See Toadstools, Agaricus, Boletus, Polyporei,
                 Fistulina, and Fungi.

  ---- à la crème, 308.

  ---- à la Provençal, 308.

  ---- Analysis of, 289-291.

  ---- Baked, 311-313.

  ---- Basket for, 36.

  ---- Bibliography, No. 8, 325; No. 23, 327.

  ---- Broiled, 308.

  ---- by mail, 4.

  ---- catsup, 320.

  ---- Chemical nature of, 14, 61.

  ---- Chestnut-burr, 294.

  ---- Classification of, 77, 78.

  ---- Cosmopolitan types of, 12.

  ---- Cultivation of, 85, 86. Bibliography, No. 23, 327.

  ---- Drying of, for food, 119, 246, 262, 301, 310, 321.

  ---- Edible, 8, 13-15, 32.

  ---- Edible species:
    plentiful supply of, 13, 35, 303;
    Beefsteak, 11, 27;
    Coral, see Clavaria;
    Elm, 10;
    "Fairy-ring," 95, 101;
    False Fairy-ring, 108, 109;
    Horse, 85, 91-95;
    Inky, 11, 26, 28, 88;
    Meadow, see _Agaricus campestris_;
    Milky, see Lactarius;
    Moss, 245;
    Oyster, see _Agaricus ostreatus_;
    Pasture, 10, 13, 113;
    Russulæ, 119-141;
    Spine-bearing, see Hydnum;
    St. George's, 95-101.

  ---- Fastidiousness of most species of, 86, 294.

  ---- Fried, 313, 317.

  ---- Fritters of, 314, 317.

  ---- Insects infesting, 25, 29, 34, 36-38, 135.

  ---- Large specimens of, 92.

  ---- List of works on, 325.

  ---- Menu, 323.

  ---- Melting. See Coprinus.

  ---- Milky. See Lactarius.

  ---- Moss. See Hydnum.

  ---- Mycelium or spawn of, and vegetation of, 44, 45, 77,
                                                85-88, 92, 107.

  ---- Number of edible species of, 2, 7, 9, 32, 60;
    identification of, 2, 31;
    Curtis's list of, 9-12;
    nourishing properties of, 14;
    chemical simulation of animal food by, 15, 30, 302;
    popular tests for detecting, 22, 23;
    refutation of same, 24-29;
    desiccation of, 119, 321;
    recipes for cooking, 306-322.

  ---- Number of general species of, 6.

  ---- Pickled, 319.

  ---- pie, 312.

  ---- Poisonous species of, 2, 15, 17, 43-74;
    deadly species of, 2, 15, 43-74;
    poison by contact with, 30, 69;
    vinegar, sweet oil, and whiskey, 39;
    diagnosis and treatment of poisoning, 39, 63-66;
    historical poisoning by, 43, 59, 60;
    fatalities from, 43, 61;
    intoxication from, 59, 60;
    poison discriminated, 61;
    antidotes, 62, 67, 68;
    report of a poisoning case, 63-66;
    harmless mushrooms inoculated from poisonous, 70;
    salt, vinegar, and heat, 29, 39, 71, 72.
    See, also, Amanita, _Russula emetica_, Boletus,
                        and False Champignon.

  ---- Rapid decay of, 6, 25, 30.

  ---- Roast, 311.

  ---- Rules for gathering, 36, 70.

  ---- Rural authorities on, 16-22.

  ---- salad, 319.

  ---- soup, 306, 307, 323.

  ---- spawn. See Mycelium.

  ---- spores. See Spores and Spore-prints.

  ---- Stewed, 307, 308-311, 315-317.

  ---- tube. See Polyporei.

  ---- Testing new species of, for edibility, 33.

  ---- Whims of habitat of, 294.

  _Mycetes_ fungi, 77.

  Mycology and mycophagy, 3, 4, 7, 8.

  ---- Medical and economic, 7, 8, 13-15, 35, 277.

  Mycophagists of America, 8, 9.

  ---- Amateur, safe rules for, 38.


  Nero, 59;
    poisonous mushrooms used by, 43.

