The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise - Its Habitat and its Time of Growth
by M. E. Hard
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M. E. HARD, M. A.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirkwood, Mo.




Copyright 1908

by the


Columbus, Ohio

(All rights reserved)


_No._ _


Whose thorough knowledge of plant life, and whose patience in preserving fungal specimens—sometimes beautiful but often odorous—scattered from the back porch to the author's library, whose eyes, quick to detect structural differences, and whose kindly and patient help have been a constant benediction, this work's inscribed.


I would agree with those who might maintain that no Introduction is needed for this book on mushrooms. Nevertheless a word may not be out of place for the inception of the work is out of the ordinary. Mr. Hard did not decide that a book on this subject was needed and then set about studying these interesting plants. He has observed them, collected them, induced many friends to join in eating those which proved to be palatable and delicious—really meddled for years with the various kinds which are edible and otherwise, and then recently he has decided to publish a book on his favorite subject. The interesting occupation of photographing the mushrooms and the toadstools doubtless has contributed largely to the determination culminating in the materialization of the treatise.

If I have correctly apprehended the origin and the contributing causes, we would expect this book to be different from the other books on mushrooms—not of course in scope and purpose; but the instruction and suggestions given, the descriptions and general remarks offered, the wide range of forms depicted in word and picture, the whole make up of the book in fact, will appeal to the people at large rather than the college student in particular. The author does not write for the specially educated few, but for the mass of intelligent people—those who read and study, but who observe more; those who are inclined to commune with nature as she displays herself in the glens and glades, in the fields and forests, and who spend little, if any, time chasing the forms or sketching the tissues that may be seen on the narrow stage of a compound microscope.

The book then is for the beginner, and for all beginners; the college student will find that this is the guide to use when he is ready to begin studying the mushrooms; the teachers in the schools should all begin to study mushrooms now, and for the purpose they will find this book advantageous; the people who see mushrooms often but do not know them may find here a book that really is a help.

We might wish for color photography when the subject is a delicately tinted mushroom; but if with it we should lose detail in structure then the wish would be renounced. The colors can be, approximately, described, often not so the characteristic markings, shapes and forms. The halftones from the photographs will, we anticipate, prove a valuable feature of the book, especially if the plants be most carefully examined before turning to the pictures. For half an hour the pages may be turned and the illustrations enjoyed. That, however, would give one no real knowledge of mushrooms. If such use only is made of the pictures, better had they never been prepared by Mr. Hard and his friends. But if a charming little toadstool, a delicately colored mushroom, a stately agaric, be carefully removed from the bed of loam, the decaying stump, or the old tree-trunk, then turned over and over again, and upside down, every part scrutinized, the structure in every detail attentively regarded—not with repugnant feeling, rather with a sympathetic interest that should naturally find all organisms inhabiting our globe—then in due time coming to the picture, a real picture, in the book, it must surely bring both pleasure and profit. Ponder the suggestion. Then, to conclude in a word, if Mr. Hard's book will induce people to learn and enjoy the mushrooms that we have, it will be a success, and great will be his reward.

W. A. Kellerman, Ph. D.

Botanical Department, Ohio State University, Columbus, O.



It is with feelings of profound sadness that I am impelled to supplement the above Introduction by a brief tribute to the memory of that genial gentleman and lovable companion, as well as enthusiastic scientist, the late Dr. W. A. Kellerman.

Spending his life in the pursuit of science, the Angel of Death overtook him while still in search for wider knowledge of Nature and her works, and with icy fingers sealed the lids over eyes ever on the alert for the discovery of hidden truths.

Quiet, reticent, and unassuming, it was given to but few to know the great-hearted, unselfish sweetness of nature underlying his whole life. Yet the scientific world in general and Nature students especially, recognize in Dr. Kellerman's death a loss long to be regretted and not soon to be repaired.

The foregoing "Introduction" from his pen was one of the latest, if not the last of his public writings, done but a few weeks before being stricken with the fatal fever which fell upon him in the forests of Guatemala, and so quickly ended his earthly hopes and aspirations.

It seems doubly sad that one so well and widely known in his life should be called upon to lay its burdens and its pleasures down while so far away from all who knew and loved him well; and to rest at last among strangers in a strange land.

To this beloved friend and companion of so many pleasant days in woods and fields the author of this book desires to pay the tribute of a loving remembrance and heartfelt appreciation.

The Author.


"Various as beauteous, Nature, is thy face; * * * all that grows, has grace. All are appropriate. Bog and moss and fen Are only poor to undiscerning men. Here may the nice and curious eye explore How Nature's hand adorns the ruby moor; Beauties are these that from the view retire, But will repay th' attention they require."

Botany and geology have been favorite studies of the author since leaving college, thanks to Dr. Nelson, who lives in the hearts of all his students. He, by his teachings, made these subjects so attractive and interesting that by one, at least, every spare moment has been given to following up the studies of botany and paleontology. But the mycological part of botany was brought practically to the author's attention by the Bohemian children at Salem, Ohio, at the same time arousing a desire to know the scientific side of the subject and thus to be able to help the many who were seeking a personal knowledge of these interesting plants.

Every teacher should be able to open the doors of Nature to his pupils that they may see her varied handiwork, and, as far as possible, assist in removing the mist from their eyes that they may see clearly the beauties of meadow, wood or hillside.

In beginning the fuller study of the subject the writer labored at great disadvantage because, for a number of years, there was but little available literature. Every book written upon this subject, in this country, was purchased as soon as it came out and all have been very helpful.

The study has been a very great pleasure, and some very delightful friendships have been made while in search for as great a variety of species as possible.

For a number of years the object was simply to become familiar with the different genera and species, and no photographs of specimens were made. This was a great mistake; for, after it was determined to bring out this work, it seemed impossible to find many of the plants which the author had previously found in other parts of the state.

However, this failure has been very largely overcome through the generous courtesy of his esteemed friends,—Mr. C. G. Lloyd, of Cincinnati; Dr. Fisher, of Detroit; Prof. Beardslee, of Ashville, N. C.; Prof. B. O. Longyear, of Ft. Collins, Col., and Dr. Kellerman, of Ohio State University,—who have most kindly furnished photographs representing those species found earlier in other parts of the state. The species represented here have all been found in this state within the past few years.

The writer is under great obligation to Prof. Atkinson, of Cornell University, for his very great assistance and encouragement in the study of mycology. His patience in examining and determining plants sent him is more fully appreciated than can be expressed here. Dr. William Herbst, Trexlertown, Pa., has helped to solve many difficult problems; so also have Mr. Lloyd, Prof. Morgan, Capt. McIlvaine and Dr. Charles H. Peck, State Botanist of New York.

The aim of the book has been to describe the species, as far as possible, in terms that will be readily understood by the general reader; and it is hoped that the larger number of illustrations will make the book helpful to those who are anxious to become acquainted with a part of botany so little studied in our schools and colleges.

