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Title: A treatise on the esculent funguses of England - containing an account of their classical history, uses, - characters, development, structure, nutritious properties, - modes of cooking and preserving, etc.
Author: Badham, Charles David
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A treatise on the esculent funguses of England - containing an account of their classical history, uses, - characters, development, structure, nutritious properties, - modes of cooking and preserving, etc." ***


                               A TREATISE
                                 ON THE
                            ESCULENT FUNGUSES



                       CHARLES DAVID BADHAM, M.D.


            Πολλὰ μὲν ἔσθλά μεμιγμένα πολλὰ δὲ λυγρά.—HOMER.



                               PRINTED BY
                          LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS.


My lamented friend Dr. Badham having died since the first publication of
this work, my advice was asked upon the subject of the preparation of a
new edition. It was wished that the text of the work should be altered as
little as possible, and that the price of the book should be materially
lessened. The latter object could not be effected without reducing the
number of the Plates; but it appeared to me that some plates relating to
details of structure might very well be omitted, as well as the figures
of a few Italian species which, although interesting in themselves, are
quite unnecessary in a book on British Esculent Fungi. With the exception
of the omission of the description of these latter species, and the
addition of the description of two other species hereafter referred to,
the alterations in the text are too trifling to require notice. With
regard to the Figures in this edition, most of them are those of the
former plates, somewhat reduced; a few have been taken from the plates of
Mr. Berkeley’s ‘Outlines of British Fungology,’ and a few from original
and other sources.

By a re-arrangement of the whole, the reduction in the number of the
Plates has been effected, and, at the same time, figures of all the Fungi
represented in the first edition have been given, as well as of two other
species not there noticed. I should observe, however, that by a mistake
of the artist an extra figure of the Horse Mushroom has been inserted in
Plate IV. instead of one of the Common Mushroom.

The two species above alluded to which were not figured in the first
edition, are _Tuber æstivum_ and _Helvella esculenta_. The former must
have been inadvertently omitted by Dr. Badham, as it has long been known
as abundant in certain parts of England. _Helvella esculenta_, although
alluded to by Dr. Badham, was not at that time known to be a British
species. It has since been observed near Weybridge in Surrey, where
it occurs almost every spring. The plant figured in Pl. XV. fig. 6 of
the first edition under the name of _Lycoperdon plumbeum_, is not that
species, but _Lycoperdon pyriforme_; it will be found at Pl. VIII. fig.
5. Dr. Badham states that all puff-balls are esculent, but, judging from
the smell of _Lycoperdon pyriforme_, I should much doubt whether it would
make an agreeable dish. _Lycoperdon plumbeum_ is now better known as
_Bovista plumbea_, and _Lycoperdon Bovista_ as _Lycoperdon giganteum_.

There is some confusion about the synonymy of the plants described by Dr.
Badham as _Agaricus prunulus_ and _Ag. exquisitus_. It is unnecessary
to discuss the matter here, and I have thought it not desirable under
the circumstances to alter Dr. Badham’s nomenclature. They appear to
be described in Mr. Berkeley’s work as _Ag. gambosus_, Fr., and _Ag.
arvensis_, Schœff.

Dr. Badham’s observations on the spores of Fungi must be read in
connection with the note added by him at the conclusion of the work;
and to those who are interested in that part of the subject I should
recommend the perusal of the seventh chapter of Mr. Berkeley’s ‘Outlines
of British Fungology,’ and Tulasne’s recent work, ‘Selecta Fungorum

Mr. Cooke, in his ‘Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi,’ recently
published, mentions some species as esculent which are not noticed in
this work. I have however no experience of their qualities, and must
refer the reader to Mr. Cooke’s book for further information. He mentions
Mr. Berkeley as an authority for considering _Agaricus rubescens_ as
suspicious; but, from long experience, I can vouch for its being not only
wholesome, but, as Dr. Badham says, “a very delicate fungus.”

                                                                    F. C.




I had two reasons for desiring that this humble performance should
appear under the sanction of your Lordship’s name. Nothing could be more
favourable to a Treatise on any department of Natural History, than the
approval of one who has been so eminently successful in his cultivation
of the same field.

But it is with much greater confidence that I dedicate a work, whose
chief object it is to furnish the labouring classes with wholesome
nourishment and profitable occupation, to a high functionary of that
kingdom, which is distinguished from all others by recognizing the claims
and furthering the interests of the poor.

I have the honour to be, my Lord,

    With great respect, your Lordship’s

                       Obliged and humble Servant,

                                                            C. D. BADHAM.



    ETYMOLOGIES                                                          1

    THE RANGE OF FUNGUS GROWTHS                                          7

    OF THEIR GENERAL FORMS, COLOURS, AND TEXTURE                        10

    ODOURS AND TASTES                                                   13

    EXPANSIVE POWER OF GROWTH                                           14

    REPRODUCTIVE POWER                                                  16

    MOTION                                                              16

    PHOSPHORESCENCE                                                     18

    DIMENSIONS                                                          18

    CHEMICAL COMPOSITION                                                20

    USES                                                                21

    MEDICAL USES                                                        25

    FUNGUSES CONSIDERED AS AN ARTICLE OF DIET                           27

    MODES OF DISTINGUISHING                                             40

    CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO THEIR PRODUCTION                            47

    FAIRY RINGS                                                         52

    ON THE GROWTH OF FUNGUSES                                           53


    OF THE ANNULUS, THE VELUM, AND THE VOLVA                            66

    OF THE STALK, AND OF THE PILEUS                                     68

    OF THE GILLS, TUBES, PLAITS, AND SPINES                             69



        _Agaricus acris minor_                                         120

        _Agaricus alutaceus_                                           117

        _Agaricus atramentarius_                                       111

        _Agaricus campestris_                                           94

        _Agaricus castaneus_                                           143

        _Agaricus comatus_                                             112

        _Agaricus deliciosus_                                          102

        _Agaricus Dryophilus_                                          107

        _Agaricus emeticus_                                            118

        _Agaricus exquisitus_                                          100

        _Agaricus fusipes_                                             141

        _Agaricus heterophyllus_                                       113

        _Agaricus melleus_                                             139

        _Agaricus nebularis_                                           108

        _Agaricus Orcella_                                             129

        _Agaricus oreades_                                             106

        _Agaricus ostreatus_                                           121

        _Agaricus personatus_                                          105

        _Agaricus piperatus_                                           144

        _Agaricus procerus_                                             88

        _Agaricus prunulus_                                             85

        _Agaricus ruber_                                               115

        _Agaricus rubescens_                                           123

        _Agaricus sanguineus_                                          120

        _Agaricus semiglobatus_                                        108

        _Agaricus ulmarius_                                            140

        _Agaricus vaginatus_                                           142

        _Agaricus violaceus_                                           143

        _Agaricus virescens_                                           116

        _Agaricus virgineus_                                           145

        _Boletus edulis_                                                90

        _Boletus luridus_                                              104

        _Boletus scaber_                                               103

        _Cantharellus cibarius_                                        110

        _Clavaria coralloides_                                         135

        _Fistulina hepatica_                                           127

        _Helvella crispa_                                              130

        _Helvella lacunosa_                                            131

        _Helvella esculenta_                                           131

        _Hydnum repandum_                                              126

        _Lycoperdon Bovista_                                           138

        _Lycoperdon plumbeum_                                          136

        _Morchella esculenta_                                          123

        _Morchella semilibera_                                         124

        _Peziza acetabulum_                                            133

        _Polyporus frondosus_                                          133

        _Tuber æstivum_                                                145

        _Verpa digitaliformis_                                         132

    CONCLUSION                                                         146


               PLATE I.

    Fig. 1. Agaricus prunulus.

     ”   2. Agaricus personatus.

               PLATE II.

    Agaricus procerus.

               PLATE III.

    Fig. 1, 2. Boletus edulis.

     ”   3, 4. Agaricus heterophyllus.

               PLATE IV.

    Fig. 1. Polyporus frondosus.

     ”   2. Agaricus nebularis.

     ”   3, 4, 5. Agaricus exquisitus.

               PLATE V.

    Fig. 1. Helvella lacunosa.

     ”   2. Clavaria amethystina.

     ”   3. Clavaria coralloides.

     ”   4. Agaricus deliciosus.

     ”   5. Clavaria cinerea.

     ”   6. Clavaria rugosa.

               PLATE VI.

    Fig. 1, 2. Boletus scaber.

     ”   3, 4, 5. Boletus luridus.

               PLATE VII.

    Fig. 1, 2, 3. Agaricus comatus.

     ”   4. Agaricus oreades.

     ”   5. Agaricus Dryophilus.

                PLATE VIII.

    Fig. 1. Cantharellus cibarius.

     ”   2. Tuber æstivum.

     ”   3, 4. Hydnum repandum.

     ”   5. Lycoperdon pyriforme.

               PLATE IX.

    Fig. 1, 2. Agaricus atramentarius.

     ”   3. Agaricus melleus.

               PLATE X.

    Agaricus ostreatus.

               PLATE XI.

    Fig. 1, 2. Agaricus Orcella.

     ”   3, 4, 5. Agaricus rubescens.

              PLATE XII.

    Fig. 1, 2. Fistulina hepatica.

     ”   3, 4, 5. Helvella esculenta.

     ”   6. Morchella esculenta.


No country is perhaps richer in esculent Funguses than our own; we have
upwards of thirty species abounding in our woods. No markets might
therefore be better supplied than the English, and yet England is the
only country in Europe where this important and savoury food is, from
ignorance or prejudice, left to perish ungathered.

In France, Germany, and Italy, Funguses not only constitute for weeks
together the sole diet of thousands, but the residue, either fresh,
dried, or variously preserved in oil, vinegar, or brine, is sold by the
poor, and forms a valuable source of income to many who have no other
produce to bring into the market. Well, then, may we style them, with
M. Roques, “_the manna of the poor_.” To call attention to an article
of commerce elsewhere so lucrative, with us so wholly neglected, is the
object of the present work, to which the best possible introduction will
be a brief reference to the state of the fungus market abroad.

The following brief summary was drawn up by Professor Sanguinetti, the
Official Inspector (“_Ispettore dei Funghi_”) at Rome; let it speak
for itself:—“For forty days during the autumn, and for about half
that period every spring, large quantities of Funguses, picked in the
immediate vicinity of Rome, from Frascati, Rocca di Papa, Albano, beyond
Monte Mario towards Ostia and the neighbourhood of the sites of Veii
and Gabii, are brought in at the different gates. In the year 1837, the
Government instituted the so-called _Congregazione Speciale di Sanità_,
which, among other duties, was more particularly required to take into
serious consideration the commerce of Funguses, from the unrestricted
sale of which during some years past, cases of poisoning had not
unfrequently occurred. The following decisions were arrived at by this

    “1st. That for the future an ‘Inspector of Funguses,’ versed
    in botany, should be appointed to attend the market in place
    of the peasant, whose supposed practical knowledge had been
    hitherto held as sufficient guarantee for the public safety.

    “2nd. That all the Funguses brought into Rome by the different
    gates should be registered, under the surveillance of the
    principal officer, in whose presence also the baskets were to
    be sealed up, and the whole for that day’s consumption sent
    under escort to a central depôt.

    “3rd. That a certain spot should be fixed upon for the
    Fungus market, and that nobody, under penalty of fine and
    imprisonment, should hawk them about the streets.

    “4th. That at seven o’clock A.M. precisely, the Inspector
    should pay his daily visit and examine the whole, the contents
    of the baskets being previously emptied on the ground by the
    proprietors, who were then to receive, if the Funguses were
    approved of, a printed permission of sale from the police, and
    to pay for it an impost of one baioccho (a halfpenny) on every
    ten pounds.

    “5th. That quantities under ten pounds should not be taxed.

    “6th. That the stale funguses of the preceding day, as well
    as those that were mouldy, bruised, filled with maggots,
    or dangerous (_muffi_, _guasti_, _verminosi_, _velenosi_),
    together with any specimen of the common mushroom (_Ag.
    campestris_) detected in any of the baskets, should be sent
    under escort and thrown into the Tiber.

    “7th. That the Inspector should be empowered to fine or
    imprison all those refractory to the above regulations; and,
    finally, that he should furnish a weekly report to the Tribunal
    of Provisions (_Il Tribunale delle Grascie_) of the proceeds of
    the sale.

“As all fresh Funguses for sale in quantities _exceeding_ ten pounds
are weighed, in order to be taxed, we are enabled to arrive at an exact
estimate of the number of pounds thus disposed of. The return of _taxed_
Mushrooms in the city of Rome during the last ten years, gives a yearly
average of between _sixty and eighty thousand pounds_ weight; and if we
double this amount, as we may safely do, in order to include such smaller
_untaxed_ supplies as are disposed of as bribes, fees, and presents, and
reckon the whole at the rate of six baiocchi, or threepence per pound (a
fair average), this will make the commercial value of fresh Funguses very
apparent, showing it here to be little less than £2000 a year.”

But the fresh Funguses form only a small part of the whole consumption,
to which must be added the dried, the pickled, and the preserved; which
sell at a much higher price than the first.[2] Supposing, however, that
with these additions the supply of all kinds only reached a sum the
double of that given above, even this would furnish us with an annual
average of nearly _four thousand pounds sterling_; and this in a single
city, and that, too, by no means the most populous one in Italy![3]
What, then, must be the net receipts of all the market-places of all the
Italian States? For as in these the proportion of the price of esculent
Funguses to butchers’ meat is as two to three, it is plain that prejudice
has deprived the poor of this country, not only of many thousand pounds
of the former but also of as much of the latter, as might have been
purchased by exchange, and of the countless sums which might have been
earned in gathering them.[4]


                      “Quos ipsa volentia rura
    Sponte tulere sua carpsit.”—_Virgil._

    “He culls from woods, and heights, and fields,
    Those untaxed boons which nature yields.”


By the word μύκης, ητος or ου, ὁ, whereof the usually received root,
μῦκος (_mucus_), is probably factitious, the Greeks used familiarly to
designate certain, but indefinite species of funguses, which they were
in the habit of employing at table. This term, in its origin at once
trivial and restricted to at most a few varieties, has become in our days
classical and generic; Mycology, its direct derivative, including, in the
language of modern botany, several great sections of plants (many amongst
the number of microscopic minuteness), which have apparently as little to
do with the original import of μύκης as smut, bunt, mould, or dry-rot,
have to do with our table mushrooms. A like indefiniteness formerly
characterized the Latin word _fungus_, though it be now used in as
catholic a sense as that of μύκης; this, in the classic times of Rome,
seems to have been confined (without any precise limitation, however) to
certain sorts which might be eaten, and to others which it was not safe
to eat. The

    “Fungos colligit albos,”[5]

which occurs in Ovid’s ‘Fasti,’ alludes to the former; the

    “Sunt tibi boleti, fungos ego sumo suillos,”

of Martial, points to an inferior kind, but still esculent; whilst the
word not unfrequently designated, if not actual toadstools, at least very
equivocal mushrooms; of which character were those “ancipites fungi”
presented by Veiento to his poor clients. Some melancholy etymologists,
upon whom good mushrooms are really thrown away, would beget fungus
out of _funus_, but Voss[6] judiciously rejects so harsh and forced a
derivation, mentioning together with it others that are still more so.

The word _Boletus_, which now stands for a large genus of the section
_Pileati_, was used in ancient Rome to designate that particular mushroom
which had the honour, under Agrippina’s orders and Locusta’s cookery, of
poisoning Claudius; in memory of which event it is now called _Amanita
Cæsarea_, the Cæsar’s mushroom. It occurs frequently both in the poets
and prose writers of those days, and was in high esteem, as we collect
from Pliny, who, though no mushroom-fancier himself, calls this “Boletus
optimi cibi.” Nero, in playful allusion to his uncle’s death, of which
it was the occasion, designates it the ‘food of gods,’ βρῶμα θεῶν; and
Martial celebrates it in many a convivial epigram; in one, for instance,
where he asks his hard-hearted patron, “what possible pleasure it can be
for his guests to sit at his table, and see him devour boletuses;” in
another, “gold and silver and dresses may be trusted to a messenger, but
not a boletus, (_subaudi_) because he will eat it on the way.” This is
the only ancient mushroom which we at once recognize by the description
of it; “it originates,” says Pliny, “in a volva, or purse, in which it
lies at first concealed as in an egg; breaking through this, it rises
upwards on its stalk; the colour of its cap is red; it takes a week
to pass through the various stages of its growth and declension.” The
_suillus_—probably the same as the modern _porcino_ (a word of analogous
import), which was, and is, eaten by men as well as pigs, and not always
by these[7]—was, according to Pliny, the fungus which most readily lent
itself to poisoning by mistake; a remark so far consonant to modern
experience, that it is liable, without some attention, to be confounded
with the _Boletus luridus_, _B. cyanescens_, and others, which in their
general shape and external hue resemble it, though it is not by any means
certain that any of these species, with which it may be confounded, are
themselves poisonous.[8] The word _tuber_, though it occasionally (as in
Juvenal) meant the _truffle_, seems to have been used with considerable
latitude. Thus the _tubers_ said to spring up after those _optatos
imbres_, those “long-wished-for showers of spring,” were, probably, not
truffles, but puff-balls, which, at the season of warm rains grow with
incredible rapidity, forming an esteemed article of luxury, not only in
Italy, but also in India; whereas the truffle never makes its appearance
in the markets at such times, nor comes up so immediately after rain.
_Tuber_, like our ancient “_fusseball_,” seems a common appellation both
for truffles and puff-balls. What the ancients understood by _hydnum_
is as little precise or discriminate as the last word; for Theophrastus
declares it to have a light bark, λειόφλοιον εἶναι, in which case it is
a puff-ball, while the plant called ὑδνοφίλον, which is said to indicate
the whereabouts of _hydna_ in its neighbourhood, can only refer to the
truffle. The truffle, however, which is now so much prized throughout
Europe, seems not to have been known to the ancients, at least it is
not described by them.[9] That which the Greeks called _misy_, and the
Romans the Libyan truffle,[10] was white and of very delicious flavour,
whilst by _hydnum_ (when this word really meant truffle) they usually
designated a particular kind bearing a smooth red rind, and abounding
in certain districts of Italy; but having no chance against the black,
nodulated _tuber tuberum_, the truffle _par excellence_, found in such
abundance in the vicinities of Rome, Florence, Siena, etc., and, above
all, amongst the Nursian hills of Umbria, over against Spoleto, whence it
is largely exported throughout and beyond Italy. Under the name _Peziza_,
the ancients appear at times to describe, unconsciously, a _Scleroderma_
or species of puff-ball after it has evacuated its seed, when it presents
a flattened surface, and so far looks like a _Peziza_, with which, in
fact, it has no connection. By _Amanita_, Galen intended some kind of
esculent fungus, but we know not which; this word has now come to have
a more extensive import, and to designate, besides one or two species
that are good, many of the most dangerous character. Whatever the ancient
_Amanita_ may have been, it was formerly in high repute; Galen declares
that, next to the _Boletus_, it is ἀβλαβέστατον to eat—in which good
report of it he is abundantly borne out by the concurrent testimony of
Nicander. What Dioscorides meant by ἀγαρικὸν is another uncertainty, to
resolve which we have not sufficient data; one thing seems plain, that
it could not have been our officinal _Agaric_, for that grows upon the
_Larch_, whereas his _Agaricon_ grew upon the _Cedar_. Julius Scaliger
amuses himself at the expense of Athenæus for saying that _Agaricus_
is so called from the country of Agaria, whence he would make out that
it originally came; whereas there never was such a country, his Agaria
being, like our Poiatia, only another synonym for Fancy’s fairyland.[11]

The words _champignon_ and _mushroom_ have both a French origin, though,
like the corresponding derivatives from the Greek and Latin, they
too have come to signify things different from what they originally
designated; _champignon_, for example, of which _champ_ would seem to be
the root, is _generic_ in France. The ‘Traités sur les Champignons’ of
Bulliard, Persoon, Paulet, Cordier, and Roques, are treatises of funguses
_in genere_; whilst in England we restrict the word _champignon_ to one
small Agaric, which, as it grows in the so-called “fairy-rings,” is
hence named _Ag. oreades_. Again, there can be no doubt that our word
_mushroom_ (which, as contradistinguished from _toadstool_, is so far
generic) comes from the French _mouceron_ (originally spelt _mousseron_),
and belongs of right to that most dainty of funguses, the _A. prunulus_,
which grows amidst tender herbage and _moss_ (whence its name), and
which is justly considered, over almost the whole continent of Europe,
as the _ne plus ultra_ of culinary _friandise_. It abounds in various
parts of England, being everywhere trodden underfoot, or reaped down,
or dug up as a nuisance, while the rings which it so sedulously forms
are as sedulously destroyed. The very odour which it exhales under these
injuries, which the French call “un parfum exquis aromatisé,”[12] and the
Italians, “un odore gratissimo,”[13] is in England occasionally cited
to its disadvantage in confirmation of its supposed noxious qualities.
Thus, while we use the word _mushroom_, which is the proper appellation
of _this_ species, for another (very good, no doubt, but wholly unlike it
in its botanical characters, flavour, and appearance), this neglected,
and ignorantly neglected, species, finds itself deprived of its rightful
name, and proscribed as a toadstool. The origin of this last word,
_toadstool_, which makes them seats or thrones for toads, does not quite
satisfy me, I confess, though there be doughty authorities for it in
Johnson’s Dictionary and in Spenser’s ‘Faery Queen’!

    “The grisly todestool grown there mought I see,
    And loathed paddocks lording on the same;”

and, though an anonymous Italian authority declares that, in Germany,
they have actually been seen sitting on their stools,[14] still, even in
Germany, it must be admitted that they do not use them as frequently as
we might expect, had they been created for this end. In that most grisly
and ghastly waxwork exhibition at Florence, representing a charnel-house
filled with the recent victims to a raging plague, in every stage of
decomposition, the toad and his stool are not forgotten; but the artist,
who had here to deal with matter, and to consult what it would bear,
has not put his toads upon these brittle stools, lest, giving way, both
should come to the ground; he has been content to convert them into
toad-umbrellas, and to spread them as an awning over their heads.[15]


The family of Funguses, in the comprehensive sense in which we now
employ the term, is immense. Merely catalogued and described, there are
sufficient to fill an octavo volume of nearly 400 pages of close print,
of British species alone; altogether, there cannot be less than 5000
recognized species at present known, and each year adds new ones to the
list. The reader’s surprise at this will somewhat diminish, when he
considers, that not only the toadstools which beset his walks, whether
growing upon the ground or at the roots of trees, belong to this class,
but that the immense hordes of parasites which feed at his expense, and
foul, like the Harpies, whatever they may not actually consume, belong to
it also.

For the single mushroom that we eat, how many hundreds there be that
retaliate and prey upon us in return! To enumerate but a few, and these
of the microscopic kinds (on the other side are some which the arms
can scarcely embrace): the _Mucor mucedo_, that spawns upon our dried
preserves; the _Ascophora mucedo_, that makes our bread mouldy (“mucidæ
frustra farinæ”[16]); the _Uredo segetum_, that burns Ceres out of her
own cornfields; the _Uredo rubigo_, whose rust is still more destructive;
and the _Puccinia graminis_, whose voracity sets corn-laws and farmers
at defiance, are all funguses! So is the grey _Monilia_, that rots, and
then fattens upon, our fruits; and the _Mucor herbariorum_, that destroys
the careful gleanings of the painstaking botanist. When our beer becomes
mothery, the mother of that mischief is a fungus. If pickles acquire a
bad taste, if ketchup turns ropy and putrifies, funguses have a finger
in it all! Their reign stops not here; they prey upon each other; they
even select their victims! There is the _Myrothecium viride_, which will
only grow upon dry Agarics, preferring chiefly, for this purpose, the
_Agaricus adustus_; the _Mucor[17] chrysospermus_, which attacks the
flesh of a particular _Boletus_; the _Sclerotium cornutum_, which visits
some other moist mushrooms in decay. There are some _Xylomas_ that will
spot the leaves of the Maple, and some those of the Willow, exclusively.
The naked seeds of some are found burrowing between the opposite surface
of leaves; some love the neighbourhood of burnt stubble and charred wood;
some visit the sculptor in his studio, growing up amidst the heaps of
moistened marble dust that have caked and consolidated under his saw.
The _Racodium_ of the low cellar[18] festoons its ceiling, shags its
walls, and wraps its thick coat round our wine-casks,[19] keeping our
oldest wine in closest bond; while the _Geastrum_, aspiring occasionally
to leave this earth, has been found suspended, like Mahomet’s coffin,
between it and the stars, on the very highest pinnacle of St. Paul’s.[20]
The close cavities of nuts occasionally afford concealment to some
species; others, like leeches, stick to the bulbs of plants, and suck
them dry; these (the architect’s and ship-builder’s bane) pick timber to
pieces, as men pick oakum; nor do they confine their selective ravages to
plants alone, they attach themselves to animal structures, and destroy
animal life; the _Onygena equina_ has a particular fancy for the hoofs of
horses and for the horns of cattle, sticking to these alone; the belly
of a tropical fly[21] is liable, in autumn, to break out into vegetable
tufts of fungous growth, and the caterpillar to carry about on his body
a _Cordyceps_ larger than himself. The disease called Muscadine, which
destroys so many silkworms, is also a fungus (_Botrytis Bassiana_), which
in a very short time completely fills the worm with filaments very unlike
those it is in the habit of secreting.[22] The vegetating wasp,[23] too,
of which everybody has heard, is only another mysterious blending of
vegetable with insect life. Lastly, and to take breath, funguses visit
the wards of our hospitals, and grow out of the products of surgical
disease.[24] Where, then, are they not to be found? do they not abound,
like Pharaoh’s plagues, everywhere? is not their name legion, and their
province ubiquity?[25]


What geometry shall define their ever-varying shapes? who but a Venetian
painter do justice to their colours?[26] or what modifications of
‘soft’ and ‘hard’ convey an adequate knowledge of all their various
crases and consistencies? As to shapes, some are simple threads, like
the _Byssus_, and never get beyond this; some shoot out into branches,
like seaweed; some puff themselves out into puff-balls; some thrust their
heads into mitres;[27] these assume the shape of a cup,[28] and those of
a wine-funnel;[29] some, like _A. mammosus_, have a teat; others, like
the _A. clypeolarius_, are umbonated at their centre; these are stilted
upon a high leg,[30] and those have not a leg to stand on; some are
shell-shaped, many bell-shaped, and some hang upon their stalks like a
lawyer’s wig;[31] some assume the form of the horse’s hoof, others of a
goat’s beard: in _Clathrus cancellatus_ you look into the fungus through
a thick red trellis which surrounds it. Some exhibit a nest in which they
rear their young,[32] and, not to speak of those vague shapes,

    “If shapes they can be called, that shape have none

of such tree parasites as are fain to mould themselves at the will of
their entertainer (the fate of parasites, whether under oak or mahogany),
mention may be made of two, of which the forms are at once singular and
constant; one exactly like an ear, and given for some good reason to
Judas (_Auricula Judæ_), clings to several trees, and trembles when you
touch it; the other, which lolls out from the bark of chestnut-trees
(_Lingua di Castagna_), is so like a tongue in shape and general
appearance,[33] that in the days of enchanted trees you would not have
cut it off to pickle or to eat on any account, lest the knight to whom it
belonged should afterwards come to claim it of you. The above are amongst
the most remarkable of the many Protean forms assumed by funguses; as
to their colours, we find in one genus only species which correspond
to every hue! The _Agaricus Cæsareus_, the _A. muscarius_, the _A.
sanguineus_, assume the imperial purple, the _A. violaceus_ a beautiful
violet, the _A. sulphureus_ a bright yellow, the _A. adustus_ a dingy
black, the _A. exquisitus_, and many others, a milk-white; whilst the
_A. virescens_ takes that which, in this class of plants, is the rarest
of all to meet with, a pale-green colour. The upper surface of some is
zoned with concentric circles of different hues; sometimes it is spotted,
at other times of a uniform tint. The bonnets of some shine as if they
were sprinkled with _mica_;[34] these have a rich velvety, those a smooth
kid-like covering stretched over them. Some _pilei_ are imbricated with
brown scales, some flocked with white shreds of membrane, and some are
stained with various-coloured milks secreted from within. The consistence
of funguses is very different according to their sort, and the epithets
of woody, corky, leathery, spongy, fleshy, gelatinous, pulpy, or mucous,
will all find fitting application to some of them. Occasionally a fungus
is secreted soft, but hardens by degrees into a compact and woody


Both one and the other are far more numerous in this class of plants than
in any other with which we are acquainted. As to odours, though these be
generally most powerful in the fresh condition of the fungus, they are
sometimes increased by drying it, during which process too some species,
inodorous before, acquire an odour, and not always a pleasant one. Some
yield an insupportable stench; the _Phallus impudicus_ and _Clathrus
cancellatus_ are of this kind. A botanist had by mistake taken one of
the former into his bedroom; he was soon awakened by an intolerable
fœtor, and was glad to open his window and get rid of it, as he hoped,
and the _Phallus_ together. Here he was disappointed; “sublatâ causâ non
tollitur effectus,” the fœtor remaining nearly the same for some hours
afterwards. A lady, a friend of mine, who was drawing one in a room, was
obliged to take it into the open air to complete her sketch. As to the
_Clathrus_, I have found ten minutes in a room with it nine too many:
it becomes insupportably offensive in a short time, and its infective
stench has given rise to a superstition entertained of it throughout
the Landes, viz. that it is capable of producing cancer—in consequence
of which superstition the inhabitants, who call it Cancrou, or Cancer,
cover it carefully over, lest by accident some one should chance to touch
it, and become infected with that horrible disease in consequence.[35]
Batsch has described an Agaric[36] of so powerful and peculiar a smell,
that before he could finish his picture (for he was drawing it) a violent
headache made him desist, “vehementi afficiebar capitis dolore.” Of the
others, some are graveolent in a savoury or in an unsavoury sense. This
smells strong of onions,[37] that of cinnamon,[38] from which it takes
its name; the _A. ostreatus_ (_auct. nost._) most powerfully of Tarragon;
_A. odoratus_, and the _Cantharellus_, like apricots and ratafia
(Purton); _Boletus salicinus_, “like the bloom of May” (Abbott); the _A.
sanguineus_, when dry, savours of a stale poultice; _A. piperatus_, of
the _Triglia_, or red mullet; the _Hydna_ generally give out a smell of
tallow; moulds have their own smells, which are mouldy and musty; some
exhale the smell of putrid meat, many the odour of fresh meal; the spawn
of _A. prunulus_ and of the puff-balls (_Lycoperdons_) exhale an odour
similar to the perfect plants; but the _Pietra funghaia_, filled with
the spores of its own _Polyporus_, is without smell. When fresh, there
is scarcely any perceptible odour in _Boletus edulis_ or _B. luridus_,
nor yet in the _A. Cæsareus_ when recently gathered. A word about their
tastes will suffice: with so many smells, they must needs have flavours
to correspond, and so they have; sapid, sweet, sour, peppery, rich,
rank, acrid, nauseous, bitter, styptic, might be all found in an English
“gradus” (though at present, I am sorry to say, without any lines from
poets in whose writings they occur), after the word ‘Fungus.’ In a few,
generally of an unsafe character, there is little or no taste in the
mouth while they are being masticated, but shortly after deglutition, the
fauces become dry, and a sense of more or less constriction is apt to
supervene, which frequently continues for some time afterwards.