  Night, Fungi luminous by, 227.

  Nourishing properties of mushrooms, 14.


  Oak-tongue fungus. See Fistulina.

  Odor of Amanita poisonous, 69.

  Omelet, Mushroom, 277, 278, 318.

  _Orcella_, Agaric, 300.

  Oyster mushroom, 10, 26, 27, 141-148;
    to cook, 303, 311, 315.

  ---- flavor in fungi, 237, 247, 300, 303, 307, 310, 312.

  _Pachyma cocos_, 11.

  Palmer, Julius A., quoted:
    "Silver test," 25, 32, 40;
    on Amanita poison, 61, 69-71, 184, 207;
    on mushroom food, 303, 306, 311. Bibliography, Nos. 2, 3, 325.

  Pasture, or parasol, mushroom, 9, 13, 80, 113.

  Paulet, 306, 314.

  _Paxillus involutus_, 11.

  Payer, J. Bibliography, No. 27, 327.

  Peck, Prof. Charles H., 32, 40, 182, 237, 246.
                       Bibliography, No. 4, 325.

  Persoon, 306, 316.

  Phosphorescence in fungi, 227.

  Pickled mushrooms, 319.

  Pie of mushrooms, 312, 315.

  Plates of the book, 39.

  Pliny on mushroom "tests," 25;
    on poisonous mushrooms, 43, 59;
    on edible mushrooms, 298.

  Poison-cup. See Amanita.

  Poison of Amanita, 43, 61;
    antidote, 68;
    poisoning by contact and odor, 69.

  Poisoning by fungi:
    Diagnosis and treatment, 38, 63, 68;
    vinegar as an antidote, 38, 71;
    antidote, 62, 68;
    Amanita, 2, 15, 43-74;
    poisonous species identified, 2, 15, 61;
    popular poison "tests" refuted, 17, 21-29;
    poisoning by contact, 30, 69.

  Poisons, fatal and minor, 2, 15, 17, 29, 30, 61.

  _Polyporei_, 78, 181-228;
    to dry, 321.

  _Polyporus_, various edible species of, 11;
    ---- _sulphureus_, 11, 219, 303;
    to cook, 316;
    botanical character of, 181-184, 285.

  Popular discrimination between "toadstool" and "mushroom," 16-22;
    popular distrust of fungi, 15.

  Pore-bearing mushrooms. See Boletus, Polyporei, and Fistulina.

  Procerus mushroom, 10;
    pie of, 312.

  Puff-ball fungi, 11, 13, 27, 78, 231, 267, 299;
    _gemmatum_, 268;
    _saccatum_, 268;
    _giganteum_, 268, 318;
    dissemination of spores of, 268, 277-280;
    medical use of, 277;
    as food, 277, 318;
    to cook, 318.

  "Punk," 37, 181.

  Purée of mushrooms, 307.

  Ragoût of mushrooms, 309, 316.

  Ravenel, H. W. Bibliography, No. 7, 325.

  Recipes for cooking fungi, 72, 306-322.

  "Ring" in mushrooms, 48, 85, 95.

  Robinson, W., 306, 312, 313. Bibliography, No. 23, 327.

  Roques, Joseph, 237, 306, 310, 311. Bibliography, No. 24, 327.

  Rove-beetles infesting fungi, 37.

  Rules for the venturesome, 33.

  Russia, Fungus-eaters in, 14;
    fly Amanita in, 29.

  _Russula_, 12, 13, 18, 26, 28;
    ---- _lepida_, 12, 127;
    ---- _alutacea_, 12, 133;
    ---- _virescens_, 12, 88, 120, 300;
    ---- _emetica_, 25, 27, 28, 61, 120, 122, 136-141;
    ---- _heterophylla_, 134, 300;
    ---- _ruber_, 300.

  _Russulæ_, 119;
    opposed to cultivation of, 88;
    insects infesting, 135;
    to bake, 311;
    as salad, 319;
    to dry, 321.

  Rust, 7.

  Rustic fungology, 18-22.

  Salad of mushrooms, 319.