No pains have been spared to get as representative specimens as it was possible to find. A careful study of the illustrations of the plants will, in most cases, very greatly assist the student in determining the classification of the plant when found; but the illustration should not be wholly relied upon, especially in the study of Boleti. The description should be carefully studied to see if it tallies with the characteristics of the plant in hand.

In many plants where notes had not been taken or had been lost, the descriptions given by the parties naming the plants were used. This is notably so of many of the Boleti. The author felt that Dr. Peck's descriptions would be more accurate and complete, hence they were used, giving him credit.

Care has been taken to give the translation of names and to show why the plant was so called. It is always a wonder to the uninitiated how the Latin name is remembered, but when students see that the name includes some prominent characteristic of the plant and thus discover its applicability, its recollection becomes comparatively easy.

The habitat and time of growth of each plant is given, also its edibility. The author was urged by his many friends throughout the state, while in institute work and frequently talking upon this subject, to give them a book that would assist them in becoming familiar with the common mushrooms of their vicinity. The request has been complied with.

It is hoped that the work will be as helpful as it has been pleasant to perform.

M. E. H.

Chillicothe, Ohio, January 11, 1908.


Introduction by Dr. W. A. Kellerman vii

Preface ix

Chapter I. Why Study Mushrooms? 1

Mushrooms and Toadstools 3

What Any One May Eat 4

How to Preserve Mushrooms 5

Terms Used 5

What Is a Fungus or a Mushroom? 10

Six Groups of Mushrooms 12

Group I—Hymenomycetes 13

Family I—Agaricaceae 13

Spore Prints 14

Analytical Key 16

Chapter II. The White-Spored Agarics 20

Chapter III. The Rosy-Spored Agarics 236

Chapter IV. The Rusty-Spored Agarics 257

Chapter V. The Purple-Brown-Spored Agarics 307

Chapter VI. The Black-Spored Agarics 331

Chapter VII. Polyporaceae. Tube-Bearing Fungi 350

Chapter VIII. Fungi With Teeth 432

Chapter IX. Thelephoraceae 450

Chapter X. Clavariaceae—Coral Fungi 459

Chapter XI. Tremellini 477

Chapter XII. Ascomycetes—Spore-Sac Fungi 485

Chapter XIII. Nidulariaceae—Bird's Nest Fungi 517

Chapter XIV. Group Gastromycetes 522

Chapter XV. Lycoperdaceae—Puff-Balls 531

Chapter XVI. Sphaeriaceae 573

Chapter XVII. Myxomycetes 577

Chapter XVIII. Recipes for Cooking Mushrooms 582

Chapter XIX. How to Grow Mushrooms 586

Glossary 595

A Brief History of Mycologists 598


WHY STUDY MUSHROOMS. Some years ago, while in charge of the schools of Salem, Ohio, we had worked up quite a general interest in the study of botany. It was my practice to go out every day after flowers, especially the rarer ones, of which there were many in this county, and bring in specimens for the classes. There was in the city a wire nail mill, running day and night, whose proprietors brought over, from time to time, large numbers of Bohemians as workers in the mill. Very frequently, when driving to the country early in the morning, I found the boys and girls of these Bohemian families searching the woods, fields and pastures at some distance from town, although they had not been in this country more than a week or two and could not speak a word of English. I soon found that they were gathering mushrooms of various kinds and taking them home for food material. They could not tell me how they knew them, but I quickly learned that they knew them from their general characteristics,—in fact, they knew them as we know people and flowers.

I resolved to know something of the subject myself. I had no literature on mycology, and, at that time, there seemed to be little obtainable. About that time there appeared in Harper's Monthly an article by W. Hamilton Gibson upon Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms—an article which I thoroughly devoured, soon after purchasing his book upon the subject.

Salem, Ohio, was a very fertile locality for mushrooms and it was not long till I was surprised at the number that I really knew. I remembered that where there is a will there is a way.

In 1897 I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio; there I found many species which I had found about Salem, Ohio, but the extremely rich soil, heavy timber and numerous old lake beaches seemed to furnish a larger variety, so that I added many more to my list. After remaining three years in Bowling Green, making delightful acquaintance with the good people of that city as well as with the flowers and mushrooms of Wood county, Providence placed me in Sidney, Ohio, where I found many new species of fungi and renewed my acquaintance with many of those formerly met.

Since coming to Chillicothe I have tried to have the plants photographed as I have found them, but having to depend upon a photographer I could not always do this. I have not found in this vicinity many that I have found elsewhere in the state, although I have found many new things here, a fact which I attribute to the hilly nature of the county. For prints of many varieties of fungi obtained before coming here, I am indebted to my friends. I should advise any one intending to make a study of this subject to have all specimens photographed as soon as they are identified, thus fixing the species for future reference.

It seems to me that every school teacher should know something of mycology. Some of my teachers have during the past year made quite a study of this interesting subject, and I have found that their pupils kept them busy in identifying their finds. Their lists of genera and species, as exhibited on the blackboards at the close of the season were quite long. I found from my Bohemian boys and girls that their teachers in their native country had opened for them the door to this very useful knowledge. Observation has proven to me conclusively that there is a large and increasing interest in this subject throughout the greater part of Ohio.

Every professional man needs a hobby which he may mount in his hours of relaxation, and I am quite sure there is no field that offers better inducement for a canter than the subject of botany, and especially this particular department of botanical work.

I have a friend, a professional man who has an eye and a heart for all the beauties of nature. After hours of confinement in his office at close and critical work he is always anxious for a ramble over the hillsides and through the woods, and when we find anything new he seems to enjoy it beyond measure.

Many ministers of the gospel have become famous in the mycological world. The names of Rev. Lewis Schweiwitz, of Bethlehem, Pa.; Rev. M. J. Berkeley and Rev. John Stevenson, of England, will live as long as botany is known to mankind. Their influence for good and helpfulness to their fellowmen will be everlasting.

With such an inspiration, how quickly one is lost to all business cares, and how free and life-giving are the fields, the meadows and the woods, so that one must exclaim with Prof. Henry Willey in his "Introduction to the Study of the Lichen":

"If I could put my woods in song, And tell what's there enjoyed, All men would to my garden throng, And leave the cities void. In my lot no tulips blow; Snow-loving pines and oaks instead; And rank the savage maples grow, From Spring's first flush to Autumn red; My garden is a forest ledge, Which older forests bound."


HOW TO TELL MUSHROOMS FROM TOADSTOOLS. In all probability no student of mycology has any one query more frequently or persistently pressed upon his attention than the question, "How do you tell a toadstool from a mushroom?"—or if in the woods or fields, in search for new species, with an uninitiated comrade, he has frequently to decide whether a certain specimen "is a mushroom or a toadstool," so firmly fixed is the idea that one class of fungi—the toadstools—are poisonous, and the other—the mushrooms—are edible and altogether desirable; and these inquiring minds frequently seem really disappointed at being told that they are one and the same thing; that there are edible toadstools and mushrooms, and poisonous mushrooms and toadstools; that in short a toadstool is really a mushroom and a mushroom is only a toadstool after all.