Soft and yielding as vegetable structures appear to the touch, the
expansive force of their growth is almost beyond calculation. The effects
of this power, of which the experience of every one will furnish him
with some instances, are perhaps nowhere more strikingly exemplified
than amidst the ruins of its own creation. Coeval with many old brick
fabrics of earlier times, perhaps embedded in the very mortar which holds
them together, it may lurk there for centuries in quiescence, till once
arousing its energies, it continues to exert them in ceaseless activity
ever after. It has at Rome planted its pink Valerians on her highest
towers, and its wild fig-tree in the breaches of her walls; nor are the
granite obelisks of her piazzas, nor the classic groups in marble on her
Quirinal mount, entirely exempt from its encroachments. A conspiracy of
plants, _one hundred strong_, have long ago planned the destruction of
the Coliseum; their undermining process advances each year, and neither
iron nor new brickwork can arrest it long. That old Roman cement, which
the barbarians gave up as impracticable, and the pickaxe of the Barberini
had but begun to disintegrate, will, ere the lapse of another century,
be effectually pulled to pieces by the rending arm of vegetation. Here,
as erst in Juvenal’s time, the _mala ficus_ finds no walls too strong
to rive asunder, no tower beyond the reach of its scaling, no monument
too sacred for it to touch. In the class of plants immediately under
consideration, while the expansive effort of growth is equal to what
it is in other cases, its effects are far more startling from their
suddenness. M. Bulliard (to cite one or two instances out of a great
many) relates, that on placing a _Phallus impudicus_ within a glass
vessel, the plant expanded so rapidly as to shiver its sides with an
explosive detonation as loud as that of a pistol. Dr. Carpenter, in
his ‘Elements of Physiology,’ mentions that “in the neighbourhood of
Basingstoke a paving-stone, measuring twenty-one inches square, and
weighing eighty-three pounds, was completely raised an inch and a half
out of its bed by a mass of toadstools, of from six to seven inches
in diameter, and that nearly the whole pavement of the town suffered
displacement from the same cause.” A friend has seen a crop of puff-balls
raise large flagstones considerably above the plane of their original
level; and I have myself recently witnessed an extensive displacement
of the pegs of a wooden pavement which had been driven nine inches into
the ground, but were heaved up irregularly, in several places, by small
bouquets of Agarics, growing from below.


Funguses have a remarkable power of re-forming such parts of their
substance as have been accidentally or otherwise removed. Vittadini found
that when the tubes of a _Boletus_ were cut out from a growing plant,
they were after a time reproduced. Where deep holes have been eaten into
these plants by snails, such holes, on the _Boletus_ attaining to its
full growth, are partially refilled. If the tender _Polyporus_ be cut
across, the wound immediately sets about healing by the first intention,
leaving not even a cicatrice to mark the original seat of the injury. The
_Lycoperdons_ (_Bovista_), which are often accidentally wounded by the
scythe, have the same faculty of repairing the injury, remodelling afresh
the parts that may have been excised from them.[39]


In a recent work on ‘Insect Life,’ I have discoursed somewhat at large
on the insufficiency of any kind of movements as proofs of sensation,
quoting, amidst other evidences to this effect, certain remarkable
movements in plants. Some of the present family exhibit the phenomena
of insensitive motion in a remarkable manner, and might have been added
to the list already cited in that publication. Mr. Robson has given us
a very interesting account of the movements he observed in the scarlet
_Clathrus_, which is here transcribed in his own words. It is interesting
to notice how an unbiassed observer uses the very terms to designate the
movements of a plant which would have been minutely descriptive of those
of an insect:—“At first I was much surprised to see a part of the fibres,
that had got through a rupture in the top of the _Clathrus_, moving like
the legs of a fly when laid on his back. I then touched it with the
point of a pin, and was still more surprised when I saw it present the
appearance of a little bundle of worms entangled together, the fibres
being all alive. I next took the little bundle of fibres quite out, and
the animal motion was then so strong as to turn the head halfway round,
first one way and then another, and two or three times it got out of the
focus. Almost every fibre had a different motion; some of them twined
round one another, and then untwined again, whilst others were bending,
extending, coiling, waving, etc. The fibres had many little balls
adhering to their sides, which I take to be the seeds, and I observed
many of them to be disengaged at every motion of the fibres; the seeds
appeared like gunpowder finely granulated.” Instances from other authors
abound. “An _Helvella inflata_, on being touched by me once, threw up
its seeds in the form of a smoke, which arose with an elastic bound,
glittering in the sunshine like particles of silver.”[40] “The _Vibrissea
truncorum_, taken from water and exposed to the rays of the sun, though
at first smooth, is soon covered with white geniculated filaments, which
start from the _hymenium_, and have an oscillating motion.”[41] The
_Pilobolus_, of which so accurate an account has been given us by the
great Florentine mycologist,[42] casts, as its name imports, its seeds
into the air; these also escape with a strong projectile force from the
upper surface of Pezizas, the anfractuosities of the Morel, and from the
gills of Agarics.[43]


Several kinds of funguses, and the spawn of the truffle, emit a
phosphorescent light; of the first, the _Agaricus olearius_, not uncommon
in Italy, is sometimes seen at night, feebly shining amidst the darkness
of the olive grove. The coal-mines near Dresden have long been celebrated
for the production of funguses which emit a light similar to a pale
moonlight. Mr. Drummond describes an Australian fungus with similar
properties; and another very interesting one, an Agaric, is noticed by
Mr. Gardner, in his ‘Travels in Brazil.’[44]


Most funguses do not present great anomalies in their size, but retain
nearly the same dimensions throughout the whole course of their being;
some few species, however, seem to have a faculty of almost indefinite
expansion. The usual size of a puff-ball, as we all know, is not much
larger than an egg, but some puff-balls attain to the dimensions of
the human head,[45] or exceed it. Mr. Berkeley quotes the case of a
_Polyporus squamosus_, which in three weeks grew to seven feet five
inches in periphery, and weighed thirty-four pounds; also of a _Polyporus
fraxineus_, which in a few years measured forty-two inches across.
Clusius[46] tells us of a fungus in Pannonia, of such immense size, that
after satisfying the cravings of a large mycophilous household, enough
of it remained to fill a chariot; this must have been the _Polyporus
frondosus_, to which _Polyporus_ John Bapt. Porta[47] also alludes as
that called _gallinace_[48] by the Neapolitans, which is so big, he says,
that you can scarcely make your hands meet round it, “brachiis diductis
vix homo complecti possit;” he had known it attain twelve pounds weight
in a few days.[49] Bolton, in 1787, found an _Agaricus muscarius_,
which, “after the removal of a considerable portion of its stalk, weighed
nearly two pounds;” Withering, an _A. Georgii_, “which weighed fourteen
pounds,” and Mr. Stackhouse another of the same species in Cornwall,
“which was eighteen inches across, and had a stem as thick as a man’s
wrist;” and I lately picked in the park at Buckhurst, a _Boletus edulis_
which measured twenty-eight inches round its pileus, and eight round
the stem, and a few days later a _B. pachypus_, the girth of which was
thirty-two inches.


Of all vegetable productions these are the most highly azotized, that
is, animalized in their composition—a fact not only evinced by the
strong cadaverous smell which some of them give out in decay, and by
the savoury animalized meat which others afford at table, but on the
evidence of chemistry also. Thus Dr. Marcet has proved that, like
animals, they absorb a large quantity of oxygen, and disengage in return,
from their surface, a large quantity of carbonic acid; all however do
not exhale carbonic acid, but, in lieu of it, some give out hydrogen,
and others azotic gas. They yield, moreover, to chemical analysis the
several components of which animal structures are made up; many of them,
in addition to sugar, gum, resin, a peculiar acid called fungic acid,
and a variety of salts, furnish considerable quantities of _albumen_,
_adipocire_, and _osmazome_, which last is that principle that gives its
peculiar flavour to meat gravy. The _Polyporus sulphureus_ is frequently
covered with little crystals of the binoxalate of potash;[50] the
_Agaricus piperatus_ yields the acetate of potash,[51] and it is probable
that other funguses of which we have as yet no recorded analysis will,
on the institution of such, be found to contain some new and unexpected
ingredient peculiar to themselves. When these several substances have
been duly extracted from funguses, there is left behind for a common base
the solid structure of the plant itself; this, which is called _fungine_,
is white, flabby, insipid in its taste, but highly nutritious in its
properties. If nitric acid be poured upon it, an immediate disengagement
of azotic gas takes place, and several new substances are the result:
a bitter principle, a reddish resinoid matter, hydrocyanic and oxalic
acids, and two remarkable fatty substances, whereof one resembles tallow,
the other wax. If dilute sulphuric acid be poured upon this fungine, no
change ensues; but if muriatic acid be substituted, the result is a jelly.


The uses to which funguses have been put are various, and, had the
properties of these plants been as extensively investigated as those
which belong to the phanerogamic classes, they would probably by
this time have proved still more numerous: some, as the _Polyporus
sulphureus_, furnish a useful colour for dyeing;[52] the _Agaricus
atramentarius_ makes ink; divers Lycoperdons, of which other mention will
be made presently when we come to speak of such species as are esculent,
have also been employed for stupefying bees, for stanching blood, and for
making tinder; their employment in the first of these capacities, seems
to have escaped the observation of the accurate author of ‘Les Jardins,’
who has mentioned the others:—

    “Ce puissant Agaric, qui du sang épanché
    Arrête les ruisseaux, et dont le sein fidèle
    Du caillou pétillant recueille l’étincelle.”

The ‘caillou,’ alas, like the poet who struck this spark out of it, is
now obsolete; but _amadou_ is still in vogue, being employed for many
household purposes; in addition to which, a medical practitioner of
Covent Garden has of late been in the habit of using extensive sheets
of it to cover over and protect the backs of those bedridden invalids
whose cruel sufferings make such large demands upon our sympathy,—for
the alleviation of which so little is to be done!—as it is more elastic
than chamois leather, it is less liable to crumple up when lain upon, and
on this account has been preferred to it by several of our metropolitan
surgeons of eminence; some employ it also as a gentle compress over
varicose veins, where it supports the distended vessels without pressing
too tightly upon the limb. Gleditsch relates, that the poorer inhabitants
of Franconia stitch it together, and make dresses of it; and also that
the Laplanders burn it in the neighbourhood of their dwellings, to secure
their reindeer from the attacks of gadflies, which are repelled by the
smoke; thus “good at need,” it really deserves the epithet of ‘puissant,’
given to it by Delille.[53]

The _Polyporus squamosus_ makes a razor-strop far superior to any of
those at present patented, and sold, with high-sounding epithets, far
beyond their deserts. To prepare the _Polyporus_ for this purpose, it
must be cut from the ash-tree in autumn, when its juices have been dried
and its substance has become consolidated; it is then to be flattened
out for twenty-four hours in a press, after which it should be carefully
rubbed with pumice, sliced longitudinally, and every slip that is free
from the erosions of insects be then glued upon a wooden stretcher.
Cesalpinus knew all this! and the barbers in his time knew it too;[54]
and it is not a little remarkable that so useful an invention should, in
an age of puffing, advertisement, and improvement, like our own, have
been entirely lost sight of. Imperato employed and recommends it as an
excellent detergent, with which to brush and comb out the scurf from the

The _Agaricus muscarius_ is largely employed in Kamtchatka, in decoction
with the _Epilobium angustifolium_, as an intoxicating liquor.[55] The
Laplanders smear it on the walls and bedposts of their dwellings, to
destroy bugs (Linn.); and Clusius relates, that it is sold extensively
in the market at Frankfort, to poison flies; for this purpose, it is
either cut into small pieces and thrown about the premises, or else
boiled in milk and placed upon the window-sills; in either case it is
vastly inferior in efficacy to that celebrated “mort aux mouches,” the
impure oxide of cobalt, that is, to the arsenic which this contains. The
above are a few of the uses, exclusive of the esculent or medical ones,
to which funguses have been put; it is fair, however, to notice that
they maintain a debtor, as well as a creditor, account with mankind, in
which the balance seems to be occasionally quite against us; those that
are most injurious are generally, as has been already stated, of the
microscopic kinds; whereof some attack young plants still underground,
emulging them completely of their juices, in consequence of which they
perish; others, like the corn-blights, permit the plant to attain
maturity before they begin their work of destruction, and destroy it just
as it is beginning to fructify.[56] The fearful epidemics to which grain
so infected has given rise are well known, though it is still a matter of
question whether the ergoted corn owes its unwholesome qualities to the
injury which it had sustained from the blight, or to the blight itself.
Though the mischief produced by parasitic funguses be unquestionably
great, this occasional and very partial evil is more than compensated by
the much greater amount of good accomplished solely by their agency, in
the assistance they afford to the decomposition of animal and vegetable
tissues, which has procured for them the name, not unaptly applied, of
“nature’s scavengers.” This decomposition they effect by assimilating,
through the medium of their radicles, the juices of the decaying
structure in which they are developed, loosening thereby its cohesion,
and causing it to break up into a rapid dissolution of its parts.[57]


Of the funguses formerly employed in medicine few are now in vogue;
the ergot of rye still keeps its ground, and in cases of protracted
labour, when judiciously employed, is valuable in assisting nature
when unequal to the necessary efforts of parturition. Another fungus,
formerly much in fashion, though now put on the shelf, seems really to
deserve further trial; I mean the _Polyporus suaveolens_ (Linn.), which
in that most intractable disease, tubercular consumption, surely claims
to be tried when there are such respectable authorities to vouch for its
surprising effects, in cases where everything else had been notoriously
unsuccessful.[58] Sartorius was the first to prescribe it as a remedy
in phthisis, and its employment with this view, since his day, has at
various times been præconized on the Continent; the dose generally
recommended being a scruple of the powder two or three times a day. Of
the cases published by Professors Schmidel and Wendst (which have an air
of good faith in their recital, well entitling them to consideration), I
abridge one as an example, though the others are not less interesting;
and while it is certainly to be regretted that the absence of
stethoscopic indications should prevent our having any positive evidence
as to the precise condition of the diseased lung, or of the nature of the
secretion expectorated, still, even supposing them to be simple cases of
chronic bronchitis, with marasmus the efficacy of the remedy is scarcely
less striking or instructive. “A young man, ætat. twenty-one, was seized
at the beginning of autumn with inflammatory cough and hæmoptysis,
which were partially subdued by V. S. and the ordinary antiphlogistic
treatment; but the cough, coming on again with renewed severity during
the winter, was accompanied with the expuition of glairy mucus, which was
sometimes specked with blood. Towards the spring the young man had become
much thinner, and was continuing to waste away; the expectoration also
had changed its colour, and had become fetid and green; his nights were
feverish and disturbed; he had no desire for food, and ate but little;
his ankles had begun to swell; he had copious night-sweats and diarrhœa.
A teaspoonful of an electuary of the _P. suaveolens_ in honey was given
him three times a day, and _nothing else_; and, extraordinary as it may
appear, under this treatment the sweats speedily began to diminish with
the cough, and after a three months’ continuance of the medicine the
patient entirely recovered.”[59]

The _Polyporus laricis_, the so-called Agaric of pharmacy, is a
powerful but most uncertain medicine, and has been also recommended in
consumption. I once administered a few grains of it in this disease,
when violent pains and hypercatharsis supervened, which lasted for
several hours. MM. B. Lagrange and Braconnot found it to contain a large
quantity of an acrid resin, to which it no doubt owes its hypercathartic
properties. To judge from this single case, which, however, tallies with
the experience of others, I should say that this fungus was, in medicine,
to be looked upon as a very suspicious ally.[60] The _A. muscarius_ has
also been used in medicine. Whistling, so long ago as 1778, wrote on
its healing virtues, in Latin, recommending its powder as a valuable
application with which to sprinkle sanious sores and excoriated nipples.
Plenck gave drachm doses of it internally in epilepsy, and, together with
Bernhard and Whistling, attests its success. It appears that the _Phallus
mucus_ in China, and the _Lycoperdon carcinomale_ near the Cape of Good
Hope, are used also by the inhabitants of those countries as external
applications for cancerous sores. The _Phallus_, rubbed upon the skin, is
said to deaden its sensibility, like the _narke_, or electric skate.


If all the good things ever said about the stomach since the days of
Menenius Agrippa, or before his time, could be collected, they would
doubtless form an interesting volume; Aretæus has somewhere quaintly, but
not unaptly, called it the “house of Plato;” in another place he speaks
of it as the “seat” (as if κατ’ ἐξοχὴν) “of pleasure and of pain;” and so
it is indeed, and it has moreover a notorious tendency, when provoked,
to cool our charity and to heat our blood; its sympathies by nervous
attachments, both of “continuity” and of “contiguity,”[61] with the other
organs of the body, are extensive and complicated; no wonder then that it
should have enlisted ours in its behalf, and that few of us would offend
it wittingly, though by indiscretions we do offend it continually.

In the “sensual philosophy,” of the French school particularly, the
stomach has received marked attention, ranking in that country as the
most noble of the _viscera_.[62] Even in those republican times when no
other rights were held sacred throughout France, the privileges of the
stomach were respected; when men found that they might get on quite as
well, or better, with a bad heart, but that they could not get on so well
without a good digestion, it is not so much to be wondered at if they
made idols of their bellies, established a School of Cooks to rival the
School of Athens, and became famous for “those charming little suppers
in which they used to set the decencies of life at defiance.”[63] But
if in France far too much attention has been paid to the culinary art,
too little attention has surely been paid to it at home; for the art
of cookery, properly understood, is not only the art of pleasing the
palate, but the stomach also.[64] In France, the dinner is the thought
of the morning, and sometimes the business of the day, but in France
everybody dines; in England, where the word ‘dinner’ never occurs till
it is announced, a few wealthy men dine well, the middling ranks badly,
and the poor not at all. Not that even the poorer orders generally want
the necessary materials for such repast; they frequently consume more
butcher’s meat than is consumed by their Continental neighbours; it is
simply that they want skill in preparing it. If it be scanty, they cannot
tell how to make the most of it; if it be homely, they cannot tell how
to improve its flavour by uniting and blending with it a certain class
of inexpensive luxuries, which, though they grow everywhere throughout
the country, are everywhere neglected. Touching the wholesomeness or
unwholesomeness of these, I have now a few words to address to the
common-sense reader; that is, to him who prefers feasting upon funguses
to fasting out of mere prejudice. Formerly men used to refer such
questions as this to their physician; they would

    “Try what Mead or Cheselden advised.”[65]

intending, perhaps, to take some little poetical license with it
afterwards. Abernethy, on the anecdote of the oysters and oyster-shells
being duly substantiated, would have been _ostracized_ from polite
society in those days of decorous etiquette, when, as medical men
affected to be more _dientereumatic_ with the insides of their patients
than any of us now pretend to be, they must needs have been far more
affable when consulted on such cases than we of the present day might
be; though they did not therefore always answer the same question in the
same way; one, for instance, “Le médecin Tant Pis,” would frequently
_proscribe_ the very things that his rival, “Le médecin Tant Mieux,” had
just been recommending. When men came to find they must either give up
some favourite article of food or else give up the anathema pronounced
against it, they generally preferred the latter course, and were sure, to
use a medical phrase, to “do well” if they did so; whilst a few wretched
hypochondriacs, adopting the other alternative, and living strictly _en
régime_, became only the more hypochondriacal for their pains.

None but a determined theorist[66] would nowadays think of prescribing
diet for the stomach of a single patient, far less for all those of a
polygastric public; neither does an enlightened, self-educated public,
that can read Liebig and thoroughly appreciate its own case, hold out
much encouragement for such advice. The day is past without return for
long-winded prose epic on indigestion; a livelier mode of dealing with
the subject of _non-naturals_, in the shape of novels and romances, has
won the public ear. Broussais’ five-act tragedy of ‘Gastro-Enteritis’[67]
has received its last plaudits; already has Crabbe’s _euthanasia_ to this
class of authors attained its full accomplishment:—

    “Ye tedious triflers, Truth’s destructive foes,
    Ye sons of Fiction clad in stupid prose,
    O’erweening teachers, who, yourselves in doubt,
    Light up false fires and send us far about,
    Long may the spider round your pages spin,
    Subtle and slow, her emblematic gin.
    Buried in dust and lost in silence dwell,
    Most potent, dull, and reverend friends, farewell!”

No article of diet was ever half so roughly handled as the fungus.
What diatribes against it might be cited from the works of Athenæus,
Dioscorides, Galen, Pliny, the Arabian physicians, and all their
commentators! What terrible recitals, too, of poisoning from some
few species have been industriously circulated, and the unfavourable
inference drawn from these, been applied to the whole tribe—a mistake
which some writers, even in modern times, have perpetuated. Thus, Kirker
votes the whole “a family of malignants;”[68] thus too Allen and Batarra
pen unsolicited _apages_,[69] and warn us, in an especial manner, to
beware of them; while Scopoli includes in his very definition of a
fungus, that it is of a class of plants which are always to be suspected,
and which are for the most part poisonous. Tertullian, with more of
epigram than of truth, makes out, 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;[70] to all which, and a great deal
more similar rhapsody and invective, tens of thousands of our Continental
neighbours in the daily habit of eating nothing else but funguses might
reply, in the words of Plautus—

    “Adeone me fuisse _fungum_ ut qui illis crederem?”

Those who abuse funguses generally do so from prejudice rather than
from personal experience, objecting to their flesh as being heavy of
digestion, and to their juices as being more or less prejudicial to
health. Some say they are too rich, others of too heating a character.
These objections are for the most part without foundation, as those who
eat them can abundantly testify. To quote the authority of one or two
medical friends on the Continent, formed on large personal experience, in
favour of the excellence of this diet, Professors Puccinelli of Lucca,
Briganti of Naples, Sanguinetti of Rome, Ottaviani of Urbino, Viviani of
Genoa, are all consumers of funguses. Vittadini, whose excellent work on
the esculent kinds of Italy is without a rival, himself eats, and gives
us ample receipts for dressing them. In France, a similar service has
been rendered to the public by Paulet, Persoon, Cordier, and Roques,[71]
who have severally published excellent treatises on the various kinds fit
for food, as they occur in the different provinces; whilst the influence
of the last winter has been the means of introducing several new species
into the Parisian markets, thus causing them to be very generally known.
Not to multiply individual testimony needlessly, let that of Schwægrichen
suffice, who tells us, that on seeing the peasants about Nuremberg eating
_raw_ mushrooms,[72] he too, for several weeks, restricted himself
entirely to this diet, “eating with them nothing but bread, and drinking
nothing but water, when, instead of finding his health impaired, he
rather experienced an increase of strength.” _Vegetior evasit!_ as the
inscription at Rome relates to have been the case with St. John when
he emerged, after one hour’s cooking, from a caldron of boiling oil. In
a word, that which has been the daily bread of nations—the poor man’s
manna—for many centuries, cannot be an unwholesome, much less a dangerous
food.[73] Funguses, no doubt, are a rich and dainty fare; and so whatever
objections apply to made-dishes _in genere_ may apply also to these,
which, while they contain all the sapid and nutritious constituents of
animal food, have however an advantage over it—viz. that while they are
as rich in gravy as any butcher’s meat, their texture is more tender,
and their specific gravity less. Touching the general question as to the
wholesomeness of made-dishes, it might perhaps be stated as a rule, to
which there are many exceptions, that the more we vary and combine food,
the better chance there is of our digesting it.[74] “You must assist
nature,” Hippocrates says, “by art. You must vary your viands and your
drinks. Music would tire if it were always to the same tune, so also does
a monotonous regimen tire.[75] Cooks therefore make _mixed_ dishes, and
he who should always make the same dish would deservedly pass for not
being a cook at all.”[76] And though Sydenham, in apparent discordance
with this, recommends _one_ dish for dinner, it is quite for another
reason. Plain food may indeed suit some stomachs, but good cooking suits
all stomachs; and when Seneca writes, that “there are as many diseases as
cooks,” Roques takes him up properly by replying, “Yes; as bad cooks.”
The rule for every dinner, plain or compound, is to dress it well—“that
which is best administered is best;” and good cooking, thus understood as
the art of improving and of making the most of a thing, is a matter of
equal importance to both rich and poor. It is a safe rule, I believe, and
one recommended on good authority too, if men wanted authority on such
matter, to eat what they like, but not as much of it as they like.[77]
Nine-tenths of dyspeptics become so from overfeeding. “Nauseosa satietas
non ex crassis et pravis solum, sed etiam boni succi alimentis provenit.”
Even Paracelsus, though an undoubted quack, might give some people a
hint: “Dosis sola facit ut venenum sit vel non; cibus enim vel potus
qualibet quantitate majore æquo assumtus venenum fit.” Dyspeptics are
willing to enlist your sympathies in their behalf by telling of the
delicacy of their mucous membrane, just as young countesses descant with
more success on the extreme susceptibility of their nerves; nor is it
always kindly received, if a well-wisher should remind them that their
sufferings may not after all have been the fault either of their stomach
or of the dish which they blame, but of their own indiscreet use of both.
Whilst it is an acknowledged fact on all hands that infants are overfed,
and that all children overfeed, men are by no means so prone or willing
to admit that gluttony is perhaps the very last of childish things that
they are in the habit of putting away from them. Thus, then, though
funguses are not to be considered unwholesome, they are, like other good
things, to be eaten with discretion and not _à discrétion_. “If you live
an indolent life, are a sybarite in your heart, or should some violent
passions (choler, jealousy, or revenge) be dealing with you, take care
in such a case how you eat ragouts of truffles or of mushrooms; but if,
on the contrary, your health be good, your life temperately prudent,
your temper even, and your mind serene, then (provided you like them)
you may eat of these luxuries without the slightest apprehension of their
disagreeing with you.” M. Roques adds, and with truth, “it is the wine,
surcharged with alcohol, of which men drink largely, in order, as they
say, to relish and digest their mushrooms and made-dishes, that disagrees
with the stomach, and that will, ere long, produce those visceral
obstructions, and those nephritic ailments, at once so grievous to bear
and so difficult to get rid of.”[78] If the reader shall retain _one_
word of the following homely lines, and that word the last, so as to
remember it in place, he will owe us no fee, and it will save him many a
bitter draught:—

    Lies the last meal all undigested still?
    Does chyle impure your poisoned lacteals fill?
    Does Gastrodynia’s tiny gimlet bore,
    Where the crude load obstructs the rigid door?
    Or does the fiery heartburn flay your throat?
    Do darkling specks before your eyeballs float?
    Do fancied sounds invade your startled ear?
    Does the stopt heart oft wake to pulseless fear?
    Your days all listless, and your nights all dream,
    Of Pustule, Ecchymose, and Emphyseme;
    Till ruthless surgeon shall your paunch explore,
    And mark each spot with mischief mottled o’er;
    Does all you suffer quite surpass belief?
    Has oft-tried soda ceased to give relief?
    Has bismuth failed, nor tonics eased your pain?
    Have Chambers, Watson, both been teased in vain?
    In case so cross—what cure?—but one: _Refrain_!

But the objection against funguses is generally of another kind:
many persons who like good living too well to be afraid of the new
introduction of a luxury which is to bring new dyspepsias for them in
consequence, fear lest, whilst indulging in this “celestial manna,” this
βρῶμα θεῶν, they should meet with the fate of the Emperor Claudius, and
prefer remaining _vivi_ to the chance of becoming _divi_ before their
time. Now there is really no just ground for this fear; the esculent
fungus never becomes poisonous, nor, conversely, the poisonous variety
fit to eat. In Claudius’s particular case we must remember that Locusta
medicated, and Agrippina cooked, that celebrated dish, in which the
mushrooms, after all, were but the vehicle for the poison. As to the
general fact, though cultivation undoubtedly produces considerable
changes in the qualities of this, as in those of other classes of plants,
they are never of such a kind as to convert that which is esculent in
one locality into a dangerous food in another. “Cœlum non animum mutat;”
οὐ γὰρ τὸν τρόπον ἀλλὰ τὸν τόπον μόνον μετήλλαξα.[79] That the mushroom
is not quite so wholesome when cultivated as it is in the meadow,[80]
in a state of nature, cannot be doubted;[81] and that many persons have
suffered, both in France and England, more or less gastric disturbance
after eating those taken from hotbeds or from dark foul unaerated places,
is certain; that mushrooms also in decay, when chemistry has laid hold
of their tissues and changed their juices, have produced disagreeable
sensations in the stomach and bowels, is not to be questioned; finally,
that the idiosyncrasy of some persons is opposed to this diet, as that of
others is to shell-fish, to melons, cucumbers, and the like, must also
be ceded: but none of these admissions surely meddle with the question,
nor go any way towards proving the assumed fact, viz. that a mushroom
ever changes its nature and becomes poisonous like the toadstool.[82] It
has been unwarily asserted, that because the people of the north are in
the habit of employing in their kitchen the _Agaricus muscarius_, which
is known to be poisonous in the south, this points to some remarkable
difference in the plant depending on difference of locality. It is
to be recollected, however, that this very same fungus, if taken in
sufficient quantity, without the precaution usually adopted of soaking
it in vinegar before cooking, _has_ produced fatal accidents, of which
we read the recitals in various mycological works; and only not more
frequently because the plant, being generally well steeped in brine or
acetic acid, is in most cases robbed of deleterious principles, the only
residue left being pure fungine, which is equally innoxious and the same
in all funguses whatever. It is moreover worthy of remark, that though
the common mushroom (_Ag. campestris_) varies considerably both as to
flavour and wholesomeness (circumstances attributable in part to the
varieties of soil in which it flourishes[83]), other funguses, on the
contrary, being mostly restricted for their alimentation and reproduction
to some one particular habitat, do not present such differences. The
_Boletus edulis_, the _Fistulina hepatica_, the _Agaricus oreades_, the
_Ag. procerus_, the _Ag. prunulus_, the _Ag. fusipes_, the _Cantharellus
cibarius_, etc., are, in flavour and other sensible qualities, just the
same in England as they are in France, Switzerland, or Italy. Thus the
objection to eat funguses on the ground of their presenting differences
depending on those of the locality where they grow, applies principally,
if it applies at all, to the English mushroom, of which no housekeeper is
afraid, and by no means to those species the introduction of which into
our markets and kitchens forms the main object of this treatise.

Besides the foregoing objections to funguses on the general ground of
their supposed indigestibility, or else the more particular one of
their not being at all times and in all places the same, a further and
weightier one, as it is commonly urged, is the alleged impossibility of
our being able to discriminate, with certainty, the good from the bad; an
objection which derives much of its supposed weight from the apparently
clashing testimonies of authors respecting the same species, who not
unfrequently describe, under a _common_ name, a fungus which some of them
assert to be esculent, some doubtful, and others altogether poisonous
in its qualities. Such discrepancies, however, have already in many
cases been satisfactorily adjusted, whilst a more minute attention and
corresponding improvement in the pictorial representation of species is
daily diminishing the errors of the older mycologists.

Admitting then, what there is no gainsaying, the existence of many
dangerous individuals in this family,[84] ought we not, in a matter of
such importance, rather to apply ourselves to the task of discriminating
them accurately[85] than permit idle rumours of its impracticability, or
even its real difficulty, to dehort us from the undertaking? Assuredly
nature, who has given to brutes an instinct, by which to select their
aliment, has not left man without a discriminative power to do the same
with equal certainty; nor does he use his privileges to their full, or
employ his senses as he might, when he suffers himself to be surpassed by
brute animals in their diagnosis of food.