  Salt as an antidote, 39, 72.

  "Salt test" of mushrooms, 23, 29.

  Scaly mushrooms. See _Amanita_, _Agaricus procerus_,
                   and _Boletus strobiloides_.

  Schmiedeberg, Dr., on Amanita poison, 60.

  "Scotch Bonnet." See _Agaricus procerus_.

  "Sep." See _Boletus edulis_.

  "Seven Sisters of Sleep," by Rev. Dr. M. C. Cooke, 59.

  Shadle, Dr. J. E., 62.

  Shaggy-mane mushrooms, 11, 13;
    rustic appreciation of, 19, 27, 28.
    See _Coprinus comatus_.

  "Shroud" in Amanita, 48.

  Silver, Discoloration of, as a "test," 23.

  Smith, Worthington T., 40, 306, 307, 309, 314.
                      Bibliography, No. 14, 326.

  Smuts, 7.

  Socket in Amanita. See Volva.

  Soufflé of puff-balls, 318.

  _Sparassis_,
    ---- _crispa_, 12;
    ---- _luminosa_, 12.

  "Spawn," or mycelium, of fungi, 44, 45, 77, 80, 85-88, 92, 107.

  Specimens by mail, 5.

  Spiders attacked by fungi, 295.

  Spine-bearing mushrooms, 11, 27.
    See Hydnum.

  Spore-prints from mushrooms, 44, 277-296;
    from _Amanita muscarius_, 287, 289;
    from Boletus, 285, 287;
    from _Agaricus campestris_, 283.

  Spore surface, or hymenium, 78, 182.

  Spores of fungi, 79, 87, 182, 268, 277-296;
    number of, 279;
    buoyancy of, 278-293;
    various colors of, 287;
    various forms of, 293.

  _Sporidiifera_, 77, 231, 256.

  _Sporifera_, 77, 78, 231, 256.

  Staphylinus beetles infesting mushrooms, 37.

  Stevenson, John. Bibliography, No. 22, 327.

  Stew of fungi, 307, 308-311, 315-317.

  St. George's mushroom, 95-101.

  _Strobilomyces_, 202.

  Styptic, Puff-balls used as, 277.

  Sulphur mushroom, 219, 303;
    to cook, 316;
    as a salad, 319.

  "Sweetbreads" in fungi, 300, 303.

  Sweet-oil treatment for mushroom poisoning, 39.

  Taylor, Thomas M. Bibliography, No. 8, 325.

  Teeth-bearing mushrooms. See Hydnum.

  Tertullian on toadstools, 17.

  Testing new species for edibility, 33.

  "Tests" or "proofs" for the detection of poisonous species, 17, 21-29.

  _Therapeutic Gazette_, quotation from, 39.

  Thore, Dr., quoted, 86.

  Thread-like fungi, 78.

  "Tinder," 37, 181.

  "Toadstool" and "Mushroom," 16-21, 36;
    popular discrimination of, 16-24;
    popular tests for their discrimination and their refutation,
        17-22, 24-29;   See Mushroom, Fungi, Agaricus, Amanita,
                        Boletus, Polyporei, Morel, Clavaria, Helvella.

  "Toadstools," 181.

  "Touchwood," 37, 181.

  _Tremella mesenterica_, 12.

  _Tremelodon gelatinosum_, 319.

  _Trichogastres_, 231.
    See Puff-balls.

  Tube mushrooms. See Polyporei, Boletus, and Fistulina.

  Vegetarian, Menu for the, 304, 323.

  Veil in mushrooms, 48, 60, 85.

  Vigier, Dr., on Amanita poison, 60.

  Vinegar as an antidote for mushroom poisoning, 39, 71.

  Vitadini, 318.

  Volva in Amanita, Importance of, in classification, 29, 33, 48, 77.

  Warty mushrooms. See Amanita, Pasture Mushroom,
                   and _Strobylomyces_.

  Wasps and bees, 36.

  ---- Fungus attacking, 295.

  Whiskey in mushroom poisoning, 39.

  Wormy specimens of fungi, 25, 30, 34, 36-38, 135.





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