Hence the questions with the beginner is, how he may tell a poisonous fungus from an edible one. There is but one answer to this question, and that is that he must thoroughly learn both genera and species, studying each till he knows its special features as he does those of his most familiar friends.

Certain species have been tested by a number of people and found to be perfectly safe and savory; on the other hand, there are species under various genera which, if not actually poisonous, are at least deleterious.

It is the province of all books on fungi to assist the student in separating the plants into genera and species; in this work special attention has been given to distinguishing between the edible and the poisonous species. There are a few species such as Gyromitra esculenta, Lepiota Morgani, Clitocybe illudens, etc., which when eaten by certain persons will cause sickness soon after eating, while others will escape any disagreeable effects. Chemically speaking, they are not poisonous, but simply refuse to be assimilated in some stomachs. It is best to avoid all such.

HOW MUSHROOMS GROW. There is a strong notion that mushrooms grow very quickly, springing up in a single night. This is erroneous. It is true that after they have reached the button stage they develop very quickly; or in the case of those that spring from a mature egg, develop so rapidly that you can plainly see the motion of the upward growth, but the development of the button from the mycelium or spawn takes time—weeks, months, and even years. It would be very difficult to tell the age of many of our tree fungi.

HOW TO LEARN MUSHROOMS. If the beginner will avoid all Amanitas and perhaps some of the Boleti he need not be much worried in regard to the safety of other species.

There are three ways by which he can become familiar with the edible kinds. The first is the physiological test suggested by Mr. Gibson in his book. It consists in chewing a small morsel and then spitting it out without swallowing the juice; if no important symptoms arise within twenty-four hours, another bit may be chewed, this time swallowing a small portion of the juice. Should no irritation be experienced after another period of waiting, a still larger piece may be tried. I always sample a new plant carefully, and thus am often able to establish the fact of its edibility before being able to locate it in its proper species. This fall I found for the first time Tricholoma columbetta; it was some time after I had proven it an edible mushroom before I had settled upon its name. A better way, perhaps, is to cook them and feed them to your cat and watch the result.

Another way is to have a friend who knows the plants go with you, and thus you learn under a teacher as a pupil learns in school. This is the quickest way to gain a knowledge of plants of any kind, but it is difficult to find a competent teacher.

Still another way, and one that is open to all, is to gain a knowledge of a few species and through their description become familiar with the terms used in describing a mushroom; this done, the way is open, if you have a book containing illustrations and descriptions of the most common plants. Do not be in a hurry to get the names of all the plants, and do not make use of any about which you are not absolutely sure. In gathering mushrooms to eat, do not put into your basket with those you intend to eat a single mushroom of whose edible qualities you have any doubt. If you have the least doubt about it, discard it, or put it in another basket.

There are no fixed rules by which you can tell a poisonous from an edible mushroom. I found a friend of mine eating Lepiota naucina, not even knowing to what genus it belonged, simply because she could peel it. I told her that the most deadly mushroom can be peeled just as readily. Nor is there anything more valuable in the silver spoon test in which Mr. Gibson's old lady put so much confidence. Some say, do not eat any that have an acrid taste; many are edible whose taste is quite acrid. Others say, do not eat any whose juice or milk is white, but this would discard a number of Lactarii that are quite good. There is nothing in the white gills and hollow stem theory. It is true that the Amanita has both, but it must be known by other characteristics. Again we are told to avoid such as have a viscid cap, or those that change color quickly; this is too sweeping a condemnation for it would cut out several very good species. I think I may safely say there is no known rule by which the good can be distinguished from the bad. The only safe way is to know each species by its own individual peculiarities—to know them as we know our friends.

The student of mycology has before him a description of each species, which must tally with the plant in hand and which will soon render him familiar with the different features of the various genera and species, so he can recognize them as readily as the features of his best friends.

WHAT ANYONE MAY EAT. In the spring of the year there comes with the earliest flowers a mushroom so strongly characteristic in all its forms that no one will fail to recognize it. It is the common morel or sponge mushroom. None of them are known to be harmful, hence here the beginner can safely trust his judgment. While he is gathering morels to eat he will soon begin to distinguish the different species of the genera. From May till frost the different kinds of puff-balls will appear. All puff-balls are good while their interior remains white. They are never poisonous, but when the flesh has begun to turn yellow it is very bitter. The oyster mushroom is found from March to December and is always a very acceptable mushroom. The Fairy Rings are easily recognized and can be found in any old pasture during wet weather from June to October. In seasonable weather they are usually very plentiful. The common meadow mushroom is found from September to frost. It is known by its pink gills and meaty cap. There is a mushroom with pink gills found in streets, along the pavements and among the cobble stones. The stems are short and the caps are very meaty. It is A. rodmani. These are found in May and June. The horse mushroom has pink gills and may be found from June to September. The Russulas, found from July to October, are generally good. A few should be avoided because of their acrid taste or their strong odor. There is no time from early spring till freezing weather when you can not find mushrooms, if the weather is at all favorable. I have given the habitat and the time when each species can be found. I should recommend a careful study of these two points. Read the descriptions of plants which grow in certain places and at certain times, and you will generally be rewarded, if you follow out the description and the season is favorable.

HOW TO PRESERVE MUSHROOMS. Many can be dried for winter use, such as the Morels, Marasmius oreades, Boletus edulis, Boletus edulis, va. clavipes, and a number of others. My wife has very successfully canned a number of species, notably Lycoperdon pyriforme, Pleurotus ostreatus and Tricholoma personatum. The mushrooms were carefully picked over and washed, let stand in salt water for about five minutes, in order to free them of any insect-life which may be in the gills, then drained, cut into pieces small enough to go into the jars easily. Each jar was packed as full as possible with mushrooms and filled up with water salt enough to flavor the mushroom properly. Then put into a kettle of cold water on the stove, the lids being loosely placed on the top, and allowed to cook for an hour or more after the water in the kettle begins to boil. The tops were then fastened on securely and after trying the jars to see if there was any leak, they were set away in a cool, dark place.

In canning puff-balls they should be carefully washed and sliced, being sure that they are perfectly white all through. They do not need to stand in salt water before packing in the jar as do those mushrooms which have gills. Otherwise they were canned as the Tricholoma and oyster mushroom. Any edible mushroom can easily be kept for winter use by canning. Use glass jars with glass tops.


SOME OF THE MOST COMMON TERMS USED. In describing mushrooms it is necessary to use certain terms, and it will be incumbent upon anyone who wishes to become familiar with this part of botanical work to understand thoroughly the terms used in describing the plants.

The substance of all mushrooms is either fleshy, membranaceous, or corky. The pileus or cap is the expanded part, which may be either sessile or supported by a stem. The pileus is not made up of cellular tissue as in flowering plants, but of myriads of interwoven threads or hyphae. This structure of the pileus will become evident at once if a thin portion of the cap is placed under the microscope.