The first thing to know about funguses is, that in the _immense majority
of cases_ they are harmless; the innoxious and esculent kinds are the
_rule_, the poisonous the _exceptions_ to it; in a general way, it is
more easy to say what we should not eat than what we may; we should
never eat any that smell sickly or poisonous. Opinions respecting the
agreeableness or disagreeableness of an odour, as of a taste, may differ;
thus, in France and Italy (where the palate seems to us to bribe the
judgment of the nose), it is usual to speak of that of the _Ag. prunulus_
as “perfuming the air;”[86] but though the strong peculiar smell exhaled
by this and some other esculent funguses is anything but a perfume, as
we apprehend the term, it is very different from that intolerable fœtor,
that nauseous overwhelming odour given out by the _Phallus impudicus_,
the _Clathrus cancellatus_, the _Amanita verna_, and its varieties. There
are some indeed which, yielding no smell, will poison notwithstanding;
but then there are none to lure us into a false security by a deceitful
fragrance. The same negative indications are furnished by the palate as
by the nose; those that are bitter, or styptic, or that burn the fauces
on mastication, or that parch the throat when they have been swallowed,
should be put aside; those that yield spiced milk, of whatever colour,
should be held, notwithstanding exceptions, in suspicion, as an unsafe
dairy to deal with. The “Lucchese Goat” (_Ag. piperatus_) and the “Cow of
the Vosges” (_Ag. lactifluus aureus_), though in high request in their
respective localities, and really delicate themselves, are akin to others
whose milks, though they may have the colour of gold, have the qualities
of gamboge.

          “——Nescius auræ
    Qui nunc te fruitur credulus _aurea_!”

Paulet was once so indiscreet as to eat a slice of the Griper (_Ag.
torminosus_), which belongs to this genus, and afterwards still more
indiscreet in giving it the inviting name of “Mouton zoné;” it is well,
however, that the reader should be apprised, as he will frequently come
across this ‘mouton’ in his walks, that it is a perfect wolf in sheep’s
clothing, nor less to be avoided than one nearly allied to it, which
rejoices in the name of _necator_, or the slayer.[87] Here, as it is a
safe rule rather to condemn many that may be innocent than to admit one
that is at all suspicious to our confidence, we should, till intimacy
has made us familiar with the exceptions, avoid all those the flesh of
which is livid, or that, chameleon-like, assume a variety of hues on
being broken or bruised.[88] The external colour furnishes no certain
information—with the single exception of that of the gills in one or
two Agarics—by which to know the good from the bad; thus, the “Boule de
Neige” and the Vernal Amanite are both white; but the dress, in one case,
is of innocence, in the other of mere hypocrisy; again, the green, which
we are so cautioned to avoid in this class of plants as chlorotic and
unhealthy, and which is of such bad augury in _Amanita viridis_, is quite
the contrary in the _Verdette_ (_Ag. virescens_). So that to be led only
by colour would certainly be to be misled—a mistake which, in the family
of the _Russulæ_, might readily compromise life.

Some mycologists recommend, with certain exceptions, the avoidance of
such Agarics as have lateral stalks, of such as are pectinate (_i.
e._ have equal gills, like a comb), of such as have little flesh in
proportion to the depth of their gills, and generally, of all those
that are past their prime. Some warn us not to eat after the snail,
as we are in the habit of doing in our gardens after the wasp; we may
trust, it seems, to him to point out the best greengages, but not to
the slug to select our mushrooms for us. Finally, it has been very
currently affirmed, though I think without sufficient warrant, that all
such funguses as run rapidly into deliquescence ought to be avoided
as dangerous. Here, while it might be unsafe to lay down any positive
rule beyond one’s own experience, this, so far as it goes, would rather
lead me to a different inference; and even the reader will ask—Does
not the mushroom deliquesce, and is not ketchup, that “poignant liquor
made from boiled mushrooms mixed with salt,”[89] to which we are all so
partial, this very deliquescence? But, besides this, the _Ag. comatus_,
which is highly deliquescent, is largely eaten about Lucca; the _Ag.
atramentarius_ also is, on our own authority, _periculo ventris nostri_,
as good for ketchup as for that purpose to which its juices are more
commonly put, viz. for making ink. Thus, amongst deliquescent Agarics,
there are some the juices of which are both safe and savoury, perhaps of
more than those here recorded; but as I have not hitherto myself made
trial of any others, and as there are some dangerous species mixed up
with this group, the public cannot be too much cautioned against making
any rash experiment, where the consequences of a mistake might be so

Some trees give origin by preference to good, others to deleterious
species; thus, the hazel-nut, the black and perhaps the white poplar,
together with the fig-tree, grow only good sorts; whereas the olive has
been famous, since the days of Nicander, for none but poisonous species.

    “The rank in smell, and those of livid show,
    All that at roots of oak[90] or olive grow,
    Touch not! But those upon the fig-tree’s rind
    Securely pluck—a safe and savoury kind!”

The elm, the alder, the larch, the beech, and some other trees, seem
capable of supporting both good and bad species at their roots; hence
it is not safe to trust implicitly to the _tree_ to determine the
wholesomeness or unwholesomeness of the fungus that grows out of it,
or in its neighbourhood. The presence of a _free acid_ is by no means
conclusive either way, there being many species of both good and bad,
which will indifferently turn litmus-paper red. The old and very general
practice adopted by cooks of _dressing funguses with a silver spoon_
(which is supposed to become tarnished, then, only when their juices are
of a deleterious quality), is an error which cannot be too generally
known and exposed, as many lives, especially on the Continent, have
been, and still are, sacrificed to it annually. In some cases the
kitchen-fire will extract the deleterious property from the funguses,
which it would have been unsafe to eat raw, and frequently the acrid
lactescent kinds change their nature entirely and become mild by cooking;
in other cases, the virus is drawn out by saturating the fungus,
sometimes before dressing it, either in vinegar or brine,[91] the liquid
then containing the poison which was originally in the plant; but in
other species, as in _Ag. emeticus_, it would seem from the experiments
of M. Krapf, of Vienna, upon living animals, that it is to be extracted
neither by ebullition nor desiccation.[92]

The effects produced by the poison of mushrooms are exceedingly
various, that is to say, the virus itself differs in different species,
both as to _kind_ and, where that is the same, as to the _degree_
of its concentration; it is generally, however, of the class called
acro-narcotic, producing inflammatory affections of the intestines,
and exerting a deleterious influence over the whole nervous system. In
cases where only a very small quantity has been taken experimentally,
a constriction of the fauces has followed, and continued for a period
varying from some minutes to several hours, occasioning, or not, nausea,
heat, and, in some instances, even pain of the stomach; “sometimes
the affection is entirely confined to the head, and a stupor or light
delirium succeeds the eating of some species, and continues for two or
three days.”[93] Not unfrequently, as in those cases cited by Larber,
the symptoms have been altogether those of cholera, without any cerebral
disturbance whatever; but in other instances that have come to my
knowledge, during a several years’ residence on the Continent, these have
been of a mixed character,[94] in which both the head and viscera have
participated; and the autopsies after death have, in accordance with the
symptoms, shown the stomach and intestines more or less disorganized
with the products of inflammation, together with a congested state of
the brain or of its investments, or a local or general softening of its
substance.[95] The poison, as has been said, exists in very different
degrees of intensity in different species. In some, as the _Amanita
verna_, a few grains of the fresh fungus suffice to kill a dog;[96] while
the _Agaricus muscarius_, though equally fatal in sufficient quantities,
is not nearly so strong. Some time in general elapses from the swallowing
the poison to that in which its deleterious workings first begin to be
felt. I have heard of cases (similar to those cited in the last note)
of persons who had supped overnight on the meal that was to prove their
last, who have slept, risen next morning, gone to work, and continued
working for hours, before they have been made aware of their condition.
When, however, the symptoms have once set in, they become rapidly more
and more alarming, while the chances of arresting or mitigating their
excruciating severity lessen every minute. As the evils to be apprehended
from the agency of these plants can only be prevented by their instant
evacuation, to assist the disposition to vomit, or, if called in early
enough, to anticipate it by the milder emetics in sufficient doses
(surely not by strong ones, as some have recommended!), and, when the
stomach has been thoroughly evacuated, to relieve the violence of the
pain by bland mucilaginous drinks, with opiates, are the indications
plainly pointed out, and the means by which inflammation and subsequent
sphacelus of the gut, as well as the deleterious effects produced on
the nervous system by the absorption of the poison into it, have been
occasionally averted; but should symptoms of great depression be already
present (as too frequently happens before the medical man arrives), he
will endeavour, in that case, to rally the vital powers (scanty though
the chances of success will then be) by small and repeated doses of
sulphuric ether and ammonia combined, or should head symptoms require his
interference, he must in that case bleed.


Of these, in fact, we know but little, and in the great majority of
instances absolutely nothing; in a few cases moisture[97] and heat seem
alone sufficient, even in our own hands, to cause some of them to grow;
in others, electricity appears indispensable. A wet autumn is generally
found to be exceedingly prolific in these plants, with the following
notable difference as to _kind_: all those that are parasitical on
trees show themselves, during a wet season, in amount directly varying
with that of the previous rain, irrespective of any other influences
conspiring to give this effect; whilst those, on the other hand, which
issue from the earth, when the surface of this has been long chilled or
when the electrical state of the air has not been materially modified for
some time, will be found to come up sparingly or not at all, whatever
rain may have fallen. An exception to this rule occurs in the common
mushroom, which, by the combination of certain degrees of heat and
moisture, may be reared throughout the year without the co-operation of
electricity. A variety of plans have been recommended for this purpose,
many of which are both troublesome and expensive; the following, taken by
M. Roques from a scientific work on gardening, and said to be infallible,
has, if so, the great advantage of extreme simplicity to recommend
it:—“Having observed that all those dunghills which abounded chiefly in
sheep- or cow-droppings, began shortly to turn mouldy on their surface
and to bear mushrooms, I collected a quantity of this manure, which, so
soon as it began to turn white, I strewed lightly over some melon-beds
and some spring crops of vegetables, and obtained in either case, and
as often as I repeated the experiment, a ready supply of excellent
mushrooms, which came up from a month to six weeks after the dung had
been so disposed of; but as an equable temperature is in all cases
desirable to render the result certain, where this cannot be secured
under the protection of glass, the next best plan is to scatter a portion
of the above dungs mixed with a little earth in a cave or cellar, to
which some tan is an excellent addition; for tan, though it kills other
vegetable growths, has quite an opposite effect on funguses.”

Next to the common mushroom, in regard to the success attending its
cultivation, comes that of the _Pietra funghaia_, a plant unknown to
Clusius, but described by Mathiolus and Imperato, under the name of the
‘stony fungus.’ Cesalpinus has added to their accounts, directions for
procuring it the whole year through, which, he says, is to be done either
by irrigating the soil over the site of the stone, or by transferring the
_Pietra funghaia_ with a portion of the original mould, and watering it
in our own garden. Porta adds, that the funguses take seven days to come
to perfection, and may be gathered from the naked block (where this has
been properly moistened) six times a year; but in preference to merely
watering the blocks, he recommends that a light covering of garden mould
should be first thrown over them. The _Pietra funghaia_, though its range
of territory be extremely small, lies embedded in a variety of soils,
in consequence of which its Polyporus, like our own mushroom, is very
various in flavour, depending on the kind of _humus_ in which its matrix
happens to be placed. Those that grow on the high grounds above Sorrento,
and on the sides of Vesuvius, are in less esteem than such as are brought
into the Naples market from the mountains of Apulia.[98]

A third fungus, which we have the means of producing _ad libitum_, is
that which sprouts from the pollard head of the black poplar;[99] these
heads it is usual to remove at the latter end of autumn, as soon as the
vintage is over, and their marriage with the vine is annulled; hundreds
of such heads are then cut and transported to different parts; they are
abundantly watered during the first month, and in a short time produce
that truly delicious fungus, _Agaricus caudicinus_, the _Pioppini_,
which, during the autumn of the year, make the greatest show in many of
the Italian market-places. These pollard blocks continue to bear, for
from twelve to fourteen years; I saw a row of them in the botanic garden
at Naples, which, after this period, were still productive, though less
frequently, and of fewer Agarics at a crop. The practice of rearing
funguses from the poplar is not modern; Dioscorides knew, for he tells
us that if we “bark the white or black poplar, cutting the bark into
pieces and covering it with horse-dung, an excellent kind of fungus will
spring up, and continue to bear throughout the year:” by way of comment
to which passage Mathiolus adds, that a little leaven[100] will produce
an abundant crop in four days. Another fungus, which I have myself reared
(_Polyporus avellanus_), is to be procured by singeing over a handful
of straw a block of the cob-nut tree, which is then to be watered and
put by. In about a month the funguses make their appearance, which are
quite white, of from two to three inches in diameter, and excellent
to eat; while their profusion is sometimes so great, as entirely to
hide the wood from which they spring.[101] Dr. Thore says, that in the
Landes, the _Boletus edulis_ and _Ag. procerus_ are constantly raised
by the inhabitants of that district, from a watery infusion of the said
plants; that something more than this, however, is necessary, seems
certain, since during the two or three years during which I frequented
the baths of Lucca, and was in the habit of using infusions of these
and a variety of other funguses, often throwing them over the very
spots where each kind grew, my experiments never succeeded. Nor was Dr.
Puccinelli, of Lucca, who repeated similar experiments in the botanic
garden there, much more successful. Briganti, of Naples, told me much
the same story; and Sanguinetti at Rome was equally unsuccessful with
Ottaviani at Urbino. On making inquiry of friends in England who have
attempted to propagate different kinds of funguses, either by infusion
or otherwise, their attempts generally failed. My friend Mrs. Hussey, in
particular, acquaints me that she has been in the habit of subjecting
many plants to a like experiment, and with similar want of result.
Lastly, as concerning truffles, Mr. Bornholtz has given directions how
to rear them, which, as they are exceedingly expensive and troublesome,
must needs be infallible to secure proselytes, even among the most sworn
amateurs of these delicacies. “Prepare your ground,” says he, “with oak
leaves in decay; you must also mix some iron with it and take care to
make it of a proper consistence, either by adding sand, should it be too
compact, or clay, should it be of too light a nature; having then with
great care transplanted your truffles, (which must be properly packed
with a quantity of the original mould about them,) they are to be placed
tenderly in the new settlement, covered over lightly with mould, and
this again is to be covered with boughs of oak and _Carpinus Betulus_ to
protect the deposit from molestation; neither must you consider your work
completed till a sacred grove of these particular trees has been planted
round it, which must be done with such precaution, that while they keep
the precious ground in a perpetual twilight, they must not obstruct it
too much, but leave a certain free passage to the air.” After which
injunctions, if they be carefully attended to, Mr. B. assures us that
we can reckon, without fear of disappointment, on a dish of truffles,
whenever we may want them for ourselves or our friends.


We know as little of the origin of fairy-rings, as of any other
phenomenon connected with the growth of funguses. These fairy-rings are
of all sizes, from one and a half to thirty feet in diameter; the grass
composing them is observed in spring, to be of a thicker growth than
the surrounding herbage, and, in consequence of the manure afforded by
the crop of last year, is of a darker colour. Within these rings are
frequently seen certain varieties of this class of plants, very generally
Agarics, though puff-balls frequently, and occasionally the _Boletus
subtomentosus_, affect a similar mode of growth. Of the Agarics which
appear in these circles, some of the principal are _Agaricus oreades_,
_Ag. prunulus_, _Ag. Orcella_, _Ag. Georgii_, _Ag. personatus_, and
_Ag. campestris_. As all these feed at the expense of the grass, (by
exhausting the ground that would otherwise have furnished it with the
necessary supplies,) the richest vegetation in the field is generally the
first to become seared. These rings (giving birth to some one species
which, dying, is not unfrequently succeeded by another a little later,
and this perhaps by a third, in the same order of occurrence) continue to
enlarge their boundaries for a long but indefinite period.

It seems not easy to determine precisely, to the operation of what cause
or causes the increase in the size of these circles from year to year
should be attributed. Is it the projectile force with which the spores
are disseminated all round, that has carried them so uniformly beyond
the margin of the last ring as to form a concentric circle for the next
of larger diameter beyond? Or is the cause to be sought underground, in
the general spread of the spawn of last year in all directions outwards,
but only fertile in a concentric ring _beyond_ the site of the last crop,
which had already exhausted the ground, and so rendered it incapable
of supporting any new vegetable life? Or do both these causes conspire
in this result? The quantity of spawn and of the spores necessarily
contained in it, and the depth to which they penetrate under the surface
of the soil, renders the possibility of their spreading in the latter way
easily conceivable.[102]


    “Ins Innre der Natur dringt kein erschaffner Geist,
    Zu glücklich wem sie nur die äussre Schale lösst.”—_Haller._

It would be an insult to the reader’s understanding, and a most idle
waste of his time, to attempt to confute such self-destroying dogmas as
those of “spontaneous” or of “equivocal” generation, which last is only
a clumsy _équivoque_ expressive of the same thing: we might just as well
talk of the pendulum of a clock generating the time and space in which it
librated, as of dead matter spontaneously quickening and actuating those
new movements of which some of its particles have become the seat; for
how, in the name of common sense, can that which we assume to be dead,
_i. e._ emphatically and totally without life, convey such purely vital
phenomena as those of intus-susception and growth, which by the very
supposition are no longer within itself? Life, on such an hypothesis as
this, ceases to be the opposite and antagonist principle to death, of
which it then becomes but a different mode and a new phasis. It is not
the incomprehensibility of such a notion (be it well understood) against
which the objection lies, for as life begins and ends in mystery, that
would be no objection; it lies in the rashness of attempting to solve an
admitted mystery, by placing a palpable absurdity in its room; vainly
and irreverently arrogating to itself the honours of a discovery which
we are to believe if we can! At this rate, addled eggs, abandoned by the
vital principle, might take to hatching themselves! A more legitimate
and very interesting subject for inquiry is, whether those funguses
which are parasitical (_i. e._ derive their support from the structures
whence they emanate) are so many separate constituents of a superior
life _under analysis_, or each of itself a new individual? In support
of the first view, it is urged that since reproduction in such lower
existences is nothing but a modification of nutrition, a new process
might well originate from its perversion, and thus give rise to new
products; and just as the change in the ordinary nutrition of our bodily
organs is prone to give birth to various local disorganizations or morbid
growths, such, it is argued, might be the origin of fungoid growth on
trees. But then comes the difficulty: such a view does not, and plainly
cannot, explain the development of the _not_ parasitical kinds, of which
the origin should be the same; no, nor even of all that live by suction
at the expense of other plants, since there are as many kinds which
quicken in _dead_ and decaying structures, as there are that issue out
of decrepit and _living_ ones; here, then, it is plain that perverted
nutrition can have nothing to do with their production, for in this
case nutrition has, by the supposition, ceased; and to talk of disease
_after_ death would be a strange figure of speech indeed! An elm or oak
is frequently dead five, seldom less than three, years before these
parasitical growths make their appearance, from which it would appear to
follow that seeds are not developed by, but that they must be extraneous
to, and independent of, any pathological relation of the plant from which
they grow. If then fungus life be not to be sought for, and cannot with
propriety be said to originate in any morbid conditions of the tissues
from which they spring, whence do they derive life—in other words, whence
in every instance comes that particular seed which, when quickened, is
to produce after its kind? Lies this dormant for a season in those dead
and decaying tissues, which a little later the plant originating from it
is destined to embellish; or is the living germ first brought to them
by the winds, and merely deposited on their surface, as in a fitting
_nidus_ on which their future development is to be effected? Some writers
take one view, some another. Many believe the seeds of funguses to come
directly from the earth,[103] and to be drawn up with the sap, which,
as it penetrates throughout the tissues of the plant, must carry the
seeds also along with it. That such is actually sometimes the case is
certain, since we can not only plant parasitical blights of a particular
kind so as to infect particular plants, but may also by digging a trench
between those that have already become diseased, and those that are still
healthy, stay the progress of the blight—thus clearly establishing not
only the fact of seeds, but also the highly interesting additional one,
of their ascent into the structures of plants by intus-susception; and
to arrive at a general view from these particular cases, this would seem
to be the usual mode of their propagation. Neither does it make against
this view nor is it more in favour of the other, which supposes the germs
to be derived primarily from the air, and to be thence precipitated on
the structures where they grow, that funguses are found on organizations
in decay, on withered boughs, and on seared leaves, out of which all sap
must of course have been long ago exsiccated; for what then? though the
sap does, the seeds do not, evaporate with it. These, once absorbed and
diffused during the lifetime of the plant throughout its whole economy,
remain there in a state of potential activity, ready to burst forth
and germinate whenever the necessary conditions for these wonderful
changes shall be presented to them, just as though the seeds of corn
now flourishing in different parts of England, had first existed for
some thousand years as mummy wheat, potentially and unquickened. Nothing
perishes in nature: “destructio unius matrix alterius;” life may change
titles, but never becomes extinct; so soon as the more perfect plant
dies, a host of other vegetable existences, hitherto enthralled by laws
of an organization superior to their own, now that the connection has
been dissevered, put forth their separate energies, and severally assert
their independence. The poplar may have perished, root, stem, and branch,
but its extinction is only the signal for other existences, which had
been heretofore bound up and hid within its own, to assert themselves;
and accordingly a Polyporus sprouts out here; here a Thelephora
embellishes the dead bark; and here an Agaric springs out of the decaying
fibres of its head: these in turn also decay, but as they _moulder_ away
they languish into a new kind of fungous life, of an inferior type to
the last, as if their own vitality were inferior in kind to that of the
decayed poplar, whence they lately issued.[104] Thus, since the seeds
of funguses actually exist in great quantity in other plants, and since
they occur in the closed interior of fruits and in corollas which are
still in their envelopes (in either case out of the reach of the external
air); since finally, the _Pietra funghaia_, which produces a Polyporus
unknown to England, may be, notwithstanding, made to germinate in England
by furnishing the stone with adequate supplies of water and of heat,
_that_ seems the more tenable hypothesis of the two, which, in every
case, supposes the _nidus_ of the fungus to furnish the seed, and the
atmosphere, the conditions necessary for its quickening. How the seed is
first made to quicken is another and most interesting question, still
evolved in mystery. As there is no ocular evidence to be obtained of the
usual organs of sex, some mycologists have separated funguses from the
family of the clandestinely married _Cryptogamia_, to place them with the
_Agamia_, which repudiate the marriage tie;[105] but as every argument
from ignorance is unsafe, (and such would appear to be particularly the
case here, when we consider how many things undoubtedly exist, which the
imperfection of lenses and the circumscribed power of the eye prevent
our seeing,) we should rather make use of what is displayed to us in the
economy of other plants, in the way of analogy as applied to these, than
deny what is likely, merely because it is not an object of sense. It
would appear then, from what has been stated, that certain funguses are
produced like other plants, from seeds; and more likely at least, in the
parasitic kinds, that such seeds are derived by the plant which supports
them from the ground, than deposited from the atmosphere. Before we
proceed to the description of species, a few more words remain to be said
about these spores, and a brief notice to be taken of those parts that
are essential to all, and more especially of such as are characteristic
of those higher forms of funguses which are the more immediate subject of
the present work.


All funguses have not seeds,—at least, seeds apparent to us;[106] but if
we reflect that these, even where visible, can do no more than present to
our senses the visible tabernacle of that life which is still invisible,
and which, not being material, must ever elude our search,[107] then it
will not appear so difficult to conceive that the apparently seedless
threads of some particular moulds should include, in their interior,
vital germs of some sort, which, being homogeneous with, or of the same
colour as, the parenchyma of the mould itself, are invisible—just as we
know them to be for a season in puff-balls, in the veins of truffles,
or in the _Agyrium_, the receptacle of which last breaks up, when ripe,
into sporidia, which then and not till then become manifest. The seeds
of funguses are called spores: in the great majority of cases, the
microscope, which brings their shapes under observation (for to the naked
eye they appear as dust), presents them to us as round, oval, oblong,
or even angular corpuscules, and, more rarely still, echinulate or with
a tail. They are as various in size as in shape, the first bearing no
proportion whatever to the dimensions of the future plant. They vary,
too, greatly in colour, being sometimes of a pure white, and continuing
so throughout the whole of their seminal existence; at other times, the
white acquires a yellow tinge on drying. Some are brown, some yellow,
some pink, some purple, some purple-black, and some pass successively
from pink to purple, and from purple to purple-black.[108] These seeds or
spores are sometimes naked, but are much more commonly shut up in little
pouches or receptacles, either of a regular or of an irregular shape;
the first are called _thecæ_, the latter _sporanges_; thecæ (which are
in shape similar to the cases of the same name that used to receive the
ancient εἱλίγματα, or scrolls) are small, cylindrical bodies, in which
the seeds lie _one over the other, as in a rouleau_; they are themselves
let into a _receptacle_ (or that part of the fungus the office of which
is to receive and support the reproductive organs) in a regular and
symmetrical manner, and at length occupy it completely. Not all are
prolific; for some, pressing upon others, cause them to abort, leaving
wherever this happens, sterile thecæ, or _paraphyses_, between those that
are fertile. _Sporanges_ are little globose or turbinated receptacles,
frequently furnished with a pedicle, in which the seeds lie without
order, as they are themselves inserted symmetrically, or without order,
into the receptacle. Sometimes these seeds are packed in series of fours,
as in the fimetary Agarics; in other genera, as in the Helvellæ and
Morels, they are stored away in series of eights. The spores, so soon as
they are ripe, either drop out of the sporiferous membrane (_hymenium_),
or, as more frequently happens, are projected from it with an elastic
jerk, or else, as is the case of Agarics of a deliquescent kind, return
to the earth mixed up with the black liquid into which these ultimately
resolve themselves. Sometimes the _whole_ external surface of the fungus
is dusted with seed; but much more frequently they are restricted to some
particular part, and either lie on the upper side, as in the _Pezizæ_,
or on that which is beneath, as in the mushroom. The spores generally
lie on the outside of the fungus, but in the puff-ball, as every one
knows, they are internal, and in such prodigious quantity as sometimes
entirely to fill its cavity. It is a speculation from Germany, that
spores are capable of altering their forms, and that according to the
accidents of climate or soil, they assume this or that type, and give
rise at different times to different kinds of funguses; on which it is
sufficient to remark, that while there is not the least foundation for
such an hypothesis, there is in fact much evidence against it; nature
acts by immutable laws and has no changelings. To appeal to experience,
when did mushrooms ever spawn toadstools? When was the _Pietra funghaia_
ever seen to bring forth anything but its own Polyporus? or the fig, the
poplar, or the hazel (when singed and watered to render them prolific)
exhibit any but their own particular mushroom? Spores are endowed, like
other seeds, with an extraordinary vitality, which may lie dormant in
them for an indefinite period; but unlike most other seeds, they seem
capable of resisting the prolonged heat of boiling water, infused in
which, and poured upon the ground, they are still capable of producing
each after its kind. The specific gravity of spores is greater than
that of water, as may be seen by placing a mushroom over a glass which
contains it, when, falling upon the surface, they presently subside to
the bottom. These spores sometimes merely multiply without any further
progress in development; sometimes they proceed a certain way only, and
then, the conditions necessary for their further advance failing, this is
arrested; sometimes, as in the _Sistotrema_, the plant _appears twice_
under a _perfect_ form, being for part of its existence a _Hydnum_,
and during the other half a _Boletus_; but, generally speaking, these
minute corpuscular bodies are destined to receive an infinite variety
of protean and imperfect forms, and to pass stage by stage, and step
by step, to the full attainment of that ultimate one which they assume
when their growth has reached its natural limits. Sometimes the spore
expands outright into a puff-ball; sometimes it shoots up straight into
a club, as in some of the Clavarias; or lies like a bowl, resupinate on
the ground and stalkless, as in the _Peziza_; in other cases, it assumes
the more perfect but much less simple forms of _Chanterelle_, _Boletus_,
_Dædalea_, _Morel_, or _Mushroom_.


The mode in which the organs immediately containing the seeds are formed,
differs according to the family. In the tribe of puff-balls, where the
seed is formed in the interior of the fungus, there is no hymenium; a few
of the internal cells (when the Lycoperdon has attained its full size)
begin to enlarge, and these in a short time are found to contain small
granules, generally of a determinate number, and moistened by a fluid
secreted from within the walls. In such funguses as have an hymenium
it is only some of the superficial cells, and these in a particular
position in reference to the receptacle, that contain seeds; though
perfect identity of structure throughout, is evinced in a conclusive
manner if we invert the head of a young fungus on its stalk; for then
these thecæ begin to form and to fill themselves with seed, not on the
side where they were about to do so previous to this inversion of the
head, but on that which was the uppermost and sterile surface, and which,
now that it is the undermost, has become prolific. The expansion of a
fungus, according to Vittadini, is effected as follows:—“These thecæ,”
of which we have been speaking, “as they swell, become distended with
the contained seed, and mostly so at their free extremity, since they
have more room for expansion in that direction than at the other, which
is impacted into the substance of the pileus; in consequence of this, a
series of wedges are formed which, as the seed continues to distend them,
force out the pileus, loosen its marginal connections with the stalk,
uncurl its involuted borders, and finally open up its cells, pores, and

In those subterranean funguses which mature their seeds below the surface
of the ground, the lower portion, so soon as this is accomplished in the
upper, suddenly takes to grow upwards, carrying along with it the bag,
which, on reaching the surface of the ground, bursts its envelopes and
scatters its prolific dust to the winds. All funguses, as has already
been observed, have in all probability spores, though in a few instances,
of byssoid growths, (Hyphas, Himantias, and Æthelias,) these are not
apparent; in most cases too, they are attached to an hymenium, into
which, or on the surface of which, they are placed till ripe. One very
large tribe, by far the largest, are called _Hymenomycetes_, from ὑμήν,
a membrane, and μύκος, a fungus; _i. e._ funguses with a seed membrane:
to distinguish them from those other kinds, very small numerically in
proportion to themselves, _Gasteromycetes_, in which the seeds, arranged
and stored away in particular receptacles, named sporanges or thecæ, are
with them included in the belly (γαστήρ) of the fungus, as is the case in
truffles and puff-balls. The hymenium, like that curiously doubled-down
sheet of paper which conjurors turn into so many shapes, assumes a great
variety of forms; running down the gills of the mushrooms and the plaits
of the _Cantharellus_, up into the tubes of the Boletuses; sheathing
the vegetable teeth of _Hydna_, forming an intricate labyrinth of
anastomosing plates in _Dædalea_; now rising into little rough eminences
on the surface of the _Thelephoræ_, and now affording a smooth investment
to that of the _Clavariæ_. It is covered with a veil, which disappears
so soon as the spores begin to ripen, and its protection is no longer
required; seen under the microscope, it appears to be wholly made up of


When the spore is to cease to be a spore, and to become a mushroom, the
first thing it does is to send forth certain cotton-like filaments,
whose interfacings entangle it completely while they also serve to
attach it to the place of its birth; these threads (like the spongioles
attached to the roots of phænogamous plants, whose name sufficiently
explains their office) absorb and bring nourishment to the quickened
spore, which then maintains itself entirely by intus-susception. All
this takes place before the germ has burst, or the embryo fungus begun
to develope its organs. In some instances, these elementary threads are,
like the ordinary roots of plants, spread out to a considerable distance
underground, forming here and there in their course small bulbs or
tubercles, each of which, in turn, becomes a new individual; in others,
and more commonly, these spores are sprinkled about unconnectedly, as
in the _Pietra funghaia_, affecting certain spots only, which become so
many small matrices whereof each furnishes a crop. The union of many
germinating granules together with their connecting threads, constitutes
mushroom spawn, or, as it is technically called, _carcytes_.[110]
Examined a short time after quickening, the spore is found to have
swelled out into a fleshy kernel; which in puff-balls, truffles, and the
uterine subterranean families generally, constitutes of itself the whole
fungus; this only grows in size afterwards, the substance and original
form remaining the same through the entire period of development. In
those destined to live under the influence of air and light, this same
rudimental nucleus gradually evolves _new parts_, and assumes, as we
have seen, a vast variety of forms, (whereof each particular one is
predetermined by the original bias imprinted upon every spore at its
creation,) and here there is a manifest analogy with the progressive
development of new parts in the higher plants. In such funguses as are
wrapped up in a volva or bag, during the earliest period of growth,
this furnishes them not only with the means of protection, but of
nourishment also. This volva, which is formed by the mere swelling
out of the original fleshy bulb, when it has grown to a certain size,
exhibits towards its centre the rudiments of the young fungus; of which
the receptacle appears first, and all the other parts in succession. The
embryo, next taking to grow, in its turn approaches the circumference of
the volva, which, having by this time ceased to expand, is burst open,
and sometimes with much violence, by the emerging Amanite. As soon as
the hymenium has parted with its seed, which falls from it in the form
of fine dust, the fungus, collapsing, either withers on its stem, or
else dissolves into a black liquid and so escapes to the earth. In such
funguses as have not a volva, the basilar or primary nucleus shoots up
at once in the form of a cone, and a little later presents at its apex
the rudiments of a receptacle or head; by degrees, and frequently by slow
degrees,[111] the perfected structures of the plant are elaborated and
spread themselves out into some of the forms mentioned above, of which
the clavate is the most simple, and that with gills the most complex.
The primary nucleus is formed out of simple cellular membrane, the
cells of which, at first elongating, and at length uniting into little
bundles, assume a fibrous appearance; sometimes these fascicular bodies
effuse themselves unchanged into the substance of the receptacle, in
which they spread out and are lost; at others, a transverse line makes
the demarcation between the pileus and stem.[112] The last part formed
in a fungus, generally, is that which bears the seed; and whenever an
exception to this occurs, and the seed is formed at an earlier period
than usual, nature has in this case provided three membranes, to cover
and protect these delicate organs till the plant shall have attained
maturity: these are the ring (_annulus_), the veil (_velum_), and the
wrapper (_volva_).