The gills or lamellae are thin plates or membranes radiating from the stem to the margin of the cap. When they are attached squarely and firmly to the stem they are said to be adnate. If they are attached only by a part of the width of the gills, they are adnexed. Should they extend down on the stem, they are decurrent. They are free when they are not attached to the stem. Frequently the lower edge is notched at, or near, the stem and in this case they are said to be emarginate or sinuate.

In some genera the lower surface of the cap is full of pores instead of gills; in other genera the lower surface is crowded with teeth; in still others the surface is smooth, as in the Stereums. The gills, pores and teeth afford a foundation for the hymenium or fruit-bearing surface. It will be readily seen that the gills, pores and teeth simply expose in a very economical way the greatest possible spore-bearing surface.

If a section of the gills be examined by a microscope, it will be observed that upon both sides of the surface are extended hymenial layers. The hymenium consists of elongated cells or basidia (singular, basidium) more or less club-shaped. Figure 2 will show how these basidia appear on the hymenial layer when strongly magnified. It will be seen that they are placed side by side and are perpendicular to the surface of the gills. Upon each of these basidia are in some species two, usually four, slender projections upon which the spores are produced. In Figure 2 a number of sterile cells will be seen which resemble the basidia except that the latter bear four sterigmata upon which the spores rest. Among these basidia and sterile cells will frequently be seen an overgrown bladder-like sterile basidium which projects beyond the rest of the hymenium, and whose use is not as yet fully known. They are called cystidia (singular, cystidium). They are never numerous, but they are scattered over the entire surface, becoming more numerous along the edge of the gills. When they are colored, they change the appearance of the gills.

The spores are the seeds of the mushroom. They are of various sizes and shapes, with a variety of surface markings. They are very small, as fine as dust, and invisible to the naked eye, except as they are seen in masses on the grass, on the ground, or on logs, or in a spore print. It is the object of every fungus to produce spores. Some fall on the parent host or upon the ground. Others are wafted away by every rise of the wind and carried for days and finally settle down, it may be, in other states and continents from those in which they started. Millions perish because of not finding a suitable resting place. Those spores that do find a favorable resting-place, under right conditions, will begin to germinate by sending out a slender thread-like filament, or hyphae, which at once branches out in search of food material, and which always forms a more or less felted mass, called mycelium. When first formed the hyphae are continuous and ramify through the nourishing substratum from which there arises afterward a spore-bearing growth known as the sporocarp or young mushroom. This vegetative part of the fungus is usually hidden in the soil, or in decayed wood, or vegetable matter. In Figure 3 is a representation of the mycelium of the small pear-shaped puff-ball with a number of small white knobs marking the beginning of the puff-ball. The mycelium exposed here is very similar to the mycelium of all mushrooms.

In the pore-bearing genera the hymenium lines the vertical pores; in teeth-bearing fungi it lines the surface of each tooth, or is spread out over the smooth surface of the Stereum.

The development of the spores is quite interesting. The young basidia as seen in Figure 2 are filled with a granular protoplasm. Soon small projections, called sterigma (plural, sterigmata), make their appearance on the ends of the basidia and the protoplasm passes into them. Each projection or sterigma soon swells at its extremity into a bladder-like body, the young spore, and, as they enlarge, the protoplasm of the basidium is passed into them. When the four spores are full grown they have consumed all the protoplasm in the basidium. The spores soon separate by a transverse partition and fall off. All spores of the Hymenomycetous fungi are arranged and produced in a similar manner, with their spore-bearing surface exposed early in life by the rupture of the universal veil.

In the puff-balls the spores are arranged in the same way, but the hymenium is inclosed within an outer sack. When the spores are ripe the case is ruptured and the spores escape into the air as a dusty powder. The puff-balls, therefore, belong to the Gastromycetous fungi because its spores are inclosed in a pouch until they are matured.

Another very large group of fungi is the Ascomycetes, or sac fungi. It is very easily determined because all of its members develop their spores inside of small membranous sacs or asci. These asci are generally intermixed with slender, empty asci, or sterile cells, called paraphyses. These asci are variously shaped bodies and are known in different orders by different names, such as ascoma, apothecium, perithecium, and receptacle. The Ascomycetes often include among their numbers fungi ranging in size from microscopic one-celled plants to quite large and very beautiful specimens. To this group belong the great number of small fungi producing the various plant diseases.

In a work of this kind especial attention is naturally given to the order of Discomycetes or cup fungi. This order is very large and is so called because so many of the plants are cup shaped. These cups vary greatly in size and form; some are so small that it requires a lens to examine them; some are saucer-shaped; some are like goblets, and some resemble beakers of various shapes. The saddle fungi and morels belong to this order. Here the sac surface is often convoluted, lobed, and ridged, in order to afford a greater sac-bearing surface.

In the mushrooms, puff-balls, etc., we find the spores were borne on the ends of basidia, usually four spores on each. In this group the spores are formed in minute club-shaped sacs, known as asci (singular, ascus). These asci are long, cylindrical sacs, standing side by side, perpendicular to the fruiting surface. Figure 4 will illustrate their position together with the sterile cells on the fruiting surface of one of the morels. They usually have eight spores in each sac or ascus.

The stem of the mushroom is usually in the center of the cap, yet it may be eccentric or lateral; when it is wanting, the pileus is said to be sessile. The stem is solid when it is fleshy throughout, or hollow when it has a central cavity, or stuffed when the interior is filled with pithy substance. The stems are either fleshy or cartilaginous. When the former, it is of the same consistency as the pileus. If the latter, its consistency is always different from the pileus, resembling cartilage. The stem of the Tricholoma affords a good example of the fleshy stemmed mushroom, and that of the Marasmius illustrates the cartilaginous.

If the cap or stem of a mushroom is examined with a microscope of high magnifying power it will be found to be made up of a continuation of the mycelial filaments, interlaced and interwoven, branching, and the tubular filaments often delicately divided, giving the appearance of cells. Figure 5 represents a small portion of a Morel stem highly magnified showing the cell filaments. In soft fungi the mycelial threads are more loosely woven and have thin walls with fewer partitions.

The veil is a thin sheet of mycelial threads covering the gills, sometimes remaining on the stem, forming a ring or annulus. This sometimes remains for a time on the margin of the cap when it is said to be appendiculate. Sometimes it resembles a spider's web when it is called arachnoid.

The volva is a universal wrapper, surrounding the entire plant when young, but which is soon ruptured, leaving a trace in the form of scales on the cap and a sheath around the base of the stem, or breaking up into scales or a scaly ring at the base of the stem. All plants having this universal volva should be avoided, further than for the purpose of study. Care should be taken that, in their young state, they are not mistaken for puff-balls. Frequently when found in the egg state they resemble a small puff-ball. Figure 6 represents a section of an Amanita in the egg-state and also the Gemmed puff-ball. As soon as a section is made and carefully examined the structure of the inside will reveal the plant at once. There is but little danger of confusing the egg stage of an Amanita with the puff-ball, for they resemble each other only in their oval shape, and not in the least in their marking on the surface.

WHAT IS A FUNGUS OR A MUSHROOM? It is a cellular, flowerless plant, nourished by the mycelium which permeates the soil or other substances on which the fungus or mushroom grows. All fungi are either parasites or saprophytes which have lost their chlorophyll, and are incapable of supporting an independent existence.

There is a vast number of genera and species, and many have the parasitic habit which causes them to enter the bodies of other plants and of animals. For this reason all fungi are of economic importance, especially the microscopic forms classed under the head of Bacteria. Some recent writers are inclined to separate the Bacteria and slime-molds from the fungus group, and call them fungus animals. However this may be, they are true plants and have many of the characteristics of the fungi. They may differ from the fungi in their vegetative functions, yet they have so many things in common that I am inclined to place them under this group.

Many, such as the yeast fungus, the various fermentative fungi, and the Bacteria concerned in the process of decomposition, are indeed very useful. The enrichment and preparation of soils for the uses of higher plants, effected by Bacteria, are very important services.

Parasites derive their nourishment from living plants and animals. They are so constituted that when their nourishing threads come within range of the living plant they answer a certain impulse by sending out special threads, enveloping the host and absorbing nutrition. Saprophitic plants do not experience this reaction from the living plants. They are compelled to get their nourishment from decaying products of plants or animals, consequently they live in rich ground or leaf mold, on decayed wood, or on dung. Parasites are usually small, being limited by their host. Saprophytes are not thus limited for food supply and it is possible to build up large plants such as the common mushroom group, puff-balls, etc.

The spores are the seeds or reproductive bodies of the mushroom. They are very fine, and invisible to the naked eye except when collected together in great masses. Underneath mushrooms, frequently, the grass or wood will be white or plainly discolored from the spores. The hymenium is the surface or part of the plant which bears the spores. The hymenophore is the part which supports the hymenium.

In the common mushroom, and in fact many others, the spores develop on a certain club-like cell, called basidium (plural, basidia), on each of which four spores usually develop. In morels these cells are elongated into cylindrical membranous sacs called asci, in each of which eight spores are usually developed. The spores will be found of various colors, shapes, and sizes, a fact which will be of great assistance to the student in locating strange species and genera. In germination the spores send out slender threads which Botanists call mycelium, but which common readers know as spawn.

The method and place of spore development furnish a basis for the classification of fungi. The best way to acquire a thorough knowledge of both our edible and poisonous mushrooms is to study them in the light of the primary characters employed in their classification and their natural relation to each other.

There is a wide difference of opinion as to the classification of mushrooms. Perhaps the most simple and satisfactory is that of Underwood and Cook. They arrange them under six groups:

1. Basidiomycetes—those in which the spores or reproductive bodies are naked or external as shown in illustration 2 on page 15.

2. Ascomycetes—those in which the spores are inclosed in sacs or asci. These sacs are very clearly represented in illustration Figure 4 on page 18. This will include the Morels, Pezizae, Pyrenomycetes, Tuberaceae, Sphairiacei, etc.

3. Physcomycetes—including the Mucorini, Saprolegniaceae, and Peronosporeae. Potato rot and downy mildew on grape vines belong to this family.

4. Myxomycetes—Slime moulds.

5. Saccharomycetes—Yeast fungi.

6. Schizomycetes—are minute, unicellular Protophytes which reproduce mainly by transverse fission.


This class will include all gill-bearing fungi, Polyporus, Boletus, Hydnum, etc.

Fungi of this class are divided into four natural groups:

1. Hymenomycetes. 2. Gasteromycetes. 3. Uredinae. 4. Ustilagineae.


Under this group will be placed all fungi composed of membranes, fleshy, woody, or gelatinous, whether growing on the ground or on wood. The hymenium, or spore-bearing surface, is external at an early stage in the life of the plant. The spores are borne on basidia as explained in Figure 2, page 6. When the spores ripen they fall to the ground or are carried by the wind to a host that presents all the conditions necessary for germination; there they produce the mycelia or white thread-like vines that one may have noticed in plowing sod, in old chip piles, or decayed wood. If one will examine these threads there will be found small knots which will in time develop into the full grown mushroom. Hymenomycetes are divided into six families:

1. Agaricaceae. Hymenium with gills. 2. Polyporaceae. Hymenium with pores. 3. Hydnaceae. Hymenium with spines. 4. Thelephoraceae. Hymenium horizontal and mostly on the under surface. 5. Clavariaceae. Hymenium on a smooth club-shaped surface. 6. Tremellaceae. Hymenium even and superior. Gelatinous fungi.


In the Agaricaceae or common mushrooms, and in all other of similar structure, the spore-producing membranes are found on the under surface of the cap. They consist of thin lamellae, or gills, attached by the upper edge to the cap and extending from the stem to the margin of the cap. Very frequently that space may be entirely utilized by shorter lamellae, or gills, intervening between the longer, especially toward the margin of the cap. In a few species where the stem seems to be wanting, or where it is attached to the side of the cap, the lamellae, or gills, radiate from the point of attachment or from the lateral stem to other parts of the circumference of the cap. Berkeley gives the following characteristics: Hymenium, inferior, spread over easily divisible gills or plates, radiating from a center or stem, which may be either simple or branched.

This family includes the following genera:

1. Agaricus—Gills, not melting, edge acute; including all the sub-genera which have been elevated to the rank of genera.

2. Coprinus—Gills deliquescent, spores black.

3. Cortinarius—Gills persistent, veil spider-web-like, terrestrial.

4. Paxillus—Gills separating from the hymenophorum and decurrent.

5. Gomphidius—Gills branched and decurrent, pileus top-shaped.

6. Bolbitius—Gills becoming moist, spores colored.

7. Lactarius—Gills milky, terrestrial.

8. Russula—Gills equal, rigid, and brittle, terrestrial.

9. Marasmius—Gills thick, tough, hymenium dry.

10. Hygrophorus—Stem confluent with the hymenophorum; gills sharp edged.

11. Cantharellus—Gills thick, branched, rounded edge.

12. Lentinus—Pileus hairy, hard, tough; gills, tough, unequal, toothed; on logs and stumps.

13. Lenzites—Whole plant corky; gills simple or branched.

14. Trogia—Gills venose, fold-like, channelled.

15. Panus—Gills corky, with acute edge.

16. Nyctalis—Veil universal; gills broad, often parasitic.

17. Schizophyllum—Gills corky, split longitudinally.

18. Xerotus—Gills tough, fold-like.

Therefore the gill-bearing fungi are known under the family name, Agaricaceae, or more generally known as Agarics.