Of these involucra the first two are partial, the other universal. The
Volva is a thick membranaceous covering, originating at the base of the
fungus, which it thus connects with the earth, and furnishes, during
its fœtal life, with the means of support and nourishment. When this
has ceased, and the plant has quitted its wrapper, if this still adhere
to the base of the stalk, it is styled manifest (_manifesta_), but if
there be no traces of it left, obliterated (_obliterata_). It is _free_
when it can be easily detached, and _congenital_ when it cannot without
laceration. In funguses with bulbous roots it is congenital, in those
without bulbs it is free. All funguses that have a volva are of course
_volvati_, but as this organ exists in many only so long as they are
underground, mycologists are agreed to restrict the term to such alone as
retain it afterwards.

_The Ring._—This, which differs considerably in form, substance, and in
its attachments, is composed either of a continuous sheet of membrane
or else of a number of delicately-spun threads, resembling a spider’s
web,[113] which in either case passing from the margin of the pileus
to the corresponding upper portion of the stem, give way as the plant
expands, and either festoon for a season the margin of the cap, or
encircle the stalk with a ring. The marginal remains of the Annulus are
extremely fugacious, but the ring round the stalk, though generally
transitory, is sometimes persistent; it is _superior_ or _descending_
when originating from the summit of the stem, it descends outwards and
downwards to form connections with the rim of the pileus; _inferior_ or
_ascending_ when, coming off from that portion of the stalk which is
below the pileus, it ascends to attach itself to this. In a few cases the
ring is partly membranaceous and partly composed of radiating arachnoid

_The Veil._—Some funguses not only present the ring just mentioned, their
hymenium or seed membrane being further protected from harm by a second
investment, the veil, _Velum_, the stalk origin of which, when existing
in conjunction with an annulus, is below it, but when the fungus is not
annulate, the velum rises higher up on the stalk, stretches across to
meet and is afterwards reflected over the whole surface of the pileus; on
the expansion of the Agaric this investment is entirely broken up, and
exhibits those well-known flocks, which have been called by the learned
_verrucæ_, but which, as they are generally of a dirty leprous hue, and
affect more or less of a circular arrangement, have procured for this
whole tribe of Amanites in Italy the uncomely epithet of _tignosi_,
or scald-heads. Where there has been both a volva and a velum, as
sometimes happens in the same fungus, these verrucæ are of different
colours according as they are remnants of the first merely, or of both
together.[114] The velum in the subgenus _Limacium_ is a slimy coating
adhering to the head of the fungus, which then looks as if it had been
dipped in gum mucilage; this generally disappears after a time, leaving
the epidermis dry, though sometimes, like the solid membranaceous veil,
it is more or less persistent. The waxy covering on the pileus of the
_Ag. virescens_, which after a time cracks and tessellates its surface,
is only an exudation limited to the upper portion of the cap, and not a

_The Stalk._—This, which is absent in many parasitical funguses of the
Order _Pileati_, when present, either effuses itself uninterruptedly
into the substance of the pileus, which it then, in fact, _forms_, or
else supports merely as on a pillar, a distinct line of demarcation
showing where the fibres terminate. It assumes a great variety of forms,
which serve in many instances to characterize species; besides which
peculiarities there are others to be noted, as the mode of its insertion
into the pileus, its having or not having a ring, the circumstance of its
being scabrous, glossy, or tomentose, reticulated, spotted, or striped,
of one colour above and another below, or of its changing colour when
bruised, any of which may sometimes assist our diagnosis.

_The Pileus._—By far the larger number of funguses mentioned in this
work have a pileus, or cap; all such belong to the first great tribe
_Pileati_; they include the genera _Agaricus_, _Boletus_, _Cantharellus_,
_Morchella_, _Hydnum_, _Fistulina_, and _Polyporus_, each of which
furnishes its quota of alimentary species, together with many others not
esculent. The form of the pileus, like that of the stalk, is various in
these different genera, besides being variable in the different species
of the same genus; generally it assumes an orbicular or umbrella shape,
especially in such funguses as grow solitary on the ground, whilst in
others, parasitical on trees, (particularly when they have no stalk,) it
is more or less of a half-hemisphere.

_The Gills._—Those vertical plates on the under surface of the mushroom,
which radiate from the centre to the circumference, like the spokes of a
wheel, are called Gills (_lamellæ_); they are not formed, as some have
supposed, of layers of the reduplicated seed-membrane alone, but by a
prolongation of the fibres of the pileus, which these merely invest.
The fibrous structure is most apparent in Agarics with thick gills;
in those where the flesh changes colour when bruised; or where, the
interposed flesh remaining white, the hymenium is tinged with the colour
of the ripening spores. In those funguses which have little flesh the
upper surface of the pileus, especially towards the circumference, is
frequently furrowed with transverse sulci; these are occasioned by the
sinking in of the epidermis along with the fibres of the flesh between
the layers of the hymenium, and consequently their position always
corresponds precisely to that occupied by the backs of the gills. The end
nearest the stalk is termed posterior (_postica_), the opposite extremity
anterior (_antica_); the terminations of the lesser gills take place at
various distances short of the stalk, which the perfect gills reach, and
down which they sometimes course or are decurrent (_decurrentes_); they
are said to be adnate (_adnatæ_) when connected at their posterior end;
free (_liberæ_) when they do not adhere; remote (_remotæ_) when they
terminate at a certain distance from the stem; emarginate (_emarginatæ_)
when they are obtusely notched or hollowed out posteriorly; denticulate
(_denticulatæ_) when connected by means of a tooth; equal (_æquales_)
when all of the same length; forked (_furcatæ_) and branched (_ramosæ_)
when they divide in their course, once, or more frequently, or are
connected at the sides with the imperfect gills; dedalean (_dædaleæ_)
when they anastomose irregularly together; simple (_simplices_) when
they are free from all connections; distant (_distantes_) when they are
few and wide apart; close (_confertæ_) when they are very numerous and
touch each other; serrated (_serratæ_) when notched like a saw; waved
(_undulatæ_) when the margin is undulating; and imbricating (_imbricatæ_)
when they lie one over another, like tiles.

_The Tubes._—Funguses of the genus _Boletus_, etc., present on their
under surface, in place of gills, series of small hollow cylinders or
tubes; which are for the most part soldered side to side like the cells
of a honeycomb, but in the _Fistulina_ are unconnected. Like the gills,
they are prolongations of the fibres of the pileus, but lined, instead of
coated, by the hymenium; their free extremities are the pores, which at
first are closed, but afterwards open to let the seed escape: they are
generally of equal length and simple, but sometimes in the interior of
a large one smaller tubes may be discerned, in which case the first is
termed compound. With reference to the stalk, they are either adnate or
decurrent, they first appear as a network formed by slight prominences of
the fibres of the pileus; if at this early period a portion be removed
together with a piece of the flesh, it is reproduced in a few days and
the tubes developed as usual. The beautiful reticulations observed on the
stalk of some Boletuses are produced by abortive tubes decurrent along
their surface.

_The Plaits_: Venæ, Plicæ.—The plaits of the Chanterelle are formed like
the gills and tubes of the mushroom and Boletus, _i. e._ by the fibres of
the flesh running down from the pileus, and invested in a reduplication
of the hymenium; with this difference, however, that while in the two
latter the seed membrane is divided into as many portions as there are
gills or tubes, in the former the continuity of its surface is perfectly
unbroken. These plaits (_plicæ_) are always late in appearing, and
sometimes are only developed when the fungus is about to cast its seed.

_The Spines_: Aculei, etc.—The under surface of the pileus in the genus
_Hydnum_ is shagged with vegetable spines or teeth (_dentes_, _aculei_)
of unequal lengths, generally isolated, but sometimes connected at the
base, and formed originally out of a congeries of minute papillæ invested
by the hymenium, which gradually elongate their fibres and assume this
form. Light seems essential to their production, for if a Hydnum grow in
the dark, the teeth shrink up into long threads and are sterile.


The primary division of Funguses into _Hymenomycetes_ and
_Gasteromycetes_ is founded upon the position of their seed, which lies,
as we have seen, externally in the first, and internally in the members
of the second. The funguses described in the present work belong chiefly
to the first division, _Hymenomycetes_; to Tribe 1, _Pileati_; and many
of them to Genus 1, _Agaricus_. This genus includes a great variety of
species, and is distinguished from all other genera by having a fleshy
pileus furnished underneath with _gills_, which are placed at right
angles to the stem. Some species, during their infancy, are enclosed
either in one or more membranes.




Old words in Natural History seldom become obsolete, but they change
their meanings strangely. Were Dioscorides and Pliny _redivivi_, they
would find nothing but misnomers! The term _Agaricus_, which anciently
applied indiscriminately to all hard coriaceous funguses growing on
trees (while the word _Fungus_ did imperfect duty for this genus),
was next arbitrarily made by Linnæus to stand representative for such
only as had gills, “fungi lamellati terrestres et _arborei_.”[115]
Persoon, again, under the name _Amanita_ (a Galenic word, but hitherto
unappropriated), made a new genus of such Agarics as were invaginated,
_i. e._ shut up during the earlier period of their development in a
volva; of such as had veins in place of gills, _Merulius_; and of such as
had anastomosing gills formed another, _Dædalea_, a third division. More
recently, Fries has greatly simplified the study of this very large and
difficult genus by eliminating all of a coriaceous texture, and (having
restored to it the genus _Amanita_) by then dividing the whole into
sections; enabling us to arrive at an accuracy in the discrimination of
species which was wholly unattainable before his time. His first grand
series of Agarics comprehends those of white spores (LEUCOSPORI[116]),
and of this his first section is—

Subgenus 1. AMANITA.[117]

All the Agarics belonging to this subgenus are, during the immaturity
of the fungus, furnished with a volva and a ring; some have a velum in
addition, and in this case, the surface of the pileus is covered with
warts, or verrucæ. This natural division was adopted long ago by Micheli,
who gave the name _Uovoli_ to those which had only the first two, and
that of _Tignosi_ to those that had all three. Altogether they form but a
very small group, but one very important to distinguish accurately, as it
includes, besides one or two very delicate species, some which are highly

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ at first campanulate, then plane; fleshy towards
the centre, attenuated at the margin; _gills_ ventricose, narrow behind,
free, numerous, at length denticulate, the imperfect ones few, of a
determinate form according to the kind, and, with one exception (that
of _Ag. Cæsareus_), white. _Stalk_ generally enlarged at the base,
frequently bulbous, solid, or stuffed with a cotton-like substance, which
is at length absorbed; _ring_ descending, imperfect, fugacious; _flesh_
white, unchanging.

Esculent species: _Ag. vaginatus_.

Of the _Tignosi_, that is, those with warts on their surface, some have
striated margins, others are without striæ.

Esculent species: _Ag. rubescens_.

Subgenus 2. LEPIOTA.[118]

_Bot. Char._ _Volva_ fugacious, _veil_ single, universal, closely
adhering to and confluent with the epidermis, when burst forming a more
or less persistent ring towards the middle of the stem; _stem_ hollow,
stuffed more or less densely with fine arachnoid threads, thickened at
the base, fibrillose; _pileus_ fleshy, not compact, ovate when young,
soon campanulate, then expanded and umbonate, more or less shagged with
scales; _flesh_ white, soft, sometimes changing colour; _gills_ free,
unequal, white, never decurrent.

Solitary, persistent, autumnal funguses, growing on the ground. Not

Esculent species: _Ag. procerus_, _Ag. excoriatus_.

Subgenus 3. ARMILLARIA.[119]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ single, partial, forming a persistent ring, which in
the unexpanded plant is joined to the margin of the pileus;[120] _stem_
solid, firm, subfibrillose, unequal; _pileus_ fleshy, convex, expanded,
obtuse; _epidermis_ entire, even in the scaly species, and not continuous
with the fibres of the ring; _flesh_ white and firm; _gills_ broad,
unequal, somewhat acute behind.

Esculent species: _Ag. melleus_ (?).

Subgenus 4. LIMACIUM.[121]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 5. TRICHOLOMA.[122]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ fibrous or floccose, fugacious; _stalk_ generally
solid, firm, fleshy, attenuated upwards, scaly, fibrillose or
striate; _pileus_ fleshy, compact, campanulate or depressed, convex;
margin attenuated, at first involute, shagged with woolly fibres or
lanugo; _gills_ unequal, obtuse behind, emarginate; _flesh_ white and

Esculent species: _Ag. prunulus_ and _Ag. personatus_.[123]

Subgenus 6. RUSSULA[124] (_Scop._).

_Bot. Char._ No _veil_; _stem_ smooth, equal, glabrous, strong, white,
spongy within; _pileus_ at first campanulate, then hemispherical, in
age depressed, fleshy in the centre, thin at the margin, which is
never reflexed at any period of growth, the epidermis bare, smooth,
occasionally sticky in wet weather; _gills_ juiceless, mostly equal,
occasionally forked, the short ones few, rigid, brittle, broad in front,
behind narrow, acute, properly free but apparently adnato-decurrent,
from the effusion of the stem into the pileus; _flesh_ firm, dry, white,
moderately compact, brittle; _sporules_ white or ochraceous; _gills_
white or yellow.

Large or middle size, persistent, solitary funguses, growing on the

Esculent species: _Ag. heterophyllus_, _virescens_, and _ruber_.

Acrid species: _Ag. emeticus_, _sanguineus_, and _alutaceus_.

Subgenus 7. GALORRHEUS.[125]

_Bot. Char._ No _veil_; _stalk_ equal, round, solid, effused into the
pileus; _pileus_ fleshy, compact, generally umbilicate, margin even, when
young involute; _gills_ unequal, sometimes very thick, often forked,
narrow, attenuated behind, brittle, connected by a prolonged tooth to the
stalk, down which they are slightly decurrent; _flesh_ firm and juicy,
distilling milk.

Esculent species: _Ag. deliciosus_ and _piperatus_.

Subgenus 8. CLYTOCYBE.[126]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ none; _pileus_ at first convex, at length
infundibuliform; _gills_ unequal. The characteristics of this subgenus
are rather negative than positive; many of the contained species vary
considerably amongst themselves, but the subdivisions founded on such
variations are all well marked.

Subdivision _Dasyphylli_.[127] _Gills_ in close juxtaposition, decurrent
or acutely adnate.

Esculent species: _Ag. nebularis_.

Subdivision _Camarophylli_.[128] _Pileus_ subcompact, dry; _gills_ very
distant, vaulted, decurrent.

Esculent species: _Ag. virgineus_.

Subdivision _Chondropodes_.[129] _Pileus_ tough, dry, _gills_ nearly
free, close, white, external coat of stem subcartilaginous.

Esculent species: _Ag. fusipes_.

Subdivision _Scortei_. _Pileus_ subcoriaceous; _gills_ free, subdistant.

Esculent species: _Ag. oreades_.

Subgenus 9. COLLYBIA.[130]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 10. MYCENA.[131]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 11. OMPHALIA.[132]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 12. PLEUROPUS.[133]

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ unequal, eccentric or lateral; _stem_, when
present, solid and firm; _gills_ unequal, juiceless, unchangeable, acute
behind, growing on trees or wood; for the most part innocuous, but two
only generally eaten.

Esculent species: _Ag. ostreatus_, in the subdivision _Concharia_; and
_Ag. ulmarius_, in the subdivision _Ægeritaria_.

Series 2. HYPORHODEUS.[134]

_Sporules_ pale rose-colour.

Subgenus 13. CLITOPILUS.[135]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ none; _stem_ tolerably firm, subequal, distinct from
the pileus; _pileus_ fleshy, campanulate or convex, at length somewhat
plane, dry, regular; _gills_ unequal, changing colour as the fungus
matures its seed, fixed, or free.

Esculent species: _Ag. orcella_.

Subgenus 14. LEPTONIA.[136]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 15. NOLANEA.[137]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 16. ECCILIA.[138]

Esculent species: _none_.

Series 3. CORTINARIA.[139]

_Sporules_ reddish-ochre; _veil_ arachnoid.

Subgenus 17. TELAMONIA.[140]

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 18. INOLOMA.[141]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ fugacious, marginal, consisting of free arachnoid
threads; _stem_ solid, bulbous, fibrillose, more or less diffused into
the pileus, fleshy; _pileus_ fleshy, convex when young, then expanded,
fibrillose, or viscid, regular, juicy; _gills_ emarginato-adnexed, broad,
changing colour; colour of the gills or pileus violet.

Large autumnal funguses growing on the ground.

Esculent species: _Ag. violaceus_.

Subgenus 19. DERMOCYBE.[142]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ dry, arachnoid, very fugacious; _stem_ not truly
bulbous, fibrillose, stuffed when young; _pileus_ clothed with fibrillæ,
rarely with gluten; _gills_ rather unequal, broad, close.

Esculent species: _Ag. castaneus_.

Series 4. DERMINUS.

    [In the nine subgenera following, from 20 to 28, viz.
    _Pholiota_, _Myxacium_, _Hebeloma_, _Flammula_, _Inocybe_,
    _Naucoria_, _Galera_, _Tapinia_, and _Crepidotus_, there are no
    esculent species.]

Series 5. PRATELLA.[143]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ not arachnoid; _gills_ changing colour, clouded, at
length dissolving; _sporidia_ brown-purple.

Subgenus 29. VOLVARIA.

Esculent species: _none_.

Subgenus 30. PSALIOTA.[144]

_Bot. Char._ _Veil_ forming a partial ring-like investment, more or less
persistent; _stalk_ robust, subequal, distinct from the pileus; _pileus_
fleshy, more or less campanulate when young, almost flat when fully
expanded; sometimes sticky, sometimes scaly or else fibrillose, sometimes
naked; _gills_ unequal, free, or connected with the stalk, broad and
deepening in colour.

In addition to the ring, some have a very fugacious _volva_ or _velum_,
some both one and the other.

Esculent species: _Ag. campestris_ and _Georgii_.

    [In the four next subgenera, from 31 to 34, _Hypholoma_,
    _Psilocybe_, _Psathyra_, and _Coprinarius_, there are no
    esculent species.]

Subgenus 35. COPRINUS.[145]

_Bot. Char._ _Gills_ free, unequal, thin, simple, changing colour, at
length deliquescent. _Veil_ universal, floccose, fugacious; _stem_
fistulose, straight, elongated, brittle, subsquamulose, whitish;
_pileus_ membranaceous, rarely subcarnose, when young ovato-conic, then
campanulate, at length torn and revolute, deliquescent, distinct from the
stem, clothed with the flocculose fragments of the veil.

Fugacious funguses, growing in rich dungy places or on rotten wood.

Esculent species: _Ag. comatus_ and _atramentarius_.

Subgenus 36. GOMPHUS.

No esculent species.


_Bot. Char._ These are distinguished from Agarics, which at first sight
they resemble, by having veins in place of gills; that is, by having the
prolongations of the fibres of the pileus invested in an _undivided_,
in place of a divided hymenium, as occurs in Agarics and in the genus
_Boletus_. These veins are prominent, ramifying, seldom anastomosing;
central, eccentric, or wanting; no investments; dust white.

Esculent species: _C. cibarius_.

    [In the next three genera, _Merulius_, _Schizophyllum_, and
    _Dædalea_, there are no esculent species.]


_Bot. Char._ _Hymenium_ concrete with the substance of the pileus,
consisting of subrotund pores with thin simple dissepiments.

Esculent species: _P. frondosus_.


_Bot. Char_. The word _Boletus_, which has at different times, and under
different mycologists, been made to represent in turn many very different
funguses, is now restricted to such as have a soft flesh, vertical tubes
underneath, round or angular, slightly connected together and with
the substance of the pileus, open below, and lined by the sporiferous
membrane; the cap horizontal, very fleshy, the stalk generally
reticulated, some have an investment; the flesh of many changes colour.

They are all innocuous, according to Vittadini, which is not strictly the
case, though many species hitherto reputed unwholesome, or worse, appear
to lose their bad properties by drying. The kinds generally eaten are _B.
edulis_ and _scaber_.


_Bot. Char._ _Hymenium_ formed of a distinct substance, but concrete with
the fibres of the pileus; _tubes_ at first wart-like, somewhat remote,
radiato-fimbriate, closed; at length approximated, elongated, open.

Esculent species: _F. hepatica_.


_Bot. Char._ In this genus the under surface presents a series of conical
teeth or bristles of unequal length, solid, continuous with the flesh of
the pileus and covered entirely by the sporiferous membrane. The species
composing it have no investments; the _flesh_ is dry, frequently corky or
coriaceous; the _pileus_ irregular in shape, and its margin arched and
undulated. There are no dangerous species, but which to eat must depend
upon the united consent of the stomach and of the teeth.

Esculent species: _H. repandum_.

    [In the last five genera of this tribe, namely, _Sistotrema_,
    _Irpex_, _Radulum_, _Phlebia_, and _Thelephora_, there are no
    esculent species.]

TRIBE 2. _CLAVATI._[151]

_Hymenium_ above, smooth; _receptacle_ club-shaped or cylindrical, with
no distinct margin; _substance_ fleshy.


_Bot. Char._ _Receptacle_ erect, homogeneous, smooth, not distinguishable
from the stalk, simple or entirely covered by the hymenium.

All the species in this genus are good to eat.

    [In the remaining six genera of this tribe there are no
    esculent species.]


_Receptacle_ bullate, pileiform, margined; _hymenium_ superior, never


_Bot. Char._ _Receptacle_ hollow and confluent with stalk, club-shaped,
or, like the pileus, fissured above with lacunæ more or less deep,
limited by thick folds, anastomosed with reticulations, entirely covered
with sporiferous membrane; _flesh_ waxy in texture; _stalk_ constant.

There are two esculent kinds, _M. esculenta_ and _semilibera_; the
_esculenta_ and _hybrida_ of Sowerby.


_Bot. Char._ _Substance_ fleshy; _margins_ sinuous; only the upper
portion of the pileus sporiferous.

Esculent species: _H. crispa_, _lacunosa_, and _esculenta_.

    [In Genera 24 to 26 there are no esculent species.]


_Hymenium_ concrete, superior, smooth, shut in while young by the margins
of the receptacle; _sporules_ disseminated with elasticity or otherwise;
_receptacle_ bowl-shaped, flat or concave; some of this tribe when young
have an involucrum.



Esculent species: _P. acetabulum_.

    [In Genera 28 to 45, which conclude the first great division,
    _Hymenomycetes_, there are no esculent species.]


_Bot. Char._ The _receptacle_ a close cavity with or without a hymenium;
_spores_ at last free and variously disseminated.

    [In Genera 46 to 73 there are no esculent species.]


_Bot. Char._ _Peridium_ papyraceous, furnished with a distinct back,
which at length peels off altogether, fertile within; _capillitium_ equal.

Esculent species: _B. plumbea_.


_Bot. Char._ A sessile _peridium_, membranaceous; at first filled with a
white, consistent, homogeneous substance, which after a time is converted
into a dust of various hues, and is interspersed with copious filaments.
The funguses of this genus are invested in two membranes; the innermost
of which, or _peridium_, is tough and smooth on the outside, shaggy with
floccose threads within. The external membrane, which is very fragile and
tender, frequently falls off during the maturation of the seed, which
then escapes through the peridium by an irregular orifice at the apex.

Esculent species: _L. plumbeum_ and _Bovista_.




Subgenus TRICHOLOMA, _Fries_. Subdivision PERSONATA, _ibid._

AGARICUS MOUCERON, _Bulliard_. _Cæsalpinus_, p. 617.

MOUCERON GRIS, _Paulet_, _Persoon_.

    “Cogitatione ante pascuntur succineis novaculis aut argenteo
    apparatu comitante.”—_Pliny._

    “Tout ce qui fait l’ornement des festins s’embaume du parfum de
    ces cryptogames.”—_Persoon._

_Bot. Char._ Gregarious, or growing in rings[153] on the ground; _pileus_
thick, convex, irregular in shape, more or less tuberculated, sometimes
lobed;[154] margin not striate, wavy, expanding unequally; _epidermis_
cream-coloured, grey, reddish, or of a dirty nankeen hue, paler towards
the circumference, soft to the touch like kid, minutely tomentose,
fragile, dry, firmly attached to the flesh; flesh firm, compact; _gills_
watery, white, very numerous, irregular, with many smaller ones (from
5-11, _Vitt._) interposed, lying over each other like the plaits of a
frill, adnato-emarginate,[155] the imperfect gills rounded off at their
posterior end. _Stem_ white, robust, firm, solid, somewhat irregular in
form, generally thickened at the base, constantly so in young specimens,
but in older ones, though occasionally bulging, it presents not
unfrequently an equal cylinder throughout, and sometimes tapers slightly
downwards. The fibres are effused into the pileus, spreading out like a
fan through its substance; _smell_ strong, _taste_ agreeable; _spores_
white, elliptical, adhering firmly to the body on which they fall. The
dried plant retains much the same form it had when fresh.

On tracing this fungus to its origin, (spring is the only time, and the
borders of the woodlands the proper place, to look for it,) if we dig up
the earth where it grows, this will be found mouldy to a considerable
depth beneath the surface, and strongly impregnated with the peculiar
odour which the _Prunulus_ exhales; this apparent mouldiness being,
in fact, the spawn, amidst the white filaments of which many minute
Agarics, in various stages of their development, may be found; some, in
the earliest, presenting merely white cones destitute of heads, whilst
in others a slight protuberance indicates the future pileus forming or
already formed. The pileus is at first almost spherical, and involute
in its borders, the gills whitish, very minute, and so thickly set as
to press one against the other, each communicating to the membrane that
lines the next the impressions of its own fibres, which remain in the
form of transverse striæ, and furnish a characteristic to this fungus
retained during all its subsequent growth (_Vitt._). The greatest size
which I have known the _Prunulus_ attain has been in England, where I
have picked specimens measuring six inches across, and weighing between
four and five ounces; as to the fecundity of this fungus, I collected
this spring, from a single ring on the War-Mount at Keston (Kent), from
ten to twelve pounds, and in the one field from twenty to twenty-five
pounds. In this neighbourhood they are generally destroyed, as injurious
to his grass-crops, by the over-careful farmer, quite ignorant, of
course, of their value; to which the following extract from a letter of
Professor Balbi to Persoon bears testimony:—“This rare and most delicious
Agaric, the _Mouceron_ of Bulliard, and the _Ag. prunulus_ of other
authors, abounds on the hills above the valley of Stafora, near Bobbio,
where it is called Spinaroli, and is in great request; the country people
eat it fresh in a variety of ways, or they dry and sell it for from
twelve to sixteen francs a pound.” Vittadini says, truly enough, that the
fresh is better than the dried _Prunulus_, the substance of the latter
being rather coriaceous, but the gravy prepared from it in this state,
being very rich and well-flavoured, is largely used by those who reject
the body of the mushroom; three or four thrown into a pot of the lighter
broths or of beef-tea render them more savoury. To dry the _Prunulus_ it
is usual to cut it into four or more pieces, which are exposed for some
days to a dry air and then threaded: it acquires an aroma by the process,
and communicates this to any dish of which it is afterwards an ingredient.

It would be extremely difficult to confound this Agaric with any other;
its mode of growth in circles, the extreme narrowness of its gills,
which are moreover striate, the thickness of its pileus, and the bulging
character of its stalk, would render a mistake almost impossible, even
did it grow in autumn when other funguses abound, in place of appearing
only in spring when few species comparatively abound.

The best mode of cooking the _Ag. prunulus_ is either in a mince or
fricassee it with any sort of meat, or in a _vol-au-vent_, the flavour of
which it greatly improves; or simply prepared with salt, pepper, and a
small piece of bacon, lard, or butter, to prevent burning, it constitutes
of itself a most excellent dish. It has the great advantage of appearing
in spring, at a season the common mushroom never occurs. I have placed
it first in the series of Plates, as being the most savoury fungus with
which I am acquainted.[156]

When eaten alone, Sterbeck’s white mustard will be found an excellent
condiment for it; this is prepared as follows:—Bruise in a mortar some
sweet almonds with a little water, then add salt, pepper, and some
lemon-juice, rub together till the whole is of the consistence of common



Subgenus LEPIOTA, _Fries_.

    “Elle est d’une saveur très-agréable et d’une chair tendre,
    très-délicate et très-bonne à manger. Les amateurs la préfèrent
    même au champignon de couche, comme ayant une chair plus fine
    et étant beaucoup plus légère sur l’estomac.”—_Paulet._

This, which is one of the most delicate funguses, fortunately is not rare
in England. In Italy it is in equal request with the _Amanita Cæsarea_;
in France it is also in high esteem,—“servie sur toutes les tables, elle
est bonne à toute sauce” (_Thore_); and were its excellent qualities
better known here, they could not fail to secure it a general reception
into our best kitchens, and a frequent place among our side-dishes at
table. The beauty and remarkable appearance of this Agaric have procured
for it a variety of names: _colubrinus_, from the snake-like markings on
the stem; _clypeatus_, from its umbonated top; ‘_fungo parasole_,’ from
the orbicular form of the wide-spread pileus; and _Gambaltiem_ or _Fonz
de la gamba lunga_, from the extraordinary height of the stalk. Autumn
is the time of its greatest abundance, but individual specimens occur
occasionally throughout the summer.

It grows solitary or few together in hedgebanks and pasture-grounds.

The pileus, which is commonly from four to four and a half inches across,
sometimes attains a width of six or seven. At first it is concealed in a
volva, but breaking from this it goes through a variety of forms, from
that of an ovoid cone to that of a flattened disk. It is umbonated at
the centre, and covered with scales, which are formed by the breaking
up of the mud-coloured epidermis, and are large, raised, and persistent
at the centre; thin, regular, and lighter in hue at the circumference,
“the whole surface resembling a delightfully soft, shaggy-brown leather”
(_Purton_). The flesh of the pileus is white and cottony, that of the
stalk fibrous and somewhat brittle, with a subrubescent tinge, the
whole plant turning to a rufous-orange when bruised; the gills are of a
pale flesh-colour, occasionally forked, ventricose, denticulate, remote
from the stalk, and having a circular pit between it and their central
extremities, which are fixed into a kind of collar. The stalk tawny,
striped circularly with bands of white, formed by the breaking up of
the epidermis; is bulbous at the base and attenuated upwards; its apex
rounded, and penetrating deeply through the flesh of the pileus (which
receives it as in a socket), gives rise to the central umbo on the upper
surface of the cap. The ring moveable, like that of an umbrella-stick,
broad, compact, membranaceous immediately round the stalk, and fibrous
towards its free margin, is white above and tawny or of the same
colour as the stalk on its under surface. The smell is like that of
newly-ground meal; the taste is pleasant; the spores are white and

The _Ag. excoriatus_ resembles the _Ag. procerus_ very closely, but is
easily distinguished from it by its smaller size, the absence of the bulb
at the base of the stalk, and the ring being often attached instead of

Being equally esculent, the following receipts will serve for both:—

“Comme il est très-léger et très-délicat, il faut le faire sauter dans
l’huile fine après l’avoir assaisonné d’un point d’ail, de poivro et de
sel; en quelques instants il est cuit. On le mange aussi en fricassée de
poulet, cuit sur le gril ou dans la tourtière avec de beurre, de fines
herbes, du poivre, du sel, et de la chapelure de pain; on ne mange point
la tige, elle est d’une texture coriace” (_Roques_).

The ketchup from both kinds is better than that procured from the
_Agaricus campestris_, or common mushroom.

    N.B.—I have in the above notice described one variety of
    _Agaricus procerus_; there is, however, if not another, at
    least a remarkable modification of this, in which the pileus
    is thinner and much less shaggy, the gills less broad but
    similar in shape, the stalk more slender and elongate. This
    variety is also nearly void of odour, _and its flesh does not
    change colour on being bruised_: for culinary purposes this
    distinction is without importance, as both are equally good.



Section CORTINARIA, _Fries_.

    “Atto sovra ognun altro fungo al commercio, forma da questo
    lato, per non pochi paesi della Lombardia, una delle principali
    risorsi della povera gente.”—_Vitt._

The ancient Romans were well acquainted with this truly delicious
fungus, and in general appear to have done it justice; the strings of
dried Suillus, which his countrymen, on the testimony of Pliny, were in
the habit of fetching from Bithynia, were in all likelihood the same
as those similarly-prepared strings of the modern Porcino which are
sold during the winter in every market-place throughout Italy.[157]
Vittadini mentions a curious fact respecting them, viz. that though they
are composed of many different Boletuses, no mischief was ever known
to originate from their indiscriminate and very extensive consumption;
whence he concludes that _all_ the species of this genus are innocuous,
or, at least, that drying and cooking will extract any deleterious
principles which they may have originally contained;—an inference,
he thinks, supported by the daily use among the peasantry of certain
districts of the _B. luridus_, which of all bad Boletuses commonly passes
for the worst, and by his having experimented with it in large doses upon
animals, who did not suffer in consequence. I have eaten in England a
small quantity both of _B. Grevillei_ and of _B. granulatus_, which have
much of the flavour of the _B. edulis_; of the _B. subtomentosus_(though,
on the authority of Trattinick, it is eaten in Germany) I have no
personal experience, nor do I recommend to the amateur any species beyond
the two universally eaten and approved of on the Continent, viz.:—_B.
edulis_ and _B. scaber_.

_B. edulis._—BOT. CHAR. _Pileus_ from six to seven inches across,
pulvinate, smooth, with a thick margin, varying in colour from light
brown or bronze, to bay, dark brown, or black, or a mixture of all
these colours. The epidermis firmly adherent to the flesh, that firm,
and except the part in immediate contact with the skin, which has a
slight brown tint, white; the under surface of the cap nearly flat,
often presenting a circular pit or depression round the stalk; _tubes_
at first white, then yellow, lastly of an olive or yellow-green tint, in
the earlier stage of development (their free extremities then lie against
the side of the stalk) closed; afterwards, as the cap expands, stopped
up with a waxy-looking material of a dirty pearl colour. _Stem_ varying
much in shape at different periods of the growth of the _Boletus_, always
thick and solid; at first white, but soon changing to fawn colour,
beautifully meshed or mapped (especially on its upper portion) with
reticulations characteristic of this species. As the period for casting
its seed advances, the inferior surface of the cap swells out, the waxy
matter is absorbed, the tubes present deep and rounded orifices to the
eye, and presently emit an abundant seminal dust, of an ochraceous green
hue (sometimes difficult to collect, from the quantity of moisture
exhaled with it), after which both cap and stalk become flaccid, the
tubes turn to a dirty green, and the whole fungus falls rapidly into
a state of decomposition. The favourite sites for this _Boletus_ are
woods, especially those of pines, oaks, and chestnuts; it abounds in
autumn, but occurs in spring and occasionally in summer. There is one
variety, the _pinicola_, whose name gives its whereabouts, which differs
from the foregoing, in having a moist, somewhat sticky cap, a watery
flesh changing near the tubes to a light yellow-green when bruised; the
reticulations are ill-marked in this species.

The _Boletus edulis_ cannot be mistaken for any other _Boletus_ because
it alone presents all the following characters united, viz. a cap of
which the surface is smooth; tubes the colour of which varies with each
period of its growth, beautiful and singular reticulations of the stalk,
especially towards the upper portion, and a flesh which is white and

The _Boletus castaneus_, which bears, some little general resemblance
to it, is at once distinguished by having a cottony fibrillose stem
without reticulations, a downy cap and dirty yellow dust: neither can it
be confounded with the _B. subtomentosus_ nor _B. luridus_, because in
addition to many other points of difference, both these change colour on
being cut or bruised.

As to the best manner of cooking _B. edulis_, this must be left to the
taste of the gourmet; in every way it is good. Its tender and juicy
flesh, its delicate and sapid flavour, render it equally acceptable to
the plain and to the accomplished cook. It imparts a relish alike to the
homely hash and the dainty ragout, and may be truly said to improve every
dish of which it is a constituent. “Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit.”
“Though much neglected in this country, it appears to be a most valuable
article of food. It resembles much in taste the common mushroom, and is
quite as delicate; it abounds in seasons when these are not to be found.”

_Modes of Cooking Boletus edulis._ (PERSOON.)

It may be cooked in white sauce, with or without chicken, in fricassee
broiled or baked with butter, salad oil, pepper, salt, chopped herbs,
and bread-crumbs; to which some add ham or a mince of anchovy. It makes
excellent fritters: some roast it with onions (basting with butter), but
as these take longer to cook than the _Boletus_, this must not be put
down till the onions have begun to soften.

_Boletus edulis Soup, made in Hungary._ (PAULET.)

Having dried some _Boletuses_ in an oven, soak them in tepid water,
thickening with toasted bread, till the whole be of the consistence of a
_purée_, then rub through a sieve, throw in some stewed _Boletuses_, boil
together, and serve with the usual condiments.


Section PRATELLA. Subdivision PSALIOTA, _Fries_.


    “Où croît ce champignon, délice des festins,
    Que l’art fait chaque jour naître dans nos jardins.”—_Castel._

There is scarcely any one in England who does not feel himself competent
to decide on the genuineness of a mushroom: its pink gills are carefully
separated from those of a kindred fungus _Ag. Georgii_, which are of a
flesh-coloured grey, and out of the pickings of ten thousand hands, a
mistake is of rare occurrence; and yet no fungus presents itself under
such a variety of forms, of such singular diversities of aspect! the
inference is plain; less discrimination than that employed to distinguish
this, would enable any who should take the trouble, to recognize at a
glance many of those esculent species, which every spring and autumn fill
our plantations and pastures with plenteousness. Neither is this left to
be a mere matter of inference; it is corroborated in a singular manner
by what takes place at Rome; here, whilst many hundred baskets of what
we call toadstools are carried home for the table, almost the only one
condemned to be thrown into the Tiber, by the inspector of the fungus
market is our own mushroom:[158] indeed, in such dread is this held in
the Papal States, that no one knowingly would touch it. “It is reckoned
one of their fiercest imprecations,” writes Professor Sanguinetti,
“amongst our lower orders, infamous for the horrible nature of their
oaths, to pray that any one may die of a _Pratiolo_;” and although it has
been some years registered among the esculent funguses of Milan and Pavia
(on the authority of Vittadini), it has not yet found its way into those
markets. Besides the general botanical characters which apply to all
varieties of _Ag. campestris_, almost every writer has felt the necessity
of pointing out several peculiarities, belonging to each. Common to all
are a fleshy pileus, which is sometimes smooth, sometimes scaly, in
colour white, or of different shades of tawny, fuliginous, or brown;
gills free, at first pallid, then flesh-coloured, then pink, next purple,
at length tawny-black; the stem white, full, firm, varying in shape,
furnished with a white persistent ring; the spores brown-black, and a
volva which is very fugacious.

_Var._ A. _edulis_.

This, which is our button mushroom, lies at first concealed in the
earth, at which period it presents the appearance of a puff-ball; at a
second stage of its growth, it exhibits a white, smooth, and continuous
epidermis; gills rounded off at their posterior end; a large, somewhat
funnel-shaped, _double_ ring, free, and somewhat moveable on the stem,
which is short and thick. This, according to Vittadini, is the most sapid
variety of any.

_Var._ B. _pratensis_.

This differs from the last in the duskier hue of its pileus, which is
moreover scaly, and has ragged margins; the gills are ventricose; and
the ring, which is subfugacious, is cortinarious, _i. e._ of a cobweb
texture, and reflexed; the stalk is longer than in the last species,
and tapers towards the base; the colour of the flesh in this variety is
vinous or even sanguine.

_Var._ C. _silvicola_.

This differs from the two former in the following particulars; the
gills are _pallid_, taper _equally_ at both ends, and come off at a
considerable distance from the stalk, which is surrounded above by a very
delicate ring, and is _bulbous_ at the base, the bulb showing traces of
the volva.[159]

_Var._ D. _anceps_.

Such _uncultivated_ mushrooms as when eaten even in small quantity,
produce violent derangement of the stomach and intestinal canal, belong
to a variety which, since it grows under hedges, is sometimes called “the
hedge mushroom;” this, to which, for distinction’s sake, I have given
the name of _anceps_, is by no means of rare occurrence. In order to
discriminate it properly from the wholesome varieties, the first point to
notice is its extreme lightness as compared with its bulk, that the gills
are of a deeper and of a more lurid red than those of _var. edulis_,
and in age less purple; they are also less deliquescent. The flesh is
more tough and not so juicy. The stem, as in the _var. silvicola_, is
curved and bulbous, but also fistulose throughout. The ring complete,
firm, broad, reflexed, and _persistent_; the odour disagreeable, and the
taste insipid. The form of the pileus that of an obtuse cone in young
specimens; extremely flat in the middle state; and more or less concave
in age. It seldom grows solitary. The mushroom proper, like other
funguses, should be eaten fresh; a few hours making all the difference
between its wholesomeness or unwholesomeness: nor need this surprise
us when we consider how many principles enter into its composition,
how short is the period of its existence, and how liable it must be
to enter into new combinations in consequence. Vauquelin found in its
flesh fat, adipocere, osmazome, an animal matter insoluble in alcohol,
sugar, fungine, and acetate of potash. What a medley! and what wonder, if
the changes induced during decomposition should cause the indigestions
suffered by those who have eaten them in this state! The mushroom, having
the same proximate principles as meat, requires, like meat, to be cooked
before these become changed. The _Ag. campestris_ may be prepared in a
great variety of ways: they give a fine flavour to soups, and greatly
improve beef-tea;—where arrow-root and weak broths are distasteful to the
patient, the simple seasoning of a little ketchup will frequently form an
agreeable change. Some roast them, basting with melted butter and white
(French) wine sauce.[160] In patties and _vols-au-vent_ they are equally
excellent; in fricassees, as everybody knows, they are the important
element of the dish. Roques recommends in all cases the removal of the
gills before dressing, which though it secures a more elegant-looking
_entremet_, is only flattering the eye at the expense of the palate.

_Var._ E. _bovinus_.

This variety differs from the _Ag. Georgii_ and the type of the species
in size and other particulars. There are specimens which measure fifteen
inches across the pileus, with a stalk of corresponding dimensions.
The pileus is shaggy, like that of the _Ag. procerus_, with epidermic
scales, which are at first nearly white, but in fully developed
specimens, of a rich tawny colour, like the _Polyporus squamosus_;
and sometimes of a red-brown. The scales more depressed than in _Ag.
procerus_, the gills not ventricose, equal at both ends, separated from
the stalk by a fossa or groove which runs round its apex; the stalk
solid, attenuated at the very base, but thickened just above it, a
slightly vinous hue when bruised; flesh of ring perfect, persistent, and
hanging round the stalk like a sheet of thin white kid; into which a
number of delicate silver threads may be traced proceeding from the apex
of stem. The smell is powerful but agreeable, as also is the flavour; no
part of the surface ever turns yellow. This variety is both wholesome and
well-flavoured; as it is commonly known by the peasants under the name of
the “Ox-Mushroom,” I have called it _bovinus_.

_Receipt I.—“A la Provençale._”

Steep for two hours in oil, with some salt, pepper, and a little garlic:
then toss up in a small stewpan over a brisk fire, with parsley chopped
and a little lemon-juice.

_Receipt II.—To stuff Mushrooms._

Take large mushrooms, full-grown, but not black; remove the gills, and
place in lieu of them the following stuffing:—bacon shredded, crumbs
of bread, chopped herbs, and a little garlic or eschalots (as for
omelettes), salt, pepper, and a taste of spice. Broil in paper as a
Maintenon cutlet, moistening with butter when necessary.

_Receipt III.—Mushrooms “à la Marquis Cussi._”

Take button mushrooms; put to them a very small quantity of garlic,
finely chopped; toss up over a brisk fire with a little butter; add
some lemon-juice; give them a few turns; then add salt, pepper, nutmeg,
and a wine-glassful of the richest brown gravy (Grande Espagnole); when
the mushrooms are warmed through in this, add a couple of glasses of
Sauterne, simmer for ten minutes, and serve.

A homely mode of cooking _Ag. campestris_ in Bucks. is to cut up the
buttons with pieces of bacon the size of dice, and then to boil them in a

_Method of Cultivating._

The following method of cultivating mushrooms is given in Paxton’s
‘Botanical Dictionary:’—

“Collect a sufficient quantity of fresh horse-droppings, as free from
straw as possible; lay it in an open shed in a heap or ridge; here it
will heat violently, and in consequence should be now and then turned
for sweetening; after this has subsided to moderation, it will be in a
fit state for forming into a bed. In the process of making the bed, the
dung should be put on in small quantities and beat firmly and equally
together, until it is the required size; in this state let it remain
until the highest degree of heat to which it is capable of coming is
ascertained, which may be readily done by inserting a heat-stick, and
pressing it with the hand; if not found violent, the spawn may be broken
up into pieces of two or three inches square, and put into holes about
three inches in depth by six inches asunder, over its surface; after
this, throw a very small quantity of well-broken droppings over the
whole. In this state let it remain for two or three weeks, when a loamy
soil may be put on about an inch or an inch and a half thick, and gently
patted with the spade. If the temperature of the house be kept about
sixty or sixty-five degrees, mushrooms may be expected in six weeks.
It is not well to water the beds much, particularly when bearing; it is
much better to throw a little water over the path and flues, which will
both improve the colour and the flavour of the mushrooms, without being
attended with those bad effects frequently resulting from watering, viz.
that of destroying the young stock, and turning browner those already fit
for table.”—_Paxton’s Bot. Dict._

With regard to the spawn, it may be collected as recommended in the
French work cited by M. Roques, and kept in a dry place till wanted;
or by digging about the roots of growing mushrooms, and carrying away
the earth which contains it. The _débris_ of a former mushroom-bed will
always furnish spawn for a new.


PLATE IV., FIGS. 3, 4, AND 5.

Section PSALIOTA, _Fries_. Subdivision PRATELLA, _ibid._


    “L’Agarico esquisito è un fungo sano, oltremodo delicato e di
    facilissima digestione.”—_Vitt._

    “Its flavour is far inferior to that of the common

This fungus, called also the Horse Mushroom, from the enormous
dimensions[161] to which it sometimes attains, is for the most part
shunned by the English epicure; it is also this species from which
many persons report themselves to have suffered indigestion attended
with violent colicky pains, when they have eaten it by mistake for the
_Ag. campestris_. It is sold, under the name of White Caps, for making
ketchup; but, notwithstanding its foreign name and reputation, most
persons will agree with Mr. Berkeley, in holding both its flesh and its
juices as greatly inferior to those of the _Ag. campestris_. Our other
name for it, that of St. George’s Agaric, can have no reference to the
time of its appearance, as it is seldom met with in England till after
that saint’s day; it has, moreover, the same name in Hungary, where the
inhabitants look upon it as a special gift from Saint George.

Its botanical characters are the following:—

_Pileus_ at first conico-campanulate, covered with floccose shreds,
which are very fugacious; when fully expanded, minutely squamulose, of
a beautiful white, shining and smooth; turning yellow when bruised,
and sometimes exuding a yellow juice (Sibthorpe). _Gills_ numerous,
broad, attenuated both ways, but most so behind, free, of a pallid
hue (grey flesh-colour), during the growth of the fungus; later,
clouded brown-black; the imperfect gills obtuse behind. _Stem_ long,
subcylindrical, slightly thickened at the base, white without, stuffed
within. _Ring_ tumid and reflected over the stalk. _Flesh_ of both pileus
and stalk compact, fibrous, and fragile. Flavour and smell strong, and,
according to Vittadini, agreeable, but according to English perception
generally the reverse. Persoon pronounces this fungus to be _superior_
to the common mushroom in smell, taste, and digestibility, on which
accounts, he says, it is generally preferred in France. It is to be
cooked in the same way as that, and, if eaten in moderation, will seldom
be found to incommode the stomach or offend the palate.

_Locality._—Pastures, amidst thickets, under trees, generally in large
rings, reproducing itself every year in the same situations.



_Orange Milk Agaric._


_Bot. Char._ Gregarious. _Pileus_ from three to four inches across;
colour dull orange-rufous, frequently zoned with concentric circles of a
brighter hue, fleshy, firm, full of red orange milk, which turns green on
exposure to the air (as does the whole plant when bruised); the margin at
first involute and downy, then expanded, afterwards depressed. _Gills_
decurrent, forked at the base, always of the same colour as the pileus,
rather distant, substantial. _Stem_ from two to three inches high,
slightly bent, stuffed in part, scrobiculate (_i. e._ marked with little
superficial pits); at the base strigose (_i. e._ covered with short
pointed hairs).

This is one of the best Agarics with which I am acquainted, fully
deserving both its _name_ and the estimation in which it is held abroad.
Its flesh is firm, juicy, sapid, and nutritious. It grows under old
Scotch firs and pines, and occasionally in considerable abundance, and is
well worth the trouble of searching for from September to the beginning
of November, when it is in season. There is but one fungus which it
in any way resembles, and as that one (_Ag. torminosus_) is acrid and
poisonous, the gatherer must pay particular attention to the following
characteristic difference between the two, viz. that the milk of the _Ag.
deliciosus_ is _red and subsequently turns green_, while that of the
_Ag. torminosus_ is _white_ and _unchangeable_.

Mr. Sowerby thus speaks in praise of this species:—“I had one dressed;
it was very luscious eating, full of rich gravy, with a little of the
flavour of mussels.”

Sir James Smith, in his ‘Tour,’ says:—“The market of Marseilles exhibited
a prodigious quantity of _Ag. deliciosus_, which really deserves its
name, being the most delicious mushroom known.”

The _Agaricus deliciosus_ may be served with a white sauce, or fried; but
the best way to cook them, after duly seasoning with pepper and salt, and
putting a piece of butter upon each, is to bake (in a closely-covered
pie-dish) for about three-quarters of an hour.



    “Fungo innocente e che non può cagionare alcun danno, non
    molto ricercato a motivo, senza dubbio, del cambiamento di
    colore in cui va soggetto la sua carne allorchè viene rotta o

_Bot. Char._ This fungus presents itself under two distinct forms; in
the first, the _B. aurantiacus_ of Bull., the _pileus_ (generally rather
downy, but sometimes rough) is of a beautiful deep orange hue; in the
other it is cinereous.

In both cases its shape is that of a hemisphere of from three to seven
inches across, the surface of which becomes viscid when moist, and is
minutely downy. In the first variety, the _stem_ is rough with black, in
the second with orange scales.

Half a foot is its average height; it is attenuated upwards. While young,
it is very thick in proportion to the pileus, and exhibits frequently
the traces of a floccose veil. The flesh is thick and flabby, of a dingy
white, not greatly changeable in young specimens, but deepening in colour
when old, and acquiring a vinous tint;[162] the _tubes_ are of a dirty
white, those that surround the stem being shorter than the rest.

The odour of this fungus is slight; the taste subacid; the seminal dust
copious, and tawny-ferruginous. It may be cooked like the _B. edulis_,
and has an agreeable flavour; but being more viscid in substance, it
requires when stewed to be thinned with water; when dried, it loses all
odour, and is then insipid and unfit for food.


PLATE VI. FIGS. 3, 4, AND 5.

Nothing can be more accurate than Mr. Berkeley’s description of this
species, which I therefore subjoin:—“Woods. Summer and autumn. Common.
_Pileus_ two to six inches broad, convex, expanded, minutely tomentose,
olive, brick-red, pinkish, cream-coloured, or ferruginous-brown. _Flesh_
more or less yellow, changing to blue.[163] _Tubes_ free, yellow or
greenish; their orifices of a beautiful red or bright orange, quite
simple, round. _Spores_ olivaceous-ochre. _Stem_ very variable in length,
bulbous, tomentose, sometimes quite smooth, red with ferruginous or
the brightest yellow shades, solid, generally more or less marked or
reticulated with crimson-red, _very deleterious_”(?[164]).



Subgenus TRICHOLOMA, _Fries_.


I never met with this fungus in Italy; it has not been described by
Vittadini, nor, that I am aware of, by any Italian mycologist; neither
is it mentioned by Cordier or Roques, in their treatises on the esculent
funguses of France. Extremely common in England, this species has already
found its way to Covent Garden, where, according to Sowerby, it is sold
under the name of “Blewitts.”[165] The favourite haunt of the Blewitt
is amidst grass, where it grows in clusters, or in large rings, seldom
appearing before October.

The botanical characters, as given by Mr. Berkeley, are as
follows:—“_Pileus_ from two to six inches broad, fleshy, firm; pale
bistre or purple-lilac, occasionally violet; convex, obtuse, very
smooth, and shining, as if oiled, but not viscid; margin involute,
pulverulento-tomentose. _Gills_ rounded; free, narrow in front, paler
than the pileus, sometimes violet, turning to a dirty flesh-colour,
especially when bruised; _stem_ from one to three inches high,
three-quarters of an inch thick, firm, bulbous, solid, mottled within
towards the apex, with watery spots; clothed more or less with villous
fibrillæ, tinged with violet; odour like that of _Oreades_, but rather
overpowering; taste pleasant.” As the “Blewitt” is apt to imbibe in wet
weather a great quantity of moisture, it should not be gathered during
rain; when not water-soaked it is a fine firm fungus with a flavour of
veal, like which it is to be dressed _en papillottes_ with savoury herbs
and the usual condiments, and the more highly seasoned the better.



Subgenus CLITOCYBE. Section SCORTEI, _Fries_.

_Scotch Bonnets._

Every one knows the Champignon,—that little buff fungus which during
so many months in the year comes up in successive crops, in great
profusion after rain, and generally in rings. These Champignons abound
everywhere: this summer (1847) Hyde Park was full of them; amid the
seared and much-trodden grass they were continually tracing their fairy
rings, and in some instances they reached the very border of the gravel
walks. Independent of the excellent flavour of this little mushroom,
which is as good as that of most funguses, two circumstances give it an
additional value in a domestic point of view, viz. the facility with
which it is dried, and its very extensive dissemination. When dried (two
or three days’ exposure to the air is generally sufficient to effect
this), the _Ag. oreades_ may be kept for years without losing any of
its aroma or goodness, which on the contrary become improved by the
process, so as, in fact, to impart more flavour to the dish than would
have been imparted by the fresh fungus; though it is not to be denied
that the flesh then becomes coriaceous and less easy of digestion.[166]
From the sad accidents occasioned by persons mistaking other small and
poisonous Agarics growing in the neighbourhood of the Champignon for the
Champignon itself, this species is frequently looked upon with suspicion,
and not often eaten in England. The Agaric the least unlike and most
commonly found growing in company with the _Ag. oreades_, is the _Ag.
semilobatus_, which is nearly allied to, if it be not the same as the
_Ag. virosus_ of Sowerby. But as I have also heard of a gentleman who
intending to gather Champignons, and taking home some _Ag. dryophilus_ by
mistake, was rendered very ill by his repast, to prevent the recurrence
of such mistakes for the future, I here add the botanical characters,
marking what is peculiar to each in italics. _Ag. dryophilus_ is
represented in Pl. VII. fig. 5.


    Solitary or tufted. Pileus from one to two inches broad,
    whitish, pinkish, yellowish, or yellow-brown, flat, sometimes
    _depressed_, fleshy, thin, _fragile_, _when moist easily
    injured_, of a tougher substance when dry. Gills soft, tender,
    numerous, white, or pale yellow straw-colour. Stem shining,
    _hollow_, of the same colour as the pileus, but towards the
    apex generally darker and of a redder tinge.


    In dense rings, or gregarious. Pileus smooth, _fleshy_,
    _convex_, _subumbonate_, generally more or less _compressed_,
    or _sinuate_; _tough_, coriaceous, _elastic_, _wrinkled_,
    when _water-soaked brown_, _buff_ or _cream-colour_ when dry;
    the umbo often remaining _red-brown_, as if _scorched_. Gills
    _distant_, ventricose, of the _same tint as the pileus_ or
    _paler_. Stem equal, _solid_, _twisted_, very _tough_ and
    _fibrous_, _pure, silky, white_; base downy, somewhat rooting
    and attached to the roots of grass.[167]


    Pileus hemispherical, _viscid_ when moist, _shining_ and
    _smooth_ as if varnished, obtuse, fleshy. Gills very broad,
    perfectly _horizontal to the stem_, broadly adnate, with a
    little tooth, minutely _serrated_, mottled with purple-brown
    sporules. _Stalk very viscid_, shining when dry with a
    closely-matted silkiness, _fistulose_, sometimes bulbous with
    a hollow bulb; ring generally complete, reflexed, often dusted
    with the dark-coloured spores.



Subgenus CLITOCYBE. Section DASYPHYLLI, _Fries_.

AG. PILEOLARIUS, _Bulliard_.

    “Il est très-agréable au goût.”—_Bulliard._

The following description was made from some among the more
characteristic specimens of a large supply which I gathered this
autumn (1847) near Hayes, from a spot where they are in the habit of
re-appearing regularly in October.

_Pileus_ from two and a half to five inches across; at first
depresso-convex; when expanded nearly flat or broadly subumbonate, never
depressed, margin at first involute and pruinose; occasionally somewhat
waved and lobed, but generally regular in form; smooth, viscid when
moist, so that dead leaves adhere to it; grey, brown at the centre, paler
towards the circumference. _Flesh_ thick, white, unchanging; _gills_
cream-colour, narrow, decurrent, close, their margins waved, unequal,
generally simple. _Stem_ from two to four inches long, from a quarter
of an inch to an inch thick; incurved at the base, not rooting, but
attaching by means of a floccose down, round its lower portion and for
one-third of its length, a large quantity of dead leaves, by which the
plant is held erect; subequal, more or less marked with longitudinal
pits, firm externally, within of a softer substance. The _odour_ strong,
like that of curd cheese.

This Agaric appears to be local in Italy; otherwise it could scarcely
have been omitted in Vittadini’s work, nor by the author of the article
“Fungo” in the Venice edition of the ‘Dizionario Classico di Medicina:’
add to which that I have never met with it myself either at Florence,
Pisa, Naples, or Leghorn. That it grows in the neighbourhood of Rome is
certain, since I find it admirably delineated in a curious collection
of very old drawings which I purchased there. Moreover Professor
Sanguinetti, of that city, writes in terms of high commendation of this
mushroom, which, he says, may be discerned _inter alia_, “by its peculiar
odour and grateful taste: when properly cooked it is equal to any of our
funguses, rivalling not only the _Ag. prunulus_, but even the _Cæsareus_:
as few are aware of its good qualities, it seldom finds its way into the
Roman market.” The _Ag. nebularis_ requires but little cooking; a few
minutes’ broiling (à la Maintenon is best), with butter, pepper, and
salt, is sufficient. It may also be delicately fried with bread crumbs,
or stewed in white sauce. The flesh of this mushroom is perhaps lighter
of digestion than that of any other.



Tribe MESOPUS. Subdivision AGARICINI, _Fries_.

    “Sunt qui hunc perniciosum scripsere. Verum etiam latranti
    stomacho eum comedi; atque ex eo pulmenta parantur,
    quæ si aridis mortuorum oribus admovcantur peream ni

    “Jure inter sapidissimos fungos numeratur.”—_Fries._

No fungus is more popular than the above, though the merits—nay, the
very existence—of such a fungus at home is confined to the Freemasons,
who keep the secret! Having collected a quantity at Tunbridge Wells,
this summer, and given them to the cook at the Calverley Hotel to dress,
I learnt from the waiter that they were not novelties to him; that, in
fact, he had been in the habit of dressing them for years, on state
occasions, at the Freemasons’ Tavern. They were generally fetched, so
he said, from, the neighbourhood of Chelmsford, and were always well
paid for. Of the _Cantharellus_, this summer (1847), the supplies were
immense! the moss under the beech-trees in Buckhurst Park in particular,
was so lavish of them, that a hamper might soon have been filled, had
there been hands to gather them. On revisiting the same park about five
weeks later, they were still continuing to come up, but in less abundance.

The botanical characters of the _Cantharellus_ are as follow:—

When young, its _stalk_ is tough, white, and solid; but as it grows this
becomes hollow and presently changes to yellow; tapering below, it is
effused into the substance of the _pileus_, which is of the same colour
with it. The _pileus_ is lobed, and irregular in shape, its margin at
first deeply involute, afterwards when expanded, wavy. The _veins_ or
plaits are thick, subdistant, much sinuated, running some way down the
stalk. The _flesh_ is white, fibrous, dense, “having the odour of
apricots” (_Purton_), or of “plums” (_Vitt._). The _colour_ yellow, that
of the yolk of eggs, is deeper on the under surface; when raw it has
the pungent taste of pepper; the _spores_ which are elliptic, are of a
pallid ochre colour (_Vitt._).[168] The _Chantarelle_ grows sometimes
sporadically, sometimes in circles or segments of a circle, and may be
found from June to October. At first it assumes the shape of a minute
cone; next, in consequence of the rolling in of the margin, the pileus
is almost spherical, but as this unfolds, it becomes hemispherical, then
flat, at length irregular and depressed.

“This fungus,” observes Vittadini, “being rather dry and tough by nature,
requires a considerable quantity of fluid sauce to cook it properly.”
The common people in Italy dry or pickle, or keep it in oil for winter
use. Perhaps the best ways of dressing the _Cantharellus_ are to stew or
mince it by itself, or to combine it with meat or with other funguses. It
requires to be gently stewed and a long time to make it tender; but by
soaking it in milk the night before, less cooking will be requisite.

The _Canth. cibarius_ is very abundant about Rome, where it fetches, not
being in great esteem, from twopence to twopence halfpenny a pound.