This family is divided into five series, according to the color of their spores. The spores when seen in masses possess certain colors, white, rosy, rusty, purple-brown and black. Therefore the first and most important part to be determined in locating a mushroom is to ascertain the color of the spores. To do this, take a fresh, perfect, and fully developed specimen, remove the stem from the cap. Place the cap with the gills downward on the surface of dark velvety paper, if you suspect the spores to be white. Invert a finger bowl or a bell glass over the cap to keep the air from blowing the spores away. If the spores should be colored, white paper should be used. If the specimen is left too long the spore deposit will continue upward between the gills and it may reach an eighth of an inch in height, in which case if great care is taken in removing the cap there will be a perfect likeness of the gills and also the color of the spores.

There are two ways of making these spore prints quite permanent. First take a piece of thin rice paper, muscilage it and allow it to dry, then proceed as above. In this way the print will stand handling quite a little. Another way, and that used to prepare the spore-prints in these photographs, is to obtain the spore-print upon Japanese paper as in the preceding method, then by an atomizer spray the print gently and carefully with a fixative such as is used in fixing charcoal drawings. Success in making spore-prints requires both time and care, but the satisfaction they give is ample recompense for the trouble. It is more difficult to obtain good prints from the white-spored mushrooms than from those bearing colored spores, because it is hard to obtain a black paper having a dull velvety surface, and the spores will not adhere well to a smooth-finished, glossy paper. For the prints illustrated I am indebted to Mrs. Blackford.

If the plant is dry it is well to moisten the fingerbowl or bell-glass on the inside before placing it over the mushroom. The spores of Boleti, and, indeed, all fungi can be caught and fixed in the same way.

From the study of these spore-prints we shall find five different colors of spores. This family is, therefore, divided into five series, determined by the color of the spores, which are always constant in color, size and shape.

The five series will be treated in the following order:

1. The white-spored Agarics. 2. The rosy-spored Agarics. 3. The rusty-spored Agarics. 4. The purple-brown-spored Agarics. 5. The black-spored Agarics.


This key is largely based upon Cooke's analytical key. Its use will help to locate the plant in hand in the genus to which it belongs.

The first thing the student should do is to determine the color of the spore if it is not evident. This is best done according to the plan described on page 15.

The plant should be fresh and mature. Careful attention should be given to different stages of development. The habit of the plant should be considered; then, as soon as the color of the spores is determined, it will be an easy matter to locate the genus by means of the key.


Mycelium floccose, giving rise to a distinct hymenium, fungus fleshy, membranaceous, woody or gelatinous. Spores naked.

Hymenium, normally inferior— Hymenium with gills Agaricaceae. Hymenium with pores Polyporaceae. Hymenium with teeth Hydnaceae. Hymenium even Thelophoraceae. Hymenium, superior— Hymenium on smooth surface, club-shaped, Clavariaceae. Hymenium lobed, convolute, gelatinous, Tremellaceae.


Hymenium inferior, pileus more or less expanded, convex, bell-shaped. Gills radiating from the point of attachment of the pileus with the stem, or from a lateral stem to other parts of the cap, simple or branched.

I. Spores white or slightly tinted. A. Plants fleshy, more or less firm, decaying soon. a. Stem fleshy, pileus easily separating from the stem. Volva present and ring on the stem. Pileus bearing warts or patches free from the cuticle Amanita. Volva present, ring wanting Amanitopsis. Pileus scaly, scales concrete with cuticle, Volva wanting, ring present Lepiota. Hymenophore confluent, Without cartilaginous bark, b. Stem central, ring present (sometimes vague), Volva wanting, gills attached Armillaria. Without a ring, Gills sinuate Tricholoma. Gills decurrent, Edges acute Clitocybe. Edges swollen Cantharellus. Gills adnate, Parasitic on other mushrooms Nyctalis. Not parasitic, Milky Lactarius. Not exuding juice when bruised, Rigid and brittle Russula. Quite viscid, waxy consistency Hygrophorus. c. Stem lateral or none, rarely central Pleurotus. d. Stem with cartilaginous bark, Gills adnate Collybia. Gills sinuate Mycena. Gills decurrent Omphalia. Plants tough, fleshy, membranaceous, leathery, Stem central, Gills simple Marasmius. Gills branched Xerotus. B. Plants gelatinous and leathery Heliomyces. Stem lateral or wanting, Edge of gills serrate Lentinus. Edge of gills entire Panus. Gills fold-like, irregular Trogia. Edge of gills split longitudinally Schizophyllum. C. Plants corky or woody, Gills anastomosing. Lenzites.

II. Spores rosy or salmon color. A. Stem central. Gills free, stem easily separating from pileus. Without cartilaginous stem, Volva present and distinct, no ring Volvaria. Without a volva, with a ring Annularia. Without a volva and without a ring Pluteus. B. Stem fleshy to fibrous, margin of pileus at first incurved, Gills sinuate or adnate Entoloma. Gills decurrent Clitopilus. C. Stem eccentric or none, pileus lateral Claudopus. Gills decurrent, pileus umbilicate Eccilia. Gills not decurrent, pileus torn into scales, and slightly convex, margin at first involute Leptonia. Pileus bell-shaped, margin at first straight Nolanea.

III. Spores rusty-brown or yellow-brown. A. Stem not cartilaginous, a. Stem central, With a ring, Ring continuous Pholiota. Veil arachnoid, Gills adnate, powdery from spores Cortinarius. Gills decurrent or adnate, mostly epiphytal Flammula. Gills somewhat sinuate, cuticle of the pileus silky, or bearing fibrils Inocybe. Cuticle smooth, viscid Hebeloma. Gills separating from the hymenophore and decurrent Paxillus. b. Stem lateral or absent Crepidotus. B. Stem cartilaginous, Gills decurrent Tubaria. Gills not decurrent, Margin of the pileus at first incurved Naucoria. Margin of pileus always straight, Hymenophore free Pluteolus. Hymenophore confluent Galera. Gills dissolving into a gelatinous condition Bolbitius.

IV. Spores purple-brown. A. Stem not cartilaginous, Pileus easily separating from the stem, Volva present, ring wanting Chitonia. Volva and ring wanting Pilosace. Volva wanting, ring present Agaricus. Gills confluent, ring present on stem Stropharia. Ring wanting, veil remaining attached to margin of pileus Hypholoma. B. Stem cartilaginous, Gills decurrent Deconia. Gills not decurrent, margin of pileus at first incurved Psilocybe. Margin of pileus at first straight Psathyra.

V. Black spored mushrooms. Gills deliquescent Coprinus. Gills not deliquescent, Gills decurrent Gomphidius. Gills not decurrent, pileus striate Psathyrella. Pileus not striate, ring wanting, veil often present on margin Panaeolus. Ring wanting, veil appendiculate Chalymotta. Ring present Anellaria.



The species bearing the white spores seem to be higher in type than those producing colored spores. Most of the former are firmer, while the black spored specimens soon deliquesce. The white spores are usually oval, sometimes round, and in many cases quite spiny. All white-spored specimens will be found in clean places.

Amanita. Pers.

Amanita is supposed to be derived from Mount Amanus, an ancient name of a range separating Cilicia from Syria. It is supposed that Galen first brought specimens of this fungus from that region.

The genus Amanita has both a volva and veil. The spores are white and the stem is readily separable from the cap. The volva is universal at first, enveloping the young plant, yet distinct and free from the cuticle of the pileus.

This genus contains some of the most deadly poisonous mushrooms, although a few are known to be very good. There is a large number of species—about 75 being known, 42 of which have been found in this country—a few being quite common in this state. All the Amanita are terrestrial plants, mostly solitary in their habits, and chiefly found in the woods, or in well wooded grounds.

In the button stage it resembles a small egg or puff-ball, as will be seen in Figure 6, page 11, and great care should be taken to distinguish it from the latter, if one is hunting puff-balls to eat; yet the danger is not great, since the volva usually breaks before the plant comes through the ground.

Amanita phalloides. Fr.


Phalloides means phallus-like. This plant and its related species are deadly poisonous. For this reason the plant should be carefully studied and thoroughly known by every mushroom hunter. In different localities, and sometimes in the same locality, the plant will appear in very different shades of color. There are also variations in the way in which the volva is ruptured, as well as in the character of the stem.

The beginner will imagine he has a new species often, till he becomes thoroughly acquainted with all the idiosyncrasies of this plant.

The pileus is smooth, even, viscid when young and moist, frequently adorned with a few fragments of the volva, white, grayish white, sometimes smoky-brown; whether the pileus be white, oyster-color or smoky-brown, the center of the cap will be several shades darker than the margin. The plant changes from a knob or egg-shape when young, to almost flat when fully expanded. Many plants have a marked umbo on the top of the cap and the rim of the cap may be slightly turned up.

The gills are always white, wide, ventricose, rounded next to the stem, and free from it.

The stem is smooth, white unless in cases where the cap is dark, then the stem of those plants are apt to be of the same color, tapering upward as in the specimen (Fig. 11); stuffed, then hollow, inclined to discolor when handled.

The volva of this species is quite variable and more or less buried in the ground, where careful observation will reveal it.

One need never confound this species with the meadow mushroom, for the spores of that are always purple-brown, while a spore-print of this will always reveal white spores. I have seen a slight tint of pink in the gills of the A. phalloides but the spores were always white. Until one knows thoroughly both Lepiota naucina and A. phalloides before eating the former he should always hunt carefully for the remains of a volva and a bulbous base in the soil.

This plant is quite conspicuous and inviting in all of its various shades of color. It is found in woods, and along the margin of woods, and sometimes on lawns. It is from four to eight inches high and the pileus from three to five inches broad. There is a personality about the plant that renders it readily recognizable after it has once been learned. Found from August to October.

Amanita recutita. Fr.


Recutita, having a fresh or new skin. Pileus convex, then expanded, dry, smooth, often covered with small scales, fragments of the volva; margin almost even, gray or brownish.

The gills forming lines down the stem.

The stem stuffed, then hollow, attenuated upward, silky, white, ring distant, edge of volva not free, frequently obliterated.

Rather common where there is much pine woods. August to October.

This species differs from A. porphyria in ring not being brown or brownish.

Amanita virosa. Fr.


Virosa, full of poison. The pileus is from four to five inches broad; the entire plant white, conical, then expanded; viscid when moist; margin often somewhat lobed, even.

The gills are free, crowded.

The stem is frequently six inches long, stuffed, round, with a bulbous base, attenuated upward, squamulose, ring near apex, volva large, lax.

The spores are subglobose, 8-10u. This is probably simply a form of A. phalloides. It is found in damp woods. August to October.

Amanita muscaria. Linn.


Muscaria, from musca, a fly. The fly Amanita is a very conspicuous and handsome plant. It is so called because infusions of it are used to kill flies. I have frequently seen dead flies on the fully developed caps, where they had sipped of the dew upon the cap, and, like the Lotos-eaters of old, had forgotten to move away. It is a very abundant plant in the woods of Columbiana county, this state. It is also found frequently in many localities about Chillicothe. It is often a very handsome and attractive plant, because of the bright colors of the cap in contrast with the white stem and gills, as well as the white scales on the surface of the cap. These scales seem to behave somewhat differently from those of other species of Amanita. Instead of shrivelling, curling, and falling off they are inclined to adhere firmly to the smooth skin of the pileus, turning brownish, and in the maturely expanded plant appear like scattered drops of mud which have dried upon the pileus, as you will observe in Figure 13.

The pileus is three to five inches broad, globose at first, then dumb-bell in shape, convex, then expanded, nearly flat in age; margin in matured plants slightly striate; the surface of the cap is covered with white floccose scales, fragments of the volva, these scales being easily removed so that old plants are frequently comparatively smooth. The color of the young plant is normally red, then orange to pale yellow; late in the season, or in old plants, it fades to almost white. The flesh is white, sometimes stained yellow close to the cuticle.

The gills are pure white, very symmetrical, various in length, the shorter ones terminating under the cap very abruptly, crowded, free, but reaching the stem, decurrent in the form of lines somewhat broader in front, sometimes a slight tinge of yellow will be observed in the gills.

The stem is white, often yellowish with age, pithy and often hollow, becoming rough and shaggy, finally scaly, the scales below appearing to merge into the form of an obscure cup, the stem four to six inches long.

The veil covers the gills of the young plant and later is seen as a collar-like ring on the stem, soft, lax, deflexed, in old specimens it is often destroyed. The spores are white and broadly elliptical.

The history of this plant is as interesting as a novel. Its deadly properties were known to the Greeks and Romans. The pages of history record its undoing and its accessory to crime. Pliny says, alluding to this species, "very conveniently adapted for poisoning." This was undoubtedly the species that Agrippina, the mother of Nero, used to poison her husband, the Emperor Claudius; and the same that Nero used in that famous banquet when all his guests, his tribunes and centurions, and Agrippina herself, fell victims to its poisonous properties.

However, it is said this mushroom is habitually eaten by certain people as an intoxicant; indeed, it is used in Kamchatka and Asiatic Russia, generally, where the Amanita drunkard takes the place of the opium fiend and the alcohol bibber in other countries. By reading Colonel George Kennan in his "Tent-life in Siberia," and Cooke's "Seven Sisters of Sleep," you will find a full description of the toxic employment of this fungus which will far surpass any possible imagination.

It caused the death of the Czar Alexis of Russia; also Count de Vecchi, with a number of his friends, in Washington in 1896. He was in search of the Orange Amanita and found this, and the consequences were serious.

In size, shape, and color of the cap there is similarity, but in other respects the two are very different. They may be contrasted as follows:

Orange Amanita, edible.—Cap smooth, gills yellow, stem yellow, wrapper persistent, membranaceous, white.

Fly Amanita, poisonous.—Cap warty, gills white, stem white, or slightly yellowish, wrapper soon breaking into fragments or scales, white or sometimes yellowish brown.