Subgenus COPRINUS, _Fries_.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ fleshy, campanulate, margin uneven, colour
greyish, then light brown, slightly hairy, often corrugated, sometimes
scaly in the centre. _Gills_ numerous, deep, with clear veins, light
brown, black in age, the edges grey or white, free, obtuse behind. _Stem_
about four inches high, swollen at the base, piped, juicy, fibrous,
marked with bands.

This is a common fungus in gardens, waste corners of fields, and lanes,
and occasionally growing on stumps of trees in such situations: it is
gregarious and cæspitose, and occurs both in spring and autumn. Young
specimens afford a fine ketchup.



Subgenus COPRINUS, _Fries_.

    “A fungus in great request about Via Reggio and

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ cylindrical, breaking up into long scales,
campanulate, epidermis thin, flesh thick in the centre, very thin and
stringy at the margins. _Gills_ numerous, quite free, leaving a space
round the top of the stem. _Stem_ from four to five inches high, rather
bulbous at the base, stuffed with fibres, brittle, ring moveable.

This fungus may be found from early spring till late in the autumn, in
meadows and waste places.

When used for making ketchup or for the table, only young specimens
should be selected.



Subgenus RUSSULA, _Scopoli_.


    “Non meno sicuro e gustoso del Cesareo e del l’orcino.”—_Vitt._

It is of the utmost importance that those who gather funguses for the
table, should be accurately acquainted with the different species
composing this genus; its members are so abundantly distributed; some of
them form so excellent and delicate a food, whilst others produce such
deleterious effects on the economy, that they are well entitled to a
diligent and careful attention. The limits of this work will not permit
an accurate discrimination of all the species, which would require a long
monograph to themselves; but I have endeavoured to point out amidst those
of most frequent occurrence, the three which may be selected with profit
for the table, and some others which are nearly allied, from which we
must be careful to separate them.

The three mild-flavoured _Russulæ_ are the _Ag. heterophyllus_, _Ag.
ruber_, and _Ag. virescens_; the botanical characters of the first are as

_Ag. heterophyllus._

_Pileus_ subirregular, from three and a half to four and a half inches
across, at first convex, then more or less excavated towards the centre;
for the most part smooth, the epidermis covering it, more or less moist,
never scored or fissured, but exhibiting a continuous surface, marked by
very small raised lines, radiating as from the centre, and frequently
crossing so as to present a very minute finely reticulated meshwork,
sometimes slightly zoned, adhering to the flesh of the _pileus_, which
peels away with it in flakes resembling asbestos. It is very various in
colour, being found of all shades of yellow, lilac, azure, green, and
sometimes a mixture of these in different parts. The margin even, _i.
e._ not striate, irregularly elevated and depressed. The _gills_ are
watery white, rather numerous and thick, ascending, tapering away at
their stalk extremity, rather broader at the other, some simple but many
of them forked at the base, in a few instances branched; the imperfect
gills very few, irregular, occasionally broadly adhering to the side of
a perfect gill; the _stalk_ naked, variable as to length and size, equal
or attenuated slightly at the base, white like spermaceti, externally
rugulose, and meshed, like the pileus, with minute meandering lines,
internally stuffed with a compact subfriable medullary substance, which,
as the fungus grows old, breaks up here and there into sinuses which
gradually coalesce, till at last the whole stem becomes hollow. The
parenchyma is compact, but not thick, and does not change colour when
cut. The spores white, round, and very abundant. The _taste_ sweet and
nutty. _Odour_ none.

This excellent fungus, which Vittadini pronounces to be not surpassed
for fineness of flavour by _Am. Cæsarea_ or by _B. edulis_, with either
of which it is equally wholesome, has been introduced by Roques into the
houses of many of his friends in the environs of Paris, some of whom
prefer it to _Ag. campestris_: an opinion shared by several of our own
friends on this side the Channel. It grows in great abundance during
the summer months generally, and this year nowhere more plentifully
than under the Elm-trees in Kensington Gardens. There must be no delay
in dressing it, otherwise insects, who are as fond of it as we are,
appropriate it to their larvæ, which in a few hours will utterly consume
it; the flesh, being very tender, requires but slight cooking.

_Agaricus ruber_, Schœffer. _Ag. griseus_, Persoon.

    “L’Agarico Rosso è uno dei funghi più delicati e gustosi che si

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ rather fleshy, at first hemispherical, then
obtusely convex, and, when fully expanded, more or less excavated towards
the centre. The margins at first even, at length tuberculo-sulcate, that
is, marked with lines similar to those left on the skin after cupping.
The epidermis dry in dry weather, but very sticky in moist, of various
hues, tawny-purple, olive-green, ochraceous-yellow, or several of these
united, and generally darkest at the centre; peeling off readily without
laceration of the flesh. The flesh white, when cut slightly rufescent,
when dry cream-coloured. The _gills_ fragile, cream-coloured, connected
below by transverse plaits or veins, thick and broad, but tapering away
towards the stalk, really simple, though a few imperfect gills interposed
between the entire ones, and attaching themselves to their sides give
these sometimes the appearance of being forked; the _stalk_ equal, white,
or blotched here and there with purple stains, stuffed, brittle, and
Vittadini adds, “long,” which is not my experience of it; when young it
is so short as to be entirely hid by the globose head of the unexpanded
pileus. The flesh inconsiderable but compact; _sporules_ pale-buff.

The _Ag. ruber_, the _Colombo rossa_ of the Tuscans, and _Rother
Täubling_ of Schœffer, is a complete _wood_-pigeon in its haunts; it
grows very abundantly, may be gathered from July to a very late period in
the autumn, and is as delicate and light of digestion as the _Russula_
last described. It may be readily distinguished from _Ag. alutaceus_
by the different colour of its gills and spores, which in that species
are buff, but in the _Ag. ruber_ cream-coloured: moreover the greater
thickness of the substance of the pileus of _Ag. alutaceus_, the margin
of which is deeply sulcate, even at an early period of its development,
and the pungent acrid taste, which is seldom wanting, are further means
of distinguishing it from _Ag. ruber_. _Ag. emeticus_ differs from it in
having unequal snow-white gills, and in extreme acrimony of taste.

_Agaricus virescens_, Schœff.: the Verdette? _Ag. bifidus_, Bull.
_Russula æruginosa_, Persoon.

    “La carne di questo Agarico è tenera e di sapore

_Pileus_ at first flatly convex; at length depressed towards the centre
with an even margin; epidermis whitish, fibrous, continuous and firmly
adhering to the flesh, dry, but coated over with a thick stratum of
opaque meal, which gradually breaking as the pileus expands maps it in
a singular and quite characteristic manner with a series of irregular
polygonal figures, in greater or less relief according to the thickness
of the coating; its colour varies slightly but is generally made up of
some admixture of green and yellow, communicating to the surface, as
Bulliard has remarked, a farinaceous or mouldy appearance. The _gills_
of some thickness, very brittle, white, sublanceolate, generally simple,
but occasionally forked, the imperfect gills interspersed without order
amongst the entire ones; the _stalk_ equal, short, its centre stuffed
with cottony fibres: somewhat compact and elastic. According to Thore, as
quoted by Persoon, this Agaric may be cultivated.[169]

It is an exceedingly delicate fungus, but not very common in England.
The best way of cooking it, according to Vittadini, is on the gridiron;
the peasants about Milan are in the habit of putting it over wood embers
to toast, eating it afterwards with a little salt, in which way it has a
savoury smell, and a taste like that of the _Cancer astacus_; when fresh
it is without odour, but acquires a very strong one while drying, which
he compares to that of salt meat. Mr. Berkeley quotes Roques’ authority
as to its being eaten in France; Vittadini, without giving any authority,
states that it is eaten in England. It loses but little of its volume in


_Agaricus alutaceus_, Persoon.

Three acrid _Russulæ_ remain to be described, _Ag. alutaceus_, _Ag.
emeticus_, _Ag. sanguineus_; all three common, though not perhaps
so common as the mild ones, and all to be avoided. The first, _A.
alutaceus_, Fries, is ranked by Vittadini among the safe kinds, he even
affixes a misplaced note of admiration after his epithet “esculentus!”
and describes it even when raw as “a dainty food, possessed of a most
agreeable flavour.”

Mr. Berkeley, who reports it esculent when _young_, remarks that
individual specimens occur, which prove almost as acrid as the _Ag.
emeticus_ itself; my own experience of it in England is, that whether
young or old, it is always acrid when raw.[170] I have never tried
it dressed, which might possibly extract its noxious qualities, as
Vittadini reports to have been the case with a caustic variety which
he subjected to this test; but since even then, on his own showing,
it proved indigestible, I would advise no one to try this species,
especially when there are so many others, the good qualities of which are

It is easy to distinguish _A. alutaceus_ from any of the foregoing
species; to do this it is only necessary to look at the gills, which, in
place of being, as in these, white, watery white, or cream-coloured, are
of a rich buff; _pileus_ about three inches broad, pink or livid olive,
smooth on the surface, and viscid in wet weather; the margin at first
even, but in age striate; the _gills_ broad, equal, slightly forked,
ventricose, free, connected by veins; the _sporules_ rich buff; the
_stem_ one and a half inches long, blunt, surface longitudinally wrinkled
or grooved, solid without, spongy within, varying from white to buff.

_Agaricus emeticus_, Schœffer.

Reports concerning the qualities of this fungus differ widely, some
asserting it to be a most deleterious species, of which the mischief was
not to be removed by cooking, whilst others, on the authority of dogs
whom they persuaded to eat some, pronounced it innoxious. In this state
of uncertainty Vittadini, for the sake of science, and peradventure of
adventure also, determined to test its effects upon himself; he had
previously given at different times large doses, of from six to twelve
ounces, to dogs, both in the crude state and also cooked; but without
result. “Still,” says he,[171] “thinking that though dogs might eat
_Ag. emeticus_ with impunity, it might yet prove injurious to man, I
took five specimens of fair dimensions, and having fried, I ate them
with the usual condiments; but though pains were taken to have them
delicately prepared (_oltimamente cucinati_), they still retained their
acrid bitter taste, and were most distasteful to the palate.” The reader
will be glad to learn, that the only inconvenience suffered by this
bold self-experimentalist was a slight sense of præcordial uneasiness
accompanied with flatulence,—effects attributable entirely, as he
believed, to the rich mode in which his dish was prepared: though, more
timid apparently for others’ safety than his own, he particularly adds,
“though I have clearly established to my own satisfaction, the complete
innocuousness of the _A. emeticus_; still, as there are, or are said to
be, other _Russulæ_ of highly deleterious properties and closely allied,
the mistaking which for it might be paid for by the loss of life, the
safer rule is to abstain from all such as have acrid juices.”

The botanical characters of _Ag. emeticus_ are as follow:—

Pileus more or less rosy, flesh compact, margin striate, epidermis
adherent; _gills_ very brittle, arched in front, attenuated towards
the stalk, connected below by transverse plaits, generally simple, a
few forked, the imperfect gills rounded off behind; the _stalk_, which
is compact, of equal dimensions, and white, is generally more or less
stained with red spots of the same hue as the pileus; in the growing
fungus, where the epidermis has been removed and the flesh eaten by
insects, this soon acquires a tint as lively as that of the skin itself;
generally I have remarked that the erosions of insects and slugs do _not_
produce any change of colour, even in the species notorious under other
circumstances for manifesting such a change; thus the flesh of the _Ag.
rubescens_, which turns red when it is divided, may be frequently seen
half eaten through, exhibiting a white flesh; and the same is the case
with the _Boletus luridus_, the flesh of which, though eroded, remains
white till it is broken through.

_Ag. sanguineus_, Bull.

This fungus, of which the general facies and most of the botanical
characters, as well as the taste and other qualities, are similar to
those of the last-mentioned Agaric, differs from it in having its gills
for the most part forked, many smaller ones being interposed between
those that are entire, also in _not_ having its margin striate, as the
_Ag. emeticus_ when moderately expanded always has. The smell of this
fungus, which is only developed in drying, is, according to Vittadini,
“most agreeable,” resembling that of fresh meal; to me its odour is
unpleasant and like that of sour paste.

_Ag. acris minor._

_Pileus_ one or two inches across, sticky, of a light muddy-pink, the
_epidermis_ peeling off easily and entire from the flesh, margin not
striate, flesh soft, white, and cellular; _gills_ adnate, white, forked,
brittle, slightly ventricose; the margin subdenticulate; the _stalk_ of
spermaceti-whiteness and appearance, solid within, brittle, the internal
texture looser than the external; the surface minutely rugulose, 1¼-1½
inch, by 2-4 lines thick, intensely acrid. In meadows, throughout the
summer; abundant.



Subgenus PLEUROPUS, Persoon. Subdivision CONCHARIA, _Fries_.

    “L’Ag. ostreato viene giustamente per la sua bontà ed innocenza
    amesso tra i funghi commestibili, de’ quali è pure permessa la
    vendita sulle pubbliche piazze.”—_Vitt._

_Bot. Char._ Cæispitose.[172] _Pileus_ fleshy, smooth, blackish, then
cinereous, at length paler; epidermis strongly adherent, flesh fibrous,
moderately firm; _gills_ anastomosing behind, not glandular, white;
_stem_ sublateral or wanting. On dead trees.[173] Season, spring and

As there are some singular differences presented by this fungus in regard
to development, odour, taste, and the colour of the spores, which seem
almost sufficient to entitle it to be divided into two distinct species,
I shall first describe the more ordinary form, as given by Mr. Berkeley,
and then mention the variations from it.

“Imbricated, large; _pileus_ subdimidiate, very thick and fleshy; flesh
white, dusky towards the surface; one inch deep, the border at first
fibrillose; margin involute, as the pileus expands the white fibrillæ
vanish, and the colour changes to bistre; margin paler and rimulose, the
whole surface shining and satiny when dry, soft and clammy when moist;
_gills_ broad, here and there forked,”[174] standing out sharp and erect
like the fine flutings of a column, winding down the stalk to different
lengths, and those that reach the bottom forming there a beautiful
raised meshwork highly characteristic of this species, “_dirty_ (pure?)
white, the edge serrated, umber; _taste_ and _smell_ like that of _Ag.
personatus_, which it resembles somewhat in colour;” “_spores_ white like
those of the _Polyporus suaveolens_.”[175] The points of difference in
those which departed from the ordinary type were as follows:[176]—first,
in specimens growing close together and all equally exposed to the light,
the colour of all at the same period of growth was not the same, being a
delicate waxy-white in some of the specimens, in others, a light-brown.
Secondly, whereas this fungus is generally “invested during infancy
with a _white lanugo or down_,”[177] I observed the young Agarics,
which presented themselves at first as small semitransparent eminences
rising irregularly from a common stalk, and not unlike in appearance
the blisters on a chalcedony, to be thickly coated with a light-blue
varnish in place of it; the dry _débris_ of which varnish continued to
adhere to the surface of the pileus for some time afterwards. Thirdly,
the complexion of the spores, commonly described as _white_, was in these
specimens pale-rose. Fourthly, they exhaled the strong and peculiar
odour of Tarragon; and, finally, in place of being the delicate fungus
at table which in July I had always found it, these specimens afforded
a distasteful food. The _Ag. ostreatus_ resists cold in a remarkable
manner; the circumstance of its being found in winter has procured for
it the trivial name of Gelon. _Ag. ostreatus_ is found on the barks of
many sorts of trees, and wherever it has once been it is apt to recur
frequently afterwards. It may be dressed in any of the more usual ways;
but as the flesh is rather over-solid and tenacious, it is all the better
for being cooked leisurely over a slow fire.


PLATE XI. FIGS. 3, 4, AND 5.

Subgenus 1. AMANITA.

    “Non altrimenti del Cesareo delicato e sano.”—_Vitt._

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ covered with warts of different sizes; margins
even, convex, flesh turns obscurely red when cut or bruised, slightly
moist and shining; _gills_ attenuated behind; _stem_ at first stuffed, in
age becoming hollow, bulbous, sometimes scaly; _ring_ wide, marked with
striæ; _spores_ nearly elliptical; _smell_ strong; _taste_ not unpleasant.

This is a very delicate fungus, which grows in sufficient abundance to
render it of importance in a culinary point of view. It makes excellent
ketchup. Cordier reports it as one of the most delicate mushrooms of the
Lorraine; and Roques speaks equally well of it. It generally grows in
woods, particularly of oak and chestnut, both in summer and autumn. No
fungus is more preyed upon than this by mice, snails, and insects.



Tribe 3. MITRATI.


    “Sommamente ricercata,”—_Vitt._

Every one knows the Morell, that expensive luxury which the rich are
content to procure at great cost from our Italian warehouses, and
the poor are fain to do without. It is less generally known that
this fungus, though by no means so common with us as some others, (a
circumstance partly attributable to the prevailing ignorance as to
when and where to look for it, or even of its being indigenous to
England,[178]) occurs not unfrequently in our orchards and woods, towards
the beginning of summer. Roques reports favourably of some specimens sent
to him by the Duke of Athol; and others, from different parts of the
country, occasionally find their way into Covent Garden market. The genus
_Morchella_ comprises very few species, and they are all good to eat.
Persoon remarks, that though the Morell rarely appears in a sandy soil,
preferring a calcareous or argillaceous ground, it frequently springs up
on sites where charcoal has been burnt or where cinders have been thrown.

_Morchella esculenta._

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ very various in shape and hue, the surface broken
up into little sinuses or cells, made by folds or plaits of the hymenium,
which are more or less salient, and constitute the so-called ribs. These
_ribs_ are very irregular, and anastomose with each other throughout;
the pileus hollow, opening into the irregular hollow stem. _Spores_

_Morchella semilibera._

_Bot. Char._ This may be known from the _M. esculenta_ by being, as its
name imports, half free, _i. e._ having the pileus for half its length
detached from the stalk. Spores are pale-yellow. Odour, at first feeble,
becomes stronger in drying. Occurring less frequently than the last, and
much less sapid. Neither of these funguses should be gathered after rain,
as they are then insipid and soon spoil.[179]

M. Roques says the Morell may be dressed in a variety of ways, both fresh
and dry, with butter or in oil, _au gras_ or _à la crême_. The following
receipts for cooking them are from Persoon.

1st. Having washed and cleansed them from the earth which is apt to
collect between the plaits, dry thoroughly in a napkin, and put them
into a saucepan with pepper, salt, and parsley, adding or not a piece of
ham; stew for an hour, pouring in occasionally a little broth to prevent
burning; when sufficiently done, bind with the yolks of two or three
eggs, and serve on buttered toast.

2nd. _Morelles à l’Italienne._—Having washed and dried, 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 till the juice runs out; then thicken with a little flour; serve
with bread-crumbs and a squeeze of lemon.

3rd. _Stuffed Morells._—Choose the freshest and whitest Morells, open the
stalk at the bottom; wash and wipe them well, fill with veal stuffing,
anchovy, or any rich _farce_ you please, securing the ends, and dressing
between thin slices of bacon. Serve with a sauce like the last.[180]



Subgenus MESOPUS, _Fries_.

    “The general use made of this fungus throughout France, Italy,
    and Germany leaves no doubt as to its good qualities.”—_Roques._

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ fleshy, tawny, red, smoothly tomentose, very
irregular in shape, from two to five inches across, lobed or undulated;
margin vaulted, acute, wavy; flesh white, turning yellow when cut, if
bruised becoming brown-red; _spines_ pale-yellow, unequal, thick-set,
apices canino-denticulate or conical, straight or slightly ungulate;
occasionally bifid; shorter and more obtuse towards the stalk, on
the upper part of which they are somewhat decurrent, leaving small
foraminules when detached; _stem_ at first white, then tawny; two inches
long, solid, of variable thickness (from half an inch to two inches) more
or less flattened, papillated above with the rudiments of spines which
have aborted; _spores_ round, white, _taste_ when raw at first pleasant,
but presently of a saline bitter, like Glauber salts, somewhat peppery,
and _smell_ like that of horse-radish.

This fungus occurs principally in woods, and especially in those of
pine and oak; sometimes solitary, but more frequently in company and
in rings. In Italy (where the spines have procured for it the name of
“Steccherino,” or Hedgehog), it is brought into the market and sold
promiscuously with the Chantarelle, to which in colour and in some other
respects it bears a resemblance. There is no fungus with which this
is likely to be confounded; once seen, it is recognized at a glance
afterwards, and may be gathered fearlessly.

According to Paulet, Persoon, and Vittadini, the _Hyd. repandum_ should
be cooked for a long time, and with plenty of sauce, otherwise, being
deficient in moisture, it is apt to become rather tough; when well stewed
it is an excellent dish, with a slight flavour of oysters; it makes also
a very good _purée_. Vittadini places it among the most delicate of the
funguses of Italy.



    “Fungus pauperibus esculentus.”—_Schœff._

This fungus, which, in the earlier stages of its development, frequently
resembles very closely a tongue in shape, structure, and general
appearance, presents later a dark, amorphous, grumous-looking mass,
bearing a still more striking likeness to liver. Thus, seen while young,
and just beginning to bud out from the oak,[181] its papillated surface,
regular shape, and clear fibrous flesh make it an object of interest to
many who, introduced to it at an advanced period of growth, can hardly
be brought to believe that the blackened misshapen mass, that looks
like liver, and that deeply stains the fingers with an unsightly red
fluid, can indeed be the same plant. It has, from the earliest-recorded
accounts, been designated by names pointing to these resemblances:
Cesalpinus calls it _Linguæ_; Wallemb, _Buglossus quercinus_; the
vulgar name in Italy is “Lingua quercina,” or “Lingua di castagna.” It
constitutes a genus by itself.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ confluent with the stalk: at first studded on the
upper side with minute papillæ (the rudiments of tubes), which afterwards
disappear; flesh succulent, fibrous, like beetroot in appearance, with
a vinous smell and a slight acid taste; _tubes_ continuous with the
fibres of the receptacle, unequal, very short, small, cylindrical,
ochraceous-rufescent; at first with closed pores, but as they elongate
they become patent; colour at first a dry dusky white, afterwards a
yellowish-red; the whole surface more or less sticky, with a gelatinous
secretion exuding from it; _sporidia_ ochraceous-green, and matured
at different times from the unequal length of the tubes. This fungus
varies in size from that of a small kidney to an irregular mass of many
pounds’ weight, and of several feet in circumference. I recently picked
a specimen which measured nearly five feet round, and weighed upwards of
eight pounds; but this is nothing to one found by Mr. Graves, which, on
the authority of Mr. Berkeley, weighed nearly thirty pounds.

The _Fistulina hepatica_, which Schœffer calls the Poor Man’s fungus,
“fungus pauperibus esculentus,” deserves indeed the epithet if we look
to its abundance, which makes it an acquisition to the labouring class
wherever it is known; but that it is in any other sense fitted for the
poor, or to be eaten by those only who can purchase no other food, is
what I cannot subscribe to. No fungus yields a richer gravy, and though
rather tough, when grilled it is scarcely to be distinguished from
broiled meat. The best way to dress it if old, is to stew it down for
stock, and reject the flesh, but if young, it may be eaten in substance,
plain, or with minced meat; in all cases its succulency is such that
it furnishes its own sauce, which a friend of ours, well versed in the
science of the table, declares each time he eats it to be “undeniably

In England the _F. hepatica_ grows principally on old oak-trees, and may
be found throughout the summer in great abundance.



Section MOUCERON, _Fries_.

    “Senza dubbio uno de’ migliori funghi indigeni.”—_Vitt._


This is a very delicate mushroom; it grows either solitary or in company,
and sometimes in rings, succeeding occasionally a crop of _Ag. oreades_
and _Ag. prunulus_ which had recently occupied the same site. Its general
appearance, once recognized, is such as to render the mistaking it for
any other species afterwards unlikely, whilst the least attention to
its botanical characters makes it impossible to do so. Its irregular
lobed pileus with smooth undulated borders, its decurrent gills, and
short solid stem are so many particulars in which at first it might seem
to resemble in outline the _Canth. cib._, with which it has, however,
nothing else in common. It bears a nearer general resemblance to several
of the section _Lactifluus_ of Persoon, but the exudation, or not, of
milk would be conclusive in any doubtful case, to say nothing of its
peculiar smell of cucumber rind, or syringa leaf,[183] in which respect
it resembles no other fungus. The surface is as soft and smooth to the
touch as kid, except in wet weather, when it becomes more or less
sticky; the size, which does not admit of much variation, is from two to
three inches across; whilst young the borders are rolled inwards towards
the gills, the stalk is in the centre, and somewhat enlarged at the
base; but as the fungus grows the borders unroll themselves, one side
grows more rapidly than the other, the stalk becomes, in consequence,
eccentric, and this eccentricity is often rendered greater by a lateral
twist towards the base. The gills, which at first are white, assume later
a pale salmon hue; Berkeley adds that “they are more or less forked,
covered with very minute conical papillæ ending in four spiculæ;” those
that are entire taper away posteriorly and terminate on the stalk, but
the imperfect ones are rounded off midway; the spores are elliptic, and
of the colour of brown-holland.[184]

This mushroom is found occasionally, throughout the summer, but autumn is
the season to look for it, amidst the grass of woods and pastures, where
it abounds. It should be eaten the day it is gathered, either stewed,
broiled, or fried with egg and bread-crumbs, like cutlets. When dried, it
loses much of its volume and acquires “a very sweet smell,”—“un’ aroma
suavissimo” (_Vitt._).



Tribe MITRATI, _Fries_.

    “Può essere con vantaggio raccolta ed agli stessi usi delle
    spugniole destinata.”—_Vitt._

All _Helvellæ_ are esculent, have an agreeable odour, and bear a general
resemblance in flavour to the _Morell_. The _Helvella crispa_, or pallid
Helvella of Scopoli and Fries, is, it seems, “not uncommon,”[185] and the
_Helvella lacunosa_, or cinereous Helvella of Afzel (on each of whose
heads respectively Sowerby and Schœffer place an _inappropriate_ mitre),
are both indigenous. They are thus succinctly but excellently described
by Mr. Berkeley.

_Helvella crispa_, Fries.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ whitish, flesh-coloured or yellowish, deflexed,
lobed, free, crisped, pallid; _stem_ fistulose, costato-lacunose, 3-5
inches high, snowy-white, deeply lacunose and ribbed, the _ribs_ hollow.

_Helvella lacunosa_, Afzel.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ inflated, lobed, cinereous,[186] lobes deflexed,
adnate, stem fistulose, costato-lacunose; _stem_ white or dusky.

This _Helvella_ is not so common as the last, neither is it so sapid.
They both grow in woods and on the stumps of old trees. Bendiscioli
places them, for flavour, before the _Morell_, but this is not the
general opinion entertained of them.

_Helvella esculenta_, Pers.


_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ inflated, irregular, undulated, gyroso-rugose, of
a rich dark-brown colour, margin united with the stem; _stem_ white or
dusky. In plantations of fir and chestnut adjoining Weybridge Heath, in
Surrey. It has not yet been found elsewhere in Britain.




These funguses are very similar in their properties to the _Helvellæ_;
that is, are not to be despised when one cannot get better, nor to be
eaten when one can. “The _Verpa_,” says Vittadini, “though sold in the
market, is only to be recommended when no other esculent fungus offers,
which is sometimes the case in spring.” The _Peziza acetabulum_ is
utterly insipid, and depends entirely for flavour upon the sauce in
which it is served. As they are rare in England, I shall merely give the
botanical character of each.

_Verpa digitaliformis_, Persoon.

_Pileus_ campanulate, three-quarters of an inch high, more or less
closely pressed to the stem, but always free, wrinkled, but not
reticulated, under side slightly pubescent, _sporidia_ yellowish,
elliptic, _stem_ three inches high, half an inch thick, equal or slightly
attenuated downwards, loosely stuffed, by no means hollow, transversely
squamulose.[187] Season, spring.

_Peziza acetabulum_, Linn. Series _Aleuria_, Section _Helvella_, Fries.

_Bot. Char._ Deeply cup-shaped, two inches broad, one and a half deep,
externally floccose, light-umber, darker within, mouth puckered,
tough; _stem_ half to one inch high, smooth, deeply but irregularly
costato-lacunose, ribs solid “branching at the top and forming
reticulations on the outside of the cup, so as to present the appearance
of a cluster of pillars supporting a font or roof, with fret-work between
them” (_Berkeley_). Season, spring.



There are many species of _Polyporus_ eaten on the Continent; among the
more common kinds to be mentioned are _P. frondosus_ and _P. tuberaster_,
Persoon, _P. corylinus_, Mauri, _P. subsquamosus_, Pers., _P. giganteus_,
ibid., _P. fomentarius_, ibid., which last is the Amadou, or German
tinder fungus. Two of these are local; the _P. tuberaster_, which occurs
principally in the kingdom of Naples, and the _P. corylinus_ or that of
the cob-nut tree, which (though it might perhaps be cultivated elsewhere)
is at present restricted to Rome; both these are excellent for food.

As to the _Polyporus squamosus_, which is as common in England as
abroad, in substance it cannot be masticated, and its expressed juice
is exceedingly disagreeable; I should not think the _P. fomentarius_,
to judge from its texture, promised much better; nor _P. giganteus_, of
which the flesh is sometimes so tough as to creak under the knife.

The true _P. frondosus_ is probably rare in England, that which I have
met with and have had cooked, without being able to say much in its
favour, is the _P. intybaceus_ of Fries, which Mr. Berkeley says is
distinguished from the other by having larger pores. Vittadini has not
included it among the esculent funguses in his work; Persoon does not
recommend it for weak stomachs on account of its toughness.[188] Paulet,
indeed, is of a different opinion, telling us that in place of its being
heavy for the stomach, _he_ will feel all the lighter who sups upon it.
The people in the Vosges seem to have an equal affection for it with this
writer, giving it the somewhat whimsical, though really most graphic
_sobriquets_ of the Hen-of-the-Woods and the Breeding Hen (Mougeot).
Professor Sanguinetti informs me that it sells for six or seven baiocchi
in the Roman market, the finer specimens being sent as surprise presents,
“per meraviglia,” from poor tenants to hard landlords.

_Bot. Char._ “_Pilei_ very numerous, dimidiate, condensed into a convex
tuft from half a foot to a foot broad, imbricated, variously confluent,
irregular, at first downy, dusky, then smooth, livid grey; disk
depressed, dilated above, from half to one inch broad, convex, the base
confluent with the compound stem” (_Fries_).



Subgenus OCHROSPOREA, _Fries_.

    “Esculenta deliciosa.”—_Vitt._

All the funguses of this genus being esculent, enter more or less largely
into the supplies of the Italian markets. Roques describes seven species;
Persoon five; Vittadini gives a detailed account and drawings of three,
selecting those principally for the superiority of their flavour over the
rest, and because of their greater abundance in the Milanese district.
Mr. Berkeley, in a list with which he has favoured me, enumerates
four British species as esculent, _C. coralloides_, _C. grisea_, _C.
cristata_, and _C. rugosa_; as, however, he has no personal experience
of any of these as articles of food, I shall merely give the botanical
character of the _C. coralloides_, the most abundant of all the species
(for the excellent qualities of which I can myself vouch), furnishing the
reader with one or two drawings of other sorts, in further illustration
of this elegant genus.

_Clavaria coralloides._

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ erect, white; _stem_ rather thick, branches
unequal, elongated, mostly acute, pure white, sometimes violet at the

_Mode of Dressing._

Having thoroughly cleansed away the earth, which is apt to adhere to
them, they are to be sweated with a little butter, over a slow fire,
afterwards to be strained, then (throwing away the liquor) to be replaced
to stew for an hour, with salt, pepper, chopped chives and parsley,
moistening with plain stock, and dredging with flour occasionally. When
sufficiently cooked, to be thickened with yolks of eggs and cream.

_Another Mode._

Proceed as before; after sweating the _Clavarias_, wrap them in bacon and
stew in a little broth seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, and ham; cook
for an hour, then serve in white sauce, or with a _fricassée_ of chicken.

N.B.—The saucepan should be covered with a sheet of paper under the lid,
which keeps the _Clavarias_ white and also preserves their flavour.

There can be little doubt that our woods, properly explored, would be
found to abound in funguses hitherto considered rare, and this would
probably be one of them. At present the weald of Kent, within forty miles
of London, remains, so far as Mycology is concerned, nearly as unexplored
as the interior of Africa.

Plate V. fig. 2, represents _Clavaria amethystina_, Bull. Plate V. fig.
5, represents _C. cinerea_, Bull. Plate V., fig. 6, represents _C.
rugosa_, Bull.



Subdivision GASTEROMYCETES, _Fries_.



    “Il Licoperdo piombino è uno dei funghi mangiativi più delicati
    che si conoscano. Il suo uso è pressochè generale.”—_Vitt._

All these more or less spherical white funguses furnished with a
membranaceous covering, and filled when young with a white, compact,
homogeneous pulp, which we call Puff-balls, are good to eat; those in
most request for the table abroad, and the best, have no stem, _i. e._
no sterile base, but are prolific throughout their whole substance. One
of the most common of these is the _Lycoperdon plumbeum_, of which the
following excellent description is chiefly taken from Vittadini.

_Bot. Char._ Body globose; when full-grown about the size of a walnut,
invested with two[189] tunics, the outer one white, loosely membranaceous
and fragile, sometimes smooth, at others furfuraceous; the innermost one
(peridium) very tenacious, smooth, of a grey-lead colour externally,
internally more or less shaggy with very fine hairs; these hairs occupy
the whole cavity, and in the midst of them a prodigious number of minute
granular bodies, the sporules (each of which is furnished with a long
caudiform process), lie entangled. The whole plant, carefully removed
from the earth, with its root still adhering, is in form not unlike one
of its own seeds vastly magnified.

The _L. plumbeum_ abounds in dry places, and is to be found in spring,
summer, and autumn, solitary or in groups. “This,” says Vittadini, “is
one of our commonest Puff-balls, and after the warm rains of summer
and of autumn, myriads of these little plants suddenly springing up
will often completely cover a piece of ground as if they had been sown
like grain, for a crop; if we dig them up we shall find that they are
connected with long fragile threads, extending horizontally underground
and giving attachment to numerous smaller Puff-balls in different stages
of development, which, by continuing to grow, afford fresh supplies as
the old ones die off.”


Subdivision GASTEROMYCETES, _Fries_.


    “Vescie buone da friggere” (Tuscan vernacular name).

    “La sua carne candida compatta si presta facilemente a tutte le
    speculazioni del cuoco.”—_Vitt._

This differs from the last-mentioned Puff-ball in many particulars;
in the first place it is much larger (sometimes attaining to vast
dimensions), its shape is different, being that of an inverted cone;
never globular, the flesh also is more compact, while the membrane which
holds what is first the pulp and afterwards the seed, is very thin and
tender; the seed, moreover, has no caudal appendage; and finally, a
considerable portion of the base is sterile, in all which additional
particulars it is unlike the _Lycoperdon plumbeum_. The plant is sessile,
a purple-black fragile membrane contains the spores, which are also
sessile,[190] and of the same colour as the peridium.

No fungus requires to be eaten so soon after gathering as this; a few
hours will destroy the compactness of the flesh and change its colour
from delicate-white to dirty-yellow;[191] but when perfectly fresh and
properly prepared, it yields to no other in digestibility. It may be
dressed in many ways, but the best method is to cut it into slices and
fry these in egg and bread-crumbs; so prepared, it has the flavour of a
rich, light omelette.[192]



Subgenus 3. AMILLARIA.

This is a nauseous, disagreeable fungus, however cooked, and merely finds
mention here, as its omission in a work on the esculent funguses of
England might seem strange to those unacquainted with its demerits; it is
really extraordinary how some Continental writers, speaking from their
own experience, should ever have recommended it for the table. Pliny’s
general _apage_ against all funguses really finds an application to this,
which is so repugnant to our notions of the savoury, that few would
make a second attempt, or get dangerously far in a first dish. Not to
be poisonous is its only recommendation; for as to the inviting epithet
_melleus_, or honeyed, by which it is designated, this alludes only to
the colour, and by no means to the taste, which is both harsh and styptic.

_Bot. Char._ In tufts, near or upon stumps of trees, or posts. Pileus
dirty-yellow, more or less hairy; _stem_ fibrous, varying greatly in
length, from one inch to nine or ten; enlarged above and below, thinner
in the middle; _ring_ thick, spreading, rough or leathery; _gills_
somewhat decurrent, deeper than the pileus; _spores_ white, appearing
like fine dust on the gills.


Subgenus PLEUROPUS. Subdivision ÆGERITARIA.

    “Fungo mangiativo sommamente ricercato e di ottima

_Bot. Char._ Solitary or connected to others by a common root; the
_pileus_ presenting a dirty-white surface, turning afterwards to a pale
rust-colour, and sometimes tessellated; varying like all parasitical
funguses in shape, but generally more or less orbicular; flesh continuous
with the stalk, white, compact; _stalk_ very thick, solid, elastic,
smooth towards the summit, tomentose at the base; _gills_ of a yellowish
tint, broad, thick, ventricose, emarginate, _i. e._ terminating upon the
surface of the stem in a receding angle; the imperfect gills few; _taste_
and _smell_ agreeable; _spores_ white.

This Agaric which takes its name from the tree where it is most commonly
found, grows also, though less frequently, on the Poplar and Beech.
Mr. Berkeley reports it rare; perhaps, however, as it is eminently
local, it may here, as in Italy, be common in some places though of
unfrequent general occurrence. No country being so rich in Elm-trees as
our own, we should probably find _A. ulmarius_ more often if the height
at which it grows among the branches did not frequently screen it from
observation.[193] Though registered in the Flora of Tunbridge Wells, I
have not met with a single specimen of it this autumn.

This Agaric dries well and may be kept (not, however, without losing some
of its aroma) for a long time without spoiling; the gills, after a time,
assume the same hue as the pileus.



    “Il a le même goût quo le Champignon de Couche, quoique un peu
    plus prononcé.”—_Persoon._

_Bot. Char._ Gregarious; _pileus_ fleshy, loose, of a uniform brown
colour, sometimes marked with dark blotches, as if burnt; _gills_ nearly
free, serrated, at first dirty-white, afterwards a clear bistre; easily
separable from the stalk; _stalk_ hollow, ventricose, sulcate, rooting,
spindle-shaped, slightly grooved, tapering at the base, sometimes cracked
transversely, varying singularly both in length and breadth.

This excellent fungus is very abundant throughout summer and autumn,
coming up in tufts at the roots of old Oak-trees after rain. It may be
easily recognized by its peculiar spindle-shaped stalk.

Vittadini does not mention it, nor does its name occur in the list of
esculent funguses in the Diz. di Med. Class.; notwithstanding which the
young plants make an excellent pickle; while the full-grown ones may
be stewed or dressed in any of the usual modes adopted for the common


Series 1. LEUCOSPORUS. Subgenus 1. AMANITA.

    “La Coucoumèle grise (_Ag. vag._) est une des espèces les plus
    délicates et les plus sûres à manger.”—_De Candolle._

_Bot. Char_. “Margin of the pileus sulcate, gills white, stuffed with
cottony pith, fistulose, attenuated upwards, almost smooth; volva
like a sheath. Woods and pastures, August and October; not uncommon.
_Pileus_ four inches or more broad, plane, slightly depressed in the
centre, scarcely umbonate, fleshy, but not at the extreme margin, which
is elegantly grooved in consequence, viscid when moist, beautifully
glossy when dry; epidermis easily detached, more or less studded with
brown scales, the remnants of the volva, not persistent; _gills_ free,
ventricose, broadest in front, often imbricated, white; _sporules_ white,
round; _stem_ six inches or more high, from half to an inch thick,
attenuated upwards, obtuse at the base, furnished with a volva, this
adnate below to the extent of an inch, with the base of the stem, closely
surrounding it above as in a sheath, but with the margin sometimes
expanded; within and at the base marked with the groovings of the pileus,
brittle, sericeo-squamulose, scarcely fibrillose, but splitting with ease
longitudinally, hollow, or rather stuffed with fine cottony fibres; the
very base solid, not acrid, insipid. _Smell_ scarcely any. It occurs of
various colours, the more general one is a mouse-grey” (_Berkeley_).

The perfect accuracy of the above description will strike every one
familiar with this species. Vittadini speaks of it as a solitary fungus,
but I have found it on more than one occasion in rings. Its flesh, being
very delicate and tender, must not be over-dressed. When properly fried
in butter or oil, and as soon after gathering as possible, the _Ag.
vaginatus_ will be found inferior to but few Agarics in its flavour.


Subgenus 18. INOLOMA.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ from four to six inches broad, obtuse, expanded,
covered with soft hairs, colour deep violet; _stem_ spongy, grey, tinged
with violet, minutely downy, about four inches high; _veil_ fugacious,
composed of fine threads; _gills_ deep violet when young, but turning
tawny in age; _flesh_ thick, juicy.

This is a handsome fungus, not very common, but plentiful where it
occurs; it grows in woods, particularly under Pine and Fir trees, and may
be dressed either with a white or a brown sauce.


Subgenus 19. DERMOCYBE.

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ slightly fleshy, convex when young, at length
umbonate, chestnut colour, from one to three inches broad, glabrous;
_gills_ rather broad, easily detached from the stem, ventricose, changing
from light-purple to a ferruginous hue; _stem_ rather thin, from one
and a half to three inches long, hollow, silvery, light-lilac or white;
_veil_ delicate, composed of floccose threads; in _taste_, when raw, it
somewhat resembles the _Ag. oreades_, but it has no smell.

This _Agaric_ may be distinguished from others by its chestnut or bistre
colour; it is probably not uncommon; growing all the summer and autumn in
woods, and under trees in meadows. Mr. Berkeley reports it esculent; I
have no experience of it.


Subgenus 7. GALORRHEUS.

    “Ed è veramente commestibile e saporoso quando se ne levi il

_Bot. Char._ “_Pileus_ infundibuliform, rigid, smooth, white; gills
very narrow, close; milk, and the solid blunt stem, white. In woods,
July and August. _Pileus_ 3-7 inches broad, slightly rugulose, quite
smooth, white, a little clouded with umber, or stained with yellow
where scratched or bruised, convex, more or less depressed, often quite
infundibuliform, more or less waved, fleshy, thick, firm but brittle;
margin involute at first, sometimes excentric, milk-white, hot. _Gills_
generally very narrow (1/20 of an inch broad), but sometimes much
broader, cream-colour, repeatedly dichotomous, very close, ‘like the
teeth of an ivory comb,’ decurrent from the shape of the pileus, when
bruised changing to umber. _Stem_ 1-3 inches high, 1½-2 inches thick,
often compressed, minutely pruinose, solid, but spongy within, the
substance breaking up into transverse cavities.”[194]

Though very acrid when raw, it loses its bad qualities entirely by
cooking, and is extensively used on the Continent, prepared in various
ways. It is preserved for winter use by drying or pickling in a mixture
of salt and vinegar (_Berkeley_).

I have frequently eaten this fungus at Lucca, where it is very
abundant, but as it resembles the _Ag. vellereus_ in appearance, with
the properties of which we are unacquainted, too much caution cannot
be exercised in learning to discriminate it from this and neighbouring


Subgenus 8. CLITOCYBE. Subdivision CAMAROPHYLLI.

_White Field-Agaric._

_Bot. Char._ _Pileus_ from one to two inches broad, margin involute when
young, then expanded, depressed in the centre. _Gills_ deep, connected
with veins, sometimes forked, broadly adnate, but breaking away from the
stem as the pileus becomes depressed. _Stem_ six lines broad at the top,
tapering downwards, not more than two at the base; at first stuffed with
fibres, then hollow, excentric; the whole plant white, with occasionally
a tinge of pink. _Taste_ pleasant, odour disagreeable.

These graceful little Agarics grow in pastures, and are extremely common
in the autumn. They are so small that it requires a great many of them
to make a dish, but as they occur frequently in the same fields with
puff-balls, and may be dressed in the same manner, it is not unusual when
the supply is scarce to serve them together, with the same sauce. The
flavour of _Ag. virgineus_ is not unlike that of _Ag. oreades_.



Peridium warty, of a blackish-brown colour, the warts polygonal and
striate, flesh traversed by numerous veins; asci 4-6-spored; spores
elliptical, reticulated.

This plant, the common truffle of our markets, is abundant in Wiltshire
and some other parts of England, and probably occurs in many places where
it escapes observation, from its subterranean habit.


Italy is not the country for the English florist; he will find twenty
times as many petals at home. Trim parterres are not inventions of the
South; summer-houses would be no luxuries in a climate that never knows
winter; the only Conservatories that flourish there are not for flowers,
but for music. In few northern regions is Flora worse off for a bouquet
than at Rome or Naples; regarded merely as the herald of Spring and not
appreciated for her own sake, as soon as she has waved her wand over the
land and covered it with the March blossoms of Crocuses, Cyclamens, and
Anemones, her reign is over. All scents are held in equal abhorrence
save those of frankincense and garlic, for which there seems to be a
prescriptive toleration; but every other odour, fetid or fragrant,
musk[195] or mignonette, is equally proscribed; and an Italian Signora
would as soon permit a Locusta to cook for her, as a violet to scent
her boudoir. To pick wild flowers is as dangerous as it is difficult to
find cultivated ones; a _coup de soleil_ or a fever is easily procured
by imprudent exposure before sunset, while the interval between that
and night is too brief to be employed for the purpose; but when the
season for flowers is long past, and Autumn with her fruits is come
round again, when the stranger can wander forth where he lists without
an umbrella, he will be able to luxuriate amidst the lovely scenery,
and to delight himself in the natural history of the district: the
season of the periodical rains has ceased; the repose of the forest is
no longer troubled by the Power of the waters; the mountain Pines borne
for miles down into the valleys are stranded on the broad shingly bed
of the exhausted torrent; broken bridges are safely repaired; the maize
is receiving the last mellowing touches as it festoons the cottage
fronts, the prickly chestnut-pods are beginning to gape and the brown
chestnuts to leap out shining from their envelopes; the last reluctant
olive has been beaten from the bough; the vintage has nearly ceased to
bleed; night fires[196] already begin to nicker on the mountains, and
the hemp stubble is daily crackling on the plain. This is indeed the
time for enjoying Italy; nature has revived again, and with nature,
man. The feverish torpor, I had almost ventured to call it the summer
hybernation, has ceased with September, and Autumn has come round with
the vivifying influence of a new Spring; then if we go abroad to wander,
whether our walk be across plains or through upland woods, we shall not
stroll a mile without stopping a hundred times to admire what is to many
of us a nearly new class of objects which have sprung up suddenly and
now beset our path on every side. These are the Fungus tribe, which are
as beautiful as the fairest flowers, and more useful than most fruits;
and now that butchers’ meat is bad, that the beans have become stringy,
and the potatoes are hydrated by the rain, they appear thus opportunely
to eke out the scantiness of autumnal larders in the South and give a
fresh zest to the daily repast. Well may their sudden apparition surprise
us, for not ten days since the waters were all out, and only three or
four nights back peals of thunder rattled against the casements and kept
the most determined sleepers in awful vigil; and now—behold the meadows
by natural magic studded with countless fairy-rings of every diameter,
formed of such species as grow upon the ground, while the Chestnut and
the Oak are teeming with a new class of fruits that had no previous
blossoming, many of which have already attained their full growth. We
recollect with gratitude the objects of a pursuit, which has accidentally
brought us to such an acquaintance with the diversities of Italian
scenery as we never should have experienced without it. In fishing, it
is not the fish we catch, which alone repays us for our toil; it is the
wandering as the rivulet wanders, “at its own sweet will,” the exercise
and the appetite consequent upon it, the prize in natural history, the
reciting aloud, or reflecting as we walk, and when it is pleasantly warm
the “molles sub arbore somni,” which console us for the lack of sport.
On the same principle, mushroom-hunting may be recommended to the young
naturalist not only for the beauty of the objects which he is sure to
come upon (if he do but hunt at the right season), but also because in
that most beautiful of months, whether at home or abroad, it brings
the wanderer out of beaten paths to fall in with many striking views
which he would not otherwise have explored. The extremely limited time
during which funguses are to be found, their fragility, their infinite
diversity, their ephemeral existence, these, too, add to the interest
of an autumnal walk in quest of them. At Lucca, leaving idleness and
indigestion in bed, just as the sun was beginning to shoot his first
rays on the white convents and the spires of the village churches on the
mountains, making morning above, while the deep valley beneath was still
in twilight, it was pleasant to pass the little opening coffee-house
with its two or three candidates for early breakfast, and crossing the
noiseless trout-stream over the little bridge, to enter one of those old
chestnut-forests and begin clambering up the laddery pathway, to reach
the summit just as he poured his full effulgence on the magnificent
rival of the Lucchese and Modenese territories. Pleasant, too, was it
on the road Romeward, pausing a few days to enjoy the exquisite scenery
about Spoleto, to climb the steep streets to the cathedral, and thence,
passing the giddy viaduct several hundred feet above the white ravine
which it traverses, to issue upon those Nursian Hills then fragrant with
the breath of morning, “le beau matin qui sort humide et pâle,” and with
the scent of sweet herbs; but above all other hills renowned for the
fragrance of those ever-reproductive mines of coal-black subterranean
truffles! It is a pleasant remembrance to have plucked the crimson
Amanite, that ministered to a Cæsar’s decease, in the very neighbourhood
of the Palatine Hill; to have collected mushrooms amidst the meadows of
Horace’s farm, where he tells us they grew best; and to have watched
along the moist pastures of the Cremera a stand of the stately _Ag.
procerus_ nodding upon their stalks; or, standing on the heights above
Sorrento, just as the setting sun flashed upon the waters of the bay ere
they engulfed him, and left us to his sister the evening star, to have
come upon that wonderful _Polyporus tuberaster_ whose matrix is the hard
stone, from which it derives strength and luxuriance as if from a soft
and genial soil.

But not only in Italy, in our own country also, the Collector in Mycology
will have to traverse much beautiful and diversified scenery; amid
woods, greenswards, winding lanes, rich meadows, healthy commons, open
downs, the nodding hop-grove and the mountain sheep-path; and all shone
upon by an autumnal sunset,—as compared with Southern climes “obscurely
bright,” and unpreceded by that beautiful rosy tint which bathes the
whole landscape in Italy, but with a far finer background of clouds to
reflect its departed glories: and throughout all this range of scenery
he will never hunt in vain; indulgent gamekeepers, made aware of what
he is poaching, may warn him that he is not collecting mushrooms, but
will never warn him off from the best-kept preserves. In such rambles
he will see, what I have this autumn (1847) myself witnessed, whole
_hundredweights 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 potato blight, poverty and all manner of privations,
and public prayers against imminent famine. I have indeed grieved,
when I reflected on the straitened condition of the lower orders this
year, to see pounds innumerable of extempore beef-steaks growing on our
oaks in the shape of _Fistulina hepatica_; _Ag. fusipes_ to pickle, in
clusters under them; Puff-balls, which some of our friends have not
inaptly compared to sweet-bread for the rich delicacy of their unassisted
flavour; _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 kagathon_ of diet, growing
by the bushel, and no basket but our own to pick up a few specimens in
our way; the sweet nutty-flavoured _Boletus_, in vain calling himself
_edulis_ where there was none to believe him; the dainty _Orcella_; the
_Ag. heterophyllus_, which tastes like the craw-fish when grilled; the
_Ag. ruber_ and _Ag. virescens_, to cook in any way, and equally good
in all;—these were among the most conspicuous of the _trouvailles_. But
that the reader may know all he is likely to find in one single autumn,
let him glance at the catalogue below.[197] He may at first alarm his
friends’ cooks, but their fears will, I promise him, soon be appeased,
after one or two trials of this new class of viands, and he will not long
pass either for a conjuror or something worse, in giving directions to
stew _toadstools_. As soon as he is initiated in this class of dainties,
he will, I am persuaded, lose no time in making the discovery known
to the poor of the neighbourhood; 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.


On the authority of Link, Fries, Vittadini, and other Continental
mycologists, I have, in speaking of the spores of the genera _Agaricus_,
_Boletus_, _Cantharellus_, _Hydnum_, and _Clavaria_, represented them as
enclosed in cases (thecæ or sporanges). But from an interesting memoir,
published by Mr. Berkeley in the ‘Annals of Natural History,’ “On the
Fructification of the Pileate and Clavate tribes of Hymenomycetous
Fungi,” which I had not then perused, it would appear that this
arrangement only holds good with respect to _Pezizas_, _Helvellas_, and
_Morels_, and not with respect to the above-mentioned genera, the spores
of which are attached (generally in a quaternary and star form) to the
ends of tubes, to which Mr. Berkeley has given the name of _sporophores_;
a disposition which, as he observes, had been long ago pointed out by the
great Florentine mycologist, Micheli. M. Montagne, in his ‘Recherches
Anatomiques et Physiologiques sur l’Hymenium,’ while he confirms the fact
of a quaternary disposition of the spores in general, thinks that during
the _first_ stage of their development they are lodged _within_ the
sporiferous tubes, to the mouths of which they afterwards adhere by means
of short spiculæ or branchlets.

These, like all other questions connected with the minute reproductive
granules of funguses, require for their solution not only the most
dexterous manipulation and the aid of the finest modern microscopes, but
are likely even then to exercise the ingenuity of the curious.


[1] The word _seed_ here, or wherever else introduced into the present
work, is to be understood in its popular acceptation; correctly speaking,
spores differ from seeds in the absence of an apparent embryo; but in
a more catholic sense spores are seeds, since both are germinating
granules, producing each after their kind.

[2] At from twenty to thirty baiocchi, _i. e._ at about 1 _s._ 3 _d._ a

[3] The population of Rome is only 154,000; that of Naples, 360,000; and
that of Venice, 180,000.

[4] The Chinese present a striking contrast with ourselves in the
care which they bestow on their esculent vegetation. “Some days
since, M. Stanislas Julien presented to the Academy of Sciences, at
Paris, a Chinese work, which merits a word or two of notice in the
present circumstances of agricultural Europe. It is a treatise, in six
volumes, with plates, entitled ‘The Anti-Famine Herbal;’ and contains
the descriptions and representations of four hundred and fourteen
different plants, whose leaves, rinds, stalks, or roots are fitted to
furnish food for the people, when drought, ravages of locusts, or the
overflow of the great rivers have occasioned a failure of rice and
grain. Of this book the Chinese Government annually prints thousands,
and distributes them gratuitously in those districts which are most
exposed to natural calamities. Such an instance of provident solicitude
on the part of the Chinese Government for the suffering classes may be
suggestive here at home. A more general knowledge of the properties and
capabilities of esculent plants would be an important branch of popular
education.”—_Athenæum_, Nov. 16, 1846.

[5] There are three kinds of esculent funguses in Italy to which the
epithet _albus_ might apply, viz. the _Amanita alba_, of Persoon,
the _Lycoperdon Bovista_, Linn. (or common puff-ball), and _Agaricus
campestris_, Linn. (our common mushroom). The first kind grows in woods,
and the second in dry uncultivated spots, whereas Ovid mentions these in
conjunction with the Mallow (_Malva_), which grows in moist meadow-land;
it is probable, therefore, that he here alludes to the _Pratajolo_, or
meadow mushroom, or to that variety of it called from its whiteness
“boule de neige.”

[6] Etymol. _ad locum_.

[7] Well-fed domestic pigs, on the authority of a friend, refuse it; but
possibly, in the absence of full supplies of corn, they might be less

[8] Vittadini assures us that the “slips of dried boletus, sold on
strings, are as frequently from these kinds as from the _Boletus edulis_
itself; notwithstanding which, no accident was ever known to happen from
the indiscriminate use of either.”

[9] Dioscorides, who lived in the time of Nero, says that pigs dig up
“truffles” in spring. Matthiolus, in his commentaries, speaks of an
inferior, smooth-barked, red truffle known to the ancients, to which the
above remark of Dioscorides perhaps applies; certainly it does _not_
apply to the black truffle, which begins to come into the Roman market in
November, and is over long before the spring.

[10] The Thracians are said to have intended this same _misy_ under the
new epithet of κεραύνιον, as though it were produced by thunder, unless
indeed, as in Theoph. lib. i. cap. ix., we should read κρανίον, in which
case they meant the _Lycoperdon giganteum_, a fungus frequently as big
as, and in the form of, the human head: whence its name of _cranium_.

[11] Whoever has time to waste on the unprofitable speculations of the
ancients concerning the parentage of funguses, and would like so to waste
it, may consult Pliny, lib. xvi. cap. 8, lib. xxii. cap. 23; Hist. Nat.
Dioscorides, lib. iii. cap. 78; Athenæus, lib. ii. in the Deipnosophisti;
and after them Galen, Clusius, Portæ (Villæ, lib. x.), Imperato (Hist.
Nat.), etc. The first really philosophical treatise which ascribes their
origin, like that of other plants, to seeds, was published by Micheli, at
Florence, in 1720.

[12] Roques.

[13] Vittadini.

[14] ‘Trattati dei Funghi.’ Roma, 1804.

[15] Have not both the words _Tode_ and the stool called after him some
etymological, as they have undoubtedly a fanciful, connection with the
word _tod_, death?

[16] Juvenal.

[17] Few minute objects are more beautiful than certain of these
mucedinous _fungi fungorum_. A common one besets the back of some of
the _Russulæ_ in decay, spreading over it, especially if the weather be
moist, like thin flocks of light wool, presenting on the second day a
bluish tint on the surface. Under a powerful magnifier, myriads of little
glasslike stalks are brought into view, which bifurcate again and again,
each ultimate twig ending in a semilucent head, or button, at first blue,
and afterwards black; which, when it comes to burst, scatters the spores,
which are then (under the microscope) seen adhering to the sides of the
delicate filamentary stalks like so many minute limpets.

[18] _Vide_ the London Docks, _passim_; where he pays his unwelcome
visits, and is in even worse odour than the exciseman.

[19] “Sir Joseph Banks having a cask of wine, rather too sweet for
immediate use, he directed that it should be placed in a cellar, that the
saccharine it contained might be more decomposed by age; at the end of
three years he directed his butler to ascertain the state of the wine,
when, on attempting to open the cellar-door, he could not effect it, in
consequence of some powerful obstacle; the door was consequently cut
down, when the cellar was found to be completely filled with a fungous
production, so firm, that it was necessary to use an axe for its removal.
This appeared to have grown from, or to have been nourished by, the
decomposing particles of the wine, the cask being empty, and carried
up to the ceiling, where it was supported by the fungus.”—_Chambers’s

[20] Withering found one of these plants on the top of St. Paul’s
Cathedral; the first he had seen!

[21] _Sporendonema Muscæ._

[22] “When healthy caterpillars are placed within reach of a silkworm
that has been destroyed by the Botrytis, they, too, contract the disease,
and at last perish.”—_Chambers’s Journal_, October, 1845.

[23] A species of _Polystrix_ is affected, whilst alive, with a parasitic
kind of fungus, called _Sphæria_, which grows out of it, and feeds upon

[24] Several of the French surgeons have given recitals of cases where,
on removal of the bandages from sore surfaces, they have found a
collection of funguses growing upon them, generally about the size of the
finger (Lemery); one of them adds, that having reapplied the wrappings,
a second batch came out in the course of twenty-four hours, and this for
several days consecutively.

[25] For an accurate description of these funguses, the reader is
referred to the excellent work of Mr. Berkeley.

[26] These, beautiful, but fleeting as beauty’s blush, generally perish
within a few hours; but I have seen some which, after a potting of 2000
years, retained their original hues unblemished, for they had been potted
with the town of Pompeii, and are preserved with the other frescoes upon
its walls.

[27] The _Mitrati_ are not a very numerous class, of which the _Morel_
may be taken as the type.

[28] The _Cupulati_, so called in consequence.

[29] _A. piperatus._

[30] _A. procerus._

[31] _Agaricus comatus_, in allusion no doubt to which Plautus says of
the Lord Chancellor of his day, “Fungino genere est, capiti se totum
tegit,”—that his wig was so long as to hide his whole person.

[32] The _Nidularias_ do so.

[33] The surface is rough with elevated papillæ, the structure fibrous,
the flesh softly elastic, the colour bright red, looking like the tongue
in the worst forms of gastro-enterite, with which its cold clammy surface
when touched offers no correspondence.

[34] _A. micaceus._

[35] Thore.

[36] _Agaricus narcoticus_, Batsch, Fascic. vol. ii. pl. 81.

[37] _A. alliaceus._

[38] _A. cinnamomeus._

[39] Fries.

[40] Bolton.

[41] Persoon.

[42] Micheli.

[43] These last, placed in a wineglass, over a sheet of white paper,
frequently disperse the seminal dust over a ring of twice the natural
dimensions of the Agaric.

[44] “One dark night, about the beginning of December, while passing
along the streets of the Villa de Natividade, I observed some boys
amusing themselves with some luminous object, which I at first supposed
to be a kind of large fire-fly; but, on making inquiry, I found it to be
a beautiful phosphorescent fungus, belonging to the genus _Agaricus_, and
was told that it grew abundantly in the neighbourhood, on the decaying
leaves of a dwarf palm. Next day I obtained a great many specimens,
and found them to vary from one to two and a half inches across. The
whole plant gives out at night a bright phosphorescent light, of a pale
greenish hue, similar to that emitted by the larger fire-flies, or by
those curious, soft-bodied, marine animals, the _Pyrosomæ_; from this
circumstance, and from growing on a palm, it is called by the inhabitants
‘Flor do Coco;’ the light given out by a few of these fungi in a dark
room, was sufficient to read by. It proved to be quite a new species,
and, since my return from Brazil, has been described by the Rev. M. J.
Berkeley under the name of _Agaricus Gardneri_, from preserved specimens
which I brought home.”—_Travels in the Interior of Brazil_, 1846.

[45] Hence it was called κρανίον (_vide_ Theoph. Lib. vol. i. cap. 9)
by the ancients. Cesalpinus describes it under the name of _Peziza_,
and reports that it is common in the woods of Pisa, whence men gather
to eat them. We read also, in an ancient Italian writer (Cicinelli),
that the environs of Padua produce enormous puff-balls, of which one
(unless this author was given to _puffing_) measured not less than two
feet across, in one direction, being upwards of a foot and a half in its
least diameter. It was big enough, he says, to have written on its rind
the celebrated inscription attributed by Dion Cassius to the Dacians,
which they presented to the Emperor, “in quo scriptum erat Latinis
literis Burros sociosque omnes eum hortari ut domum reverteretur pacemque
coleret.” Other authors also (Alph. de Tuberibus,—not truffles, but
puff-balls,—cap. xvii.; Imperato, Hist. Nat. Hol. vol. xxvii. cap. 5)
speak of puff-balls of sixty and one hundred pounds weight.

[46] Hist. Plant. vol. ii. p. 275.

[47] Villæ, Lib. vol. x. cap. 80.

[48] By this word, however, the vulgar generally understood the
_Cantharellus cibarius_.

[49] This species, which is somewhat rare in England, occurred in
abundance this year (1847) in the neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells. I
found four specimens of it on the oak-roots in the Grove, one of which
rose nearly a foot from the ground, measured considerably more than two
and a half feet across, and weighed from eighteen to twenty pounds; the
other specimens were of much smaller dimensions.

[50] Robert Scott, Act. Linn. Soc. vol. viii. p. 202.

[51] Dufresnoy.

[52] Roques.

[53] _Amadou_ is largely used in Italy, where it is called _esca_;
the Latins likewise knew it by this name, though their more common
appellation for it was _fomes_; the Byzantine Greeks hellenicized _esca_
into ὕσκα, which was their word for it; the ancient Greeks called it
ζώπυρον. Salmasius tells us how it used to be made in his time, which
indeed was the same as now: the fungus was first boiled, then beaten to
pieces in a mortar, next hammered out to deprive it of its woody fibres,
and lastly, being steeped in a strong solution of nitre, was left to dry
in the sun. It appears, on the testimony of the anonymous author of the
article “Fungo” in the ‘Dizionario Classico di Medicina,’ that it is also
eaten when young; but I cannot speak of it from personal experience:—“In
prima età mangiasi colto di fresco affettato e condito d’ogni modo;
specialmente nelle provincie di Belluno ed Udine, o salasi per la

[54] “Di questo fungo servavanosene i barbieri in cambio delle strugghie
dette più volgaremente _codette_, atte a far riprendere il perduto filo a
loro rasoi.”

[55] “This is the ‘Moucho more’ of the Russians, Kamtchadales, and
Koriaks, who use it for intoxication; they sometimes eat it dry, but more
commonly immersed in a liquor made from the _Epilobium_, and when they
drink this liquor, they are seized with convulsions in all their limbs,
followed with that kind of raving which accompanies a burning fever.
They personify this mushroom, and, if they are urged by its effects to
suicide, or any other dreadful crime, they pretend to obey its commands;
to fit themselves for premeditated assassination they recur to the use of
the Moucho more.”—_Rees’s Cyclopædia, art. “Agaric.”_

[56] In such cases the minute fungus is probably absorbed _in ovo_ and
disseminated with the sap through the plant; as this ascends from the
root, it remains undeveloped however till the corn is in ear, at which
time it finds in the nascent grain the necessary conditions for its own

[57] The mischief thus produced by dry-rot may be arrested by steeping
the affected timber in a solution of corrosive sublimate, which, forming
a chemical union with the juices of the woody fibre, prevents their being
abstracted by the dry-rot, that would else have maintained itself and
spread at their expense.

[58] A reputation that revives may not be so good as one that survives,
but the very fact of such revival shows that the good opinion formerly
entertained was not altogether groundless.

[59] Enslin was in the habit of uniting this _Polyporus_ with Peruvian
Bark, and obtained from it the happiest results: “Omnium mihi arridet
connubium ejus cum cortice Peruviano”—to which “connubium,” no doubt,
some of its good effects are to be attributed.

[60] Haller relates, that the inhabitants of Piedmont are in the habit of
swallowing a small piece of this Agaric, when they have drunk with their
water some of those small leeches in which it abounds. Bomare mentions of
this same Agaric, that the inhabitants of Balcu use it in powder to heal
blains in their cattle.

[61] Hunter.

[62] It is the Frenchman’s _heart_! “J’ai mal au cœur” means, as every
one knows, in the French tongue, not ‘I am sick at heart,’ as it
professes to say, but ‘I am sick at stomach’!

[63] Walpole.

[64] The phrase “I like it, but it does not like me,” which one sometimes
hears at table, having a reference to some particular idiosyncrasy of the
party who makes the remark, does not invalidate the truth of this general

[65] Pope. Mead, if anybody, ought to have been good authority on the
subject of this particular diet. He had written, _ex professo_, upon
poisons; and the Florentine mycologist Micheli had dedicated several
newly-discovered funguses to him. He was therefore both a Toxicologist
and a Mycologist.


    “No thought too bold, no airy dream too light,
    That will not prompt your Theorist to write;
    No fact so stubborn, and no proof so strong,
    Will e’er convince him he _could_ argue wrong.”—_Crabbe._

[67] Broussais divides inflammatory dyspepsia into _five_ parts or acts.
That Leach of leeches, whose word once passed for more than it was worth,
came at last to see himself and his _sangsues_ utterly abandoned, and
to have the mortification of lecturing in his old age to empty benches.
“Quantum mutatus ab illo” of less than twenty years before, and who had
been the cause of as much innocent bloodshedding as Napoleon himself, and
used to kill his patients that his leeches might be fed!

[68] “Fungus qualiscunque sit semper _malignus_.”—_Kirker, Lib. de Pest._

[69] “_Apage_ ergo perniciosa isthæc gulæ blandimenta.”

[70] “Quot colores tot dolores, quot species tot pernicies.”

[71] M. Roques gives at the end of his treatise on funguses a long list
of his mycophilous friends, including in the number many of the most
eminent _medical_ men of the French capital—if medical men are more
careful of what they eat than their neighbours, which, however, is
exceedingly doubtful.

[72] “To eat raw mushrooms” was a proverbial expression among the Greeks,
as is shown by the passage which Athenæus quotes out of a play of
Antiphanes, called the ‘Proverbs’:—Ἔγω γάρ ἂν τῶν ὑμετέρων φάγοιμί τι,
μύκητας ὠμοὺς αὔτικ’ ἂν φαγεῖν δοκάω.

[73] Those who themselves know better, smile to read such passages as the
following, which is to be found in old Gerard’s ‘Herbal’:—“Galen affirms
that they (_i. e._ funguses) are all very cold and moist, and therefore
do approach unto a venomous and mothering facultie, and engender a clammy
and pituitous nutriment; if eaten, therefore, I give my advice unto those
that love such strange and new-fangled meates, to beware of licking honey
among thorns, lest the sweetnesse of the one do not countervaille the
sharpnesse and pricking of the other.”

[74] A life of labour, no doubt, will make the sorriest fare sit more
lightly on the healthy stomach, than the most dainty viands which have
been received into an organ that is weakened and goaded by a life of
dissipation and excess; but this does not prove sorry fare to be more
wholesome than that of a richer kind. No! Dyspepsia is a disease of
the rich; not because they live upon the fat of the land, but plainly
because they indulge in too large a quantity at a meal. Let the peasant
and the lord change places for a week; place the healthy rustic at the
rich man’s table, and Dives again at the other board, what would be the
results to both? Would not the poor man, think you, find indigestion in
ragoût, fricassees, truffles, with light wine _ad libitum_ to drink with
them? and would not the rich man find that the fat pork and hard beer
were worse poison than any of the made-dishes, against which he has been
so lavish in his blame? In general, no doubt, to be “the happiest of
mortals—to digest well” (Voltaire), men should look more to the _quantum_
and less to the _quale_ of what they eat; but they should pay some
attention to this too.

[75] Ἢν δὲ πάντα ὅμοια ποιήσῃ οὐκ ἔχει τέρψιν. Π.Δ. Α. 10.

[76] That I did not always hold such an opinion as the above, to which I
have since given in my adhesion, the following ode to Eupepsia, written
in the days of theoretical inexperience, will sufficiently testify. I am
now convinced that Hippocrates was right!—

    Happy the man whose prudent care
      Plain boiled and roast discreetly bound;
    Content to feed on homely fare,
      On British ground!
    Sound sleep renounces _sugared_ peas!—
      No nightmares haunt the modest ration
    Of tender steak, that yields with ease
      To mastication!
    From stews and steams that round them play,
      How many a tempting dish would floor us,
    Had nature made no toll to pay
      At the pylorus!

    He dines unscathed, who dines _alone_!
      Or shuns abroad those _corner_ dishes;
    No Roman garlics make him groan,
      Nor matelotte fishes.
    Then let not Vérey’s treacherous skill,
      Nor Véfour’s, try thy peptic forces;
    One comes to swallow many a pill
      Where many a course is!
    With _mushroomed_ dishes cease to strive;
      Nor for that _truffled crime_ inquire,
    Which nails the hapless goose alive,
      At Strasburg’s fire.

[77] Heberden wisely left it to his patients, except in acute cases of
disease or when they were gluttons, “to eat what pleased them, finding
that many apparently unfit substances” (_which funguses are not_) “agreed
with the stomach merely because they were suitable to its feelings.” Why
quote Abernethy?—but that good sense, backed by personal experience in
such matters, are always worth quoting—who says, “Nothing hurts me that
I eat with appetite and delight;” or Withers, unless for a like reason,
who is “of opinion that the instinct of the palate, not misguided by
preconceived opinion, may be satisfied, not only with impunity, but even
with advantage.” It is the rule by which the brute creation is taught
to shun its poison and to choose its food: to a considerable extent, it
should be ours also.

[78] Roques, ‘Traité sur les Champignons.’

[79] Æschines.

[80] “Pratensibus optima fungis Natura est.”—_Horace._

[81] Locality has a great effect upon almost all that we eat: our very
mutton varies in different counties; compare the town-bred gutter-fed
poultry of London with that of twenty miles around; fish vary, the tench
out of different ponds are different; fruits vary with the soil; are
potatoes everywhere the same?

[82] Persons have fancied themselves poisoned when they were not;
indigestion produced by mushrooms is looked upon with fear and suspicion,
and if a medical man be called in, the stomach-pump used, and relief
obtained, nothing will persuade either patient or practitioner that this
has not been a case of poisoning. “You have saved my life,” says the one.
“I think you will not be persuaded to eat any more mushrooms for some
time,” says the other: and so they part, each under the impression that
he knows more about mushrooms than anybody else can tell him.

[83] It grows not only throughout Europe, but in India also.

[84] We should apply the same rules of discrimination here as elsewhere.
Have we not picked potatoes for our table out of the deadly family of
_Solana_? selected with care the _garden_ from the _fool’s_ parsley?
And do we not pickle gherkins, notwithstanding their affinity to the
_Elaterium momordicum_, which would poison us if we were to eat it?

[85] “N’est-il pas bien plus simple et bien plus sûr en même temps,
_puisqu’on le peut_, de prévenir les maux, que de spéculer sur les moyens
si souvent incertains de les guérir?”—Bull. Pl. Vénén. p. 11.

[86] _Vide_ Vittadini and Roques.

[87] Roques fell in with two soldiers at St. Cyr, who had gathered
and were in the act of carrying off twice the quantity of this fungus
necessary to kill the regiment, when he interfered, and no doubt saved
many lives in doing so. The soldiers, it appears, had mistaken the
_Ag. necator_ for the _Hydnum repandum_, to which it bears some slight
resemblance in colour, and in nothing else.

[88] The _converse_ of this remark by no means holds true; the _Amanita
verna_, the _Am. phalloides_, the _Ag. semiglobatus_, _dryophilus_, and
_muscarius_, though amongst the most deadly of this class of plants, do
not change colour on being cut; the flesh of the first two is, moreover,
of a tempting whiteness, like that of the common puff-ball, than which
there is not a safer or a better fungus. “Omnino ne crede colori” is our
only safe motto here.

[89] Johnson’s Dictionary.

[90] He was wrong here: the oak produces both the _Fistulina hepatica_
and the _Agaricus fusipes_, two excellent funguses, particularly the
last, which, properly dressed or pickled, have not many rivals.

[91] As was known to the Greeks, ‘Prepare your funguses with vinegar,
salt, or honey, for thus you will rob them of their poison,’ οὕτω γὰρ
αὐτῶν τὸ πνιγώδες ἀφαιρεῖται.

[92] Vittadini, however, ate largely of this fungus, which he describes
as very disagreeable, though it did not prove poisonous to him.

[93] Puccinelli.

[94] In a whole family, cut off in the year 1843, at Lucca, by dining
on some poisonous Boletuses, drawn and first described by Professor
Puccinelli under the ominous name of _Boletus terribilis_, besides most
extensive ulceration of the mucous coat of the intestines throughout a
very considerable portion of their extent, together with injection of the
vessels of the brain, the lungs were found congested, and the cavities of
the heart distended, with coagula of blood.

[95] For a most interesting record of all the more recent poisonings from
funguses in Italy, the reader may consult Professor delle Chiaje’s work
on Toxicology. The following, the only one I shall give, is to be found
in Vittadini’s excellent work on funguses:—

“Giovanna Ballerini, montanara, d’ anni 26, moglie di Luigi Dodici,
nativa di Brugnello, Stato Sardo, e domiciliata in Lardirago, distretto
di Belgiojoso, provincia di Pavia, mangiò la sera del 19 maggio, 1831, in
compagnia di due suoi nipoti, Giuseppe Ballerini d’ anni 6, e Maria, d’
anni 12, buona copia d’ agarici di primavera, cotti nella minestra. Erano
dessi stati colti nel vicin bosco della Rossa, e da quella sventurata
probabilmente scambiati coi Prugnuoli (_Ag. mouceron_, Bull.), funghi
generalmente conosciuti da quegli alpigiani sotto il nome di Spinaroli,
o Maggenghi. All’ indomani allontanossi Giovanna da casa, come era suo
costume, onde provvedere ai proprj bisogni, ma trascorse alcune ore venne
assalita da forte oppressione all’ epigastrio, da nausee, da conati di
vomito, ecc., e costretta infine verso il meriggio dalla gravezza del
patire a tornarsene a casa, ove trovò dallo stesso male tormentati anche
i nipoti. I principali fenomeni morbosi che presentavano quegli infelici
all’ arrivo di Giovanna erano: nausee continue, dolori acutissimi allo
stomaco ed alle intestina, deliquj frequenti, convulsioni, ecc. Poco dopo
Maria ed in seguito Giovanna vennero prese da vomito ostinato di materie
bigio-nerastre, a cui s’accoppiava bentosto, per colmo di sventura,
un’ abbondante soccorrenza della stessa materia, e più innanzi di
pretto sangue. Impotente a recere, Giuseppe si struggeva in vani conati
di vomito. Chiamato verso sera in loro soccorso il sig. dott. Luigi
Casorati, medico condotto del luogo, mio collega ed amico, s’ adoperò ma
invano per sostare il vomito ed il colera, che specialmente in Maria ed
in Giovanna andavano sempre più imperversando. Le bevande mucilaginose,
il latte, gli oppiati, le fomentazioni ammollienti sull’ addome a nulla
giovarono. Si tentò la sanguigna, ma anche questa senza effetto. Alle ore
7 del mattino del giorno 21, 38 ore circa dall’ ingestione del fungo,
Giuseppe, chi si era ostinatamente rifiutato ad ogni medicina, non era
più; nè miglior sorte incontravano Maria e Giovanna, chi, tradotte all’
ospedale di Pavia, non ostante i soccorsi che vennero loro prodigati,
perivano nella stessa giornata fra le più terribili angosce, e senza
perdere gran fatto l’ uso dei sensi, la prima verso il meriggio, l’
altra verso le ore sette pomeridiane. All’ autopsia del cadavere di
Giuseppe Ballerini, eseguitasi in Lardirago, sotto i miei occhi, dallo
stesso Dottor Casorati che gentilmente me ne fece invito, ed alla
quale assisteva pure il sig. dott. G. Galliotti, si trovò lo stomaco
zeppo di un liquido verdastro, entro cui nuotavano ancora, unitamente
a buona porzione di riso e di erbe, varj pezzetti del fungo non ancora
decomposti, e che potei agevolmente riconoscere a qual parte della pianta
appartenessero; la mucosa di quel viscere sensibilmente injettata, e
coperta, specialmente lungo la piccola curvatura ed in vicinanza del
piloro, di grandi macchie di color roseo-livido intenso. Le intestina
tenui pur esse ove più ove meno injettate, e del color dello scarlatto,
le crasse morbosamente ristrette, ma meno delle tenui ingorgate; sì le
une che le altre vuote d’alimenti, e non contenenti che poca quantità
di muco bigio-nerastro e qualche lombrico. Le meningi erano anch’ esse
sommamente injettate, specialmente la pia; la sostanza del cervello meno
consistente del naturale, punteggiata di rosso, e la base dello stesso
nuotante in una quantità considerabile di siero sanguinolento.”—_Vitt._
p. 340.

[96] When dried, gr. xx.-xxv. will scarcely produce the effects of gr. v.
of the fungus when first gathered.—_Vitt._

[97] The total quantity of moisture absorbed by funguses, during
development and growth, is great; thus, if a number of small Agarics,
still in their wrappers, be placed in wineglasses half filled with
water, this will be rapidly absorbed, even before they break through
their membrane. Moreover, if Agarics or Boletuses, already developed, be
placed in glasses containing so many ounces of water, the amount of which
has been previously ascertained, and equal to that in another glass, by
which to make allowance for what has been lost by evaporation, the result
will generally be that a quantity of water, equal to from one-fourth to
one-third of the full weight of each fungus, will have been absorbed and
exhaled again in two days. The redundant moisture of those plants is
rendered conspicuous if we place a Boletus on a watch-glass, the surface
of which is speedily beaded with drops of water, as if it had been in the
rain; while the quantity of fluid is sometimes so great as to defeat the
object we had in placing it there, viz. that of collecting the spores.

[98] The reader desirous of a detailed account of this interesting
fungus, should consult a small quarto _brochure_ published some years
ago, by Professor Gasparini, of Naples, who was preparing a second
edition in the autumn of 1844, with numerous additions, which has, no
doubt, been reprinted.

[99] Or rather, as Professor Tenore has told me, from the _Populus
nigra_, var. _Neapolitana_.

[100] Müller declares that fermentation is itself a fungus, which
continues to feed and multiply so long as it finds the elements of
nutrition in the liquid in which it originates. This, then, is employing
one fungus life to evoke another.

[101] All blocks of this nut-wood do not bear. Professor Sanguinetti
informs me that the peasants in the Abruzzi, who bring in these logs,
know perfectly which will succeed and which will not; “a knowledge,” he
adds, “to which closest attention during all the years that I have been
employed by the Papal Government as superintendent of the fungus market,
has not yet enabled me to attain.”

[102] On digging up the earth in the neighbourhood of a ring in which _A.
prunulus_ was at the time growing, I found the mould to the depth of a
foot and more, hoary, with an arachnoid spawn strongly charged with the
odour of this mushroom. Persoon found that to destroy a fairy-ring of the
same Agaric, it was necessary to dig to a considerable depth, when the
next crop that came up was disseminated sporadically over the ground.

[103] This was the opinion of the Greeks, who called funguses γηγενεῖς,
or earthborn.

[104] Just as in the inorganic world, chemical analysis is frequently the
precursor of new forms of matter resulting from the new affinities which
take place, so when a vegetable dies, and the synthesis of its structural
arrangement is broken up, nature frequently avails herself of this season
of decomposition, to bring new individuals out of the decaying structures
of the old, which, in consequence of a beautiful pre-arrangement, find
there all the requisite supplies for their growth and future maintenance.

[105] Some mycologists however, as Persoon and Roques, conceive that
the common dust of puff-balls is analogous to the pollen of the higher
plants, while the real seed is to be sought and found in a finer dust,
which is entangled in the reticular meshes at the base of these plants.
Others suppose the fluid which bathes the interiors of those little
organs, in which the seeds are packed, to be in other funguses the source
of their fecundation. But these at present are mere conjectures.

[106] Several byssoid growths are in this predicament.


    “Who seek for life in creatures they dissect,
    Will lose it in the moment they detect.”—_Pope._

[108] The colours of the spores are of considerable practical use in
distinguishing the members of the large family of Agarics, some of which
are determined by them.

[109] It appears too mechanical an explanation of a phenomenon so purely
vital as growth, to make it in any way dependent on a system of wedges,
however ingeniously applied.

[110] “The facility with which these floccose threads are injured, and
their connection destroyed, explains,” says Vittadini, “the difficulty of
transplanting funguses with success.”

[111] The great rapidity with which these wonderful changes succeed each
other in funguses with a volva, is widely different from what occurs in
those that have none. Thus the Morel takes thirty-one days, Geasters six,
and many Tubers twelve months for their full development: so that “To
come up like a mushroom” is a proverb with limitations.

[112] When the base is formed before the receptacle, the fibres are
continuous; but when the receptacle has been formed first, as the fibres
of the last cannot be transmitted through those already formed, these two
parts remain distinct.

[113] In the first instance the fungus is called _annulate_, in the
second _cortinate_.

[114] _i. e._ when these happen to be of different hues originally,
the fragments of the veil being in some places covered by those of the
wrapper, in others naked.

[115] Raii Syn. 2.

[116] λευκὸς, _white_, and σπόρος, a _seed_.

[117] _Ag. ovoides_ (Bull.), which is white, and _Ag. Cæsareus_ (Scop.),
which is red, with yellow gills, belong to this division.

[118] λεπὶς, a _scale_.

[119] _Armilla_, a _ring_.

[120] This ring seems formed by the external fibres of the stalk, which,
having reached the posterior extremity of the gills, are reflected
backwards to the margin of the pileus when they become attached.

[121] _Limax_, a _slug_.

[122] θρὶξ, a _hair_, and λῶμα, a _fringe_.

[123] Not described by Vittadini among the esculent funguses of Italy,
and so probably unknown there.

[124] _Russulus_, red.

[125] γάλα, _milk_, and ῥέω, to _flow_.

[126] κλίτος, a _declivity_, and κυβὴ, a _head_.

[127] δασὺς, _thick_, and φύλλον, a _leaf_.

[128] καμάρα, a _vault_, and φύλλον, a _leaf_.

[129] χόνδρος, a _ligament_, and ποῦς, a _foot_.

[130] κόλλυβος, a _copper coin_.

[131] μύκης, a _fungus_.

[132] ὀμφαλὸς, _umbilicus_.

[133] πλευρὸν, a _side_, and ποῦς, a _foot_.

[134] ὑπὸ, _under_, and ῥόδεος, _rose-coloured_.

[135] κλίτος, a _declivity_, and πῖλος, a _cap_.

[136] λεπτὸς, _slender_.

[137] Nola, _a little bell_.

[138] ἐκκοιλόω, _to hollow out_.

[139] _Cortina_, _a veil_.

[140] τελαμὼν, _lint_.

[141] ἱνὸς, _of a fibre_, λῶμα, a _fringe_.

[142] δέρμα, a _skin_, and κυβὴ, a _head_.

[143] Pratum, a _pasture_.

[144] ψάλιον, a _ring_.

[145] κόπρος, _dung_.

[146] κάνθαρος, a _cup_.

[147] πολὺς, _many_, and πόρος, a _pore_.

[148] βῶλος, a _ball_.

[149] Named from the _fistulous_ nature of the hymenium.

[150] ὕδνον, a _truffle_, etc.

[151] _Clava_, a _club_.

[152] Name Latinized from the German _Bofist_.

[153] They are reproduced in these rings about the same time every year,
the circle continuing to enlarge till it breaks up at last into irregular
lines, which is a sure sign to the collector that the _Prunulus_ is about
to disappear from that place, just as the presence of an unbroken ring is
conclusive of a plentiful harvest the next spring.

[154] These lobes, formed by the constriction of the pileus, whilst
emerging from the roots of the grass, are sometimes so much strangulated
as to present the appearance of small stalkless Agarics growing from the
large, and projecting from their sides like ears.

[155] That is, connected by a tooth to the end of the stalk, and not
running down it.

[156] The _Prunulus_ is much prized in the Roman market, where it easily
fetches 30 baiocchi, _i. e._ 15_d._ per lb.; a large sum for any luxury
at Rome. It is sent in little baskets as presents to patrons, fees to
medical men, and bribes to Roman lawyers. When dried, it constitutes the
so-called “Funghi di Genoa,” which are sold on strings throughout Italy.

[157] If the Suillus be indeed the same as the modern Porcino, as its
name would imply, few who know how good it is will be disposed to pity
Martial, who laments his hard case, in having had to eat this fungus at
his patron’s table, while he feasted on the Boletus, _i. e._ the _Ag.
Cæsareus_. It would seem however from this epigram, that the Suillus was
not in Martial’s time, what it now unquestionably is, a favourite with
the rich.

[158] “Il Sorvegliatore fa gettare ai venditori tutti i funghi fracidi e
quelli che crede nocivi, ed è assolutamente proibita la vendita dei così
detti prateroli buoni o cattivi che sieno.”—_Sanguinetti_ (extract from
an unpublished letter).

[159] “This is that variety of _Ag. campestris_ which has been so often
confounded with the _Amanita verna_, and with these the _Ag. albus
virosus_; all these funguses, besides presenting a strong similarity in
appearance, are found in the same locality, and at about the same time of

[160] Ude complains that we have none of the light French wines for
sauces except champagne. Cider or perry will, however, be found good

[161] “Hopkirk records an instance of one weighing five pounds six
ounces, and measuring forty-three inches in circumference. Withering
mentions another that weighed fourteen pounds.”—_Berkeley._

[162] “It is commonly supposed that such funguses as change colour afford
thereby a clear evidence of their noxious properties, and yet daily
experience, as far as it went, ought to have led to just the opposite
conclusion. Almost all the poisonous Agarics have a flesh that does _not_
change colour, and we know as yet of no Boletus, many of which _do_ so
change, that is really unsafe to eat.”—_Vitt._

[163] This blue loses much of its intensity by long exposure to the air.
It is moreover to be remarked that in specimens, the flesh of which has
been eaten into by slugs or insects, no change of colour takes place.

[164] This requires further corroboration.

[165] Sc. “Blue Hats” (?), as _Ag. Georgii_ is called “White Caps,” and
_Ag. Oreades_ “Scotch Bonnets.”

[166] This mushroom, famous for the flavour it imparts to rich soups and
gravies, is also used in the French “à la mode” beef shops in London,
with the view of heightening the flavour of that dish. As the aroma is
dissipated by overcooking, it should be thrown in only a few minutes
before serving. The dried Champignon is much more extensively used in
France and Italy than it is in England.

[167] Although the _Ag. oreades_ be, properly speaking, a terrestrial and
not a parasitical fungus, still as it springs up amidst the roots of the
grasses and flourishes by depriving them of their supplies, the herbage
in its neighbourhood is the first to scorch up and wither.

[168] I have, however, found them _white_.

[169] “Dans le département des landes on sème l’Agaricus Palomet. Pour
cela on se contente d’arroser la terre d’un bosquet planté en chênes
avec de l’eau dans laquelle on a fait bouillir une grande quantité
de ces champignons; la culture n’exige d’autres soins que d’éloigner
de ces lieux les chevaux, les pores et les bêtes à cornes, qui sont
très-friandes de ces plantes; ce moyen réussit toujours, mais nous
laissons aux physiciens à nous expliquer pourquoi l’ébullition n’a pas
fait mourir les germes.”—_Thore._

[170] The reader must not conclude from this that soil, any more than
age, will account for such differences; there is a _variety_ of _Ag.
alutaceus_, described by Vittadini, which he says is “endowed with a
very caustic taste, smelling of pepper, and to be avoided.” The kind
_generally_ found in England is probably the same as this, which Bulliard
has described under the name of _Ag. alutaceus acris_.

[171] “Sospettando ragionevolmente dietro le esperienze del Krapf e
del Roques che questo fungo potesse esser nocivo all’ uomo e non agli
animali, ho voluto anch’io sperimentarlo su di me stesso.”—_Vitt._

[172] I lately found a _single_ specimen of it, which Vittadini says is

[173] On the Poplar and Willow, according to Vittadini; Apple and
Laburnum, on the authority of Berkeley; Elm and Ash, on my own.

[174] In some specimens the gills are _all_ solitary.

[175] Vitt.

[176] It is probable that the varieties here referred to belonged to _Ag.
euosmus_, B. Care must be taken to distinguish between the two, as _Ag.
euosmus_ is an unsafe species.—ED.

[177] Vitt.

[178] A countryman, last spring (1847), stumbled upon a large quantity
in the neighbourhood of Chiselhurst, Kent, and being struck with their
appearance gathered some, and took them to a medical man of the place,
who, not recognizing the plant, suffered the whole to perish! He has
since been made aware of his mistake.

[179] It is a common fraud in the Italian market for the salesmen to soak
them in water; which increases their weight, but spoils their flavour.

[180] In the Roman market the Morell is held in little esteem, and sells
for 4_d._ or 5_d._ per lb. Three varieties of the _esculenta_ are brought
in by the “Asparagarii,” _i. e._ the peasants who gather the _wild_
Asparagus on the hills; viz. the _M. rotunda_, which is almost globose,
_M. vulgaris_, and _M. fulva_, which is of a tawny colour.

[181] Though the _F. hepatica_ grows both upon oak and chestnut trees,
this difference in its origin never perceptibly affects the plant, which
is equally good, whether it be gathered from one or from the other.

[182] Whence the vernacular names, “Orgella,” “Orgelle,” and “Oreille.”

[183] Most authors compare this odour to that of fresh meal, but as
several friends think with me that the above comparison is more accurate,
I have ventured to substitute it.

[184] Mr. Berkeley says rose-coloured; Vittadini pale rust-colour; but
I find that on placing a watch-glass thickly coated with spores on fine
brown-holland, the colours very nearly correspond.

[185] Berk. Brit. Fung.

[186] The lobes are at first nearly white, afterwards of an ash-grey
colour on the under surface; the upper, or that which bears the seed
membrane, continuing white.

[187] Another species of _Peziza_, the _P. cochleata_, grew very
abundantly last spring in Holwood Park, Keston. This species is quite
insipid, and somewhat leathery, but Mr. Berkeley has seen it offered for
sale under the name of Morell.

[188] The toughness is owing to its being stewed too quickly; when
properly sweated with butter, as recommended for _C. coralloides_, it is
quite tender.

[189] There are, in fact, three at first, whereof the external one either
coalesces with the second, or else peels off in shreds, when the other
two become united, and continue to maintain the globular form of the
Puff-ball unimpaired, even after the escape of the seed.

[190] Without appendages.

[191] Vittadini recommends, wherever this fungus grows conveniently for
the purpose, that it should not be all taken at once, but by slices
cut off from the living plant, care being taken not to break up its
attachments with the earth; in this way, he says, you may have a fine
“frittura” every day for a week.

[192] I have been informed that this Puff-ball is sometimes served on
state occasions at the Freemasons’ Tavern.

[193] “Ce Champignon croît au milieu et vers le sommet de l’arbre, de
sorte qu’il n’est pas facile à voir ou à récolter.”—_Persoon._

[194] Berkeley.

[195] In 1843, the friends of a patient, for whom I had occasion to
prescribe some musk, had recourse to many chemists in succession before
the licensed dealer in it could be found, and he was obliged by law to
keep it in his back premises.

[196] Night fires. This is to clear the ground under the Chestnut-trees
for the falling fruits, which might otherwise be lost amidst the heath.
But the practice is unsafe; as many a tree has been charred by the
flames, and some have actually taken fire and given rise to a general

[197] The whole of the species mentioned in the annexed list were
met with by the author this summer and autumn (1847), and partaken
of by himself and friends, viz. _Amanita vaginata_; _Ag. rubescens_,
_procerus_, _prunulus_, _ruber_, _heterophyllus_, _virescens_;
_deliciosus_, _nebularis_, _personatus_, _virgineus_, _fusipes_,
_oreades_, _ostreatus_, _Orcella_, _campestris_ (and its varieties
_edulis_ and _pratensis_), _exquisitus_, _comatus_, and _ulmarius_;
_Cantharellus cibarius_; _Polyporus frondosus_; _Boletus edulis_ and
_scaber_; _Fistulina hepatica_; _Hydnum repandum_; _Helvella lacunosa_;
_Peziza acetabulum_ and _Bovista plumbea_; _Lycoperdon gemmatum_ and
_Clavaria strigosa_.


John Edward Taylor, Printer, Little Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

[Illustration: Pl. I.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. II.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. III.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. IV.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. V.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. VI.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. VII.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. VIII.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. IX.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. X.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. XI.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

[Illustration: Pl. XII.

W. Fitch, del. et lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.]

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