Found along roadsides, wood margins, and in thin woods. It prefers poor soil, and is more abundant where poplar and hemlock grow. From June to frost.

Amanita Frostiana. Pk.


Frostiana, named in honor of Charles C. Frost.

The pileus is convex, expanded, bright orange or yellow, warty, sometimes smooth, striate on the margin, pileus one to three inches broad.

The gills are free, white, or slightly tinged with yellow.

The stem is white or yellow, stuffed, bearing a slight, sometimes evanescent, ring, bulbous, at the base, the bulb slightly margined by the volva. The spores globose, 8-10u in diameter. Peck.

Great care should be taken to distinguish this species from A. caesarea because of its often yellow stem and gills. I found some beautiful specimens on Cemetery Hill and on Ralston's Run. It is very poisonous and should be carefully avoided, or rather, it should be thoroughly known that it may be avoided. The striations on the margin of its yellow tinge might lead one to mistake it for the Orange Amanita. It is found in shady woods and sometimes in open places where there is underbrush. June to October.

Amanita verna. Bull.


Verna, pertaining to spring. This species is considered by some only a white variety of Amanita phalloides. The plant is always a pure white. It can only be distinguished from the white form of the A. phalloides by its closer sheathing volva and perhaps a more ovate pileus when young.

The pileus is at first ovate, then expanded, somewhat depressed, viscid when moist, even, margin naked, smooth. The gills are free.

The stem is stuffed, with advancing age hollow, equal, floccose, white, ringed, base bulbous, volva closely embracing the stem with its free margin, ring forming a broad collar, reflexed. The spores are globose, 8u broad.

This species is very abundant on the wooded hills in this section of the state. Its pure white color makes it an attractive plant, and it should be carefully learned. I have found it before the middle of June.

Amanita magnivelaris. Pk.


Magnivelaris is from magnus, large; velum, a veil.

The pileus is convex, often nearly plane, with even margin, smooth, slightly viscid when moist, white or yellowish-white.

The gills are free, close, white.

The stem is long, nearly equal, white, smooth, furnished with a large mebranaceous volva, the bulbous base tapering downward and rooting. The spores are broadly elliptical.

This species very closely resembles Amanita verna, from which it can be distinguished by its large, persistent annulus, the elongated downward-tapering bulb of its stem, and, especially, by its elliptical spores.

It is found solitary and in the woods. I found several on Ralston's Run under beech trees. Found from July to October.

Amanita pellucidula. Ban.

Pileus at first campanulate, then expanded, slightly viscid, fleshy in center, attenuated at the margin; color a smooth bright red, deeper at the top, shaded into clear transparent yellow at the margin; glossy, flesh white, unchanging.

The gills are ventricose, free, numerous, yellow.

The stem is stuffed, ring descending, fugacious. Peck's 44th Report.

This species differs from Amanita caesarea in having an even margin and a white stem. It is only a form of the caesarea. The white stem will attract the attention of the collector.

Amanita solitaria. Bull.


Solitary, growing alone. I have found this plant in various parts of the state and have always found them growing alone. In Poke Hollow, where I found the specimens in the illustrations, I found several on the hillside on different occasions, but I have never found them growing in groups. It is quite large in size, white or whitish, very woolly or floccose. Usually the cap, stem, and the gills are covered with a floccose substance which will serve to identify the species. This fluffy exterior adheres readily to your hands or clothing. The cap is sometimes tinged with brown, but the flesh is white and smells quite strong, not unlike chloride of lime. The annulus is frequently torn from the stem and is found adhering to the margin of the cap.

The pileus is from three to five inches broad, or more, when fully expanded, at first globose to hemispherical, as will be seen in Figures 17 and 18, convex, or plane, warty, white or whitish, the pointed scales being easily rubbed off, or washed off by heavy rains, these scales varying in size from small granules to quite large conical flakes, and differing in condition and color in different plants.

The gills are free, or are not attached by the upper part, the edges are frequently floccose where they are torn from the slight connection with the upper surface of the veil; white, or slightly tinged with cream-color, broad.

The stem is four to eight inches high, solid, becoming stuffed when old, bulbous, rooting deep in the soil, very scaly, ventricose sometimes in young plants, white, very mealy. Volva friable. Ring, large, lacerated, usually hanging to the margin of the cap, but in Figure 19 it adheres to the stem.

This is a large and beautiful plant in the woods, and easily identified because of its floccose nature and the large bulb at the base of the stem. It is not so warty and the odor is not nearly so strong as the Amanita strobiliformis. It is edible but very great caution should be used to be sure of your species. Found from July to October in woods and roadsides.

Amanita radicata. Pk.

Radicata means furnished with a root. The root of the specimen in Figure 20 was broken off in getting it out of the ground.

The pileus is subglobose, becoming convex, dry, verrucose, white, margin even, flesh firm, white, odor resembling that of chloride of lime.

The gills are close, free, white.

The stem is solid, deeply radicating, swollen at the base or bulbous, floccose or mealy at the top, white; veil thin, floccose, or mealy, white, soon lacerated and attached in fragments to the margin of the pileus or evanescent. The spores are broadly elliptic, 7.5-10u long, 6-7u broad. Peck.

This is quite a large and beautiful plant, very closely related to Amanita strobiliformis, but readily distinguished from it because of its white color, its clearly radiating stem, and small spores. The stem shows to be bulbous and the cap covered with warts. I found the plant frequently in Poke Hollow and on Ralston's Run. July and August.

Amanita strobiliformis. Fr.


Strobiliformis means fir-cone form; so called from the similarity of its undeveloped form to that of the strobile of the pine.

The pileus is six to eight inches broad, when young, subglobose, then convex, expanded, nearly plane, with persistent warts, white, ash-color, sometimes yellow on the cap, the margin even and extending beyond the gills; warts hard, angular, pointed, white; flesh white, compact.

The gills are free, crowded, rounded, white, becoming yellow.

The stem is five to eight inches long, frequently longer, tapering upward, floccosely scaly, bulbous, rooting beyond the bulb; ring large, torn; volva forming concentric rings. The spores are 13-14x8-9u.

This is one of the most stately plants in the woods. It is said to be edible, but the strong pungent odor, like chloride of lime, has deterred me from eating it. This, however, is said to disappear in cooking. It grows to be very large. Dr. Kellerman and I found a specimen in Haynes's Hollow whose stem measured over eleven inches, and cap nine inches. It is found in open woods and wood margins. Great caution should be used before the plant is eaten to know it beyond doubt. Found July to October.

Amanita mappa. Fr.


Mappa means a napkin, so called from the volva. The pileus is two to three inches broad, convex, then expanded, plane, obtuse or depressed, without separable cuticle; margin nearly even; white or yellowish, usually with patches of the volva dry.

The gills are adnexed, close, narrow, shining, white.

The stem is two to three inches long, stuffed, then hollow, cylindrical, nearly smooth, bulbous, nearly globose at the base, white, almost equal above the bulb.

The volva with its free margin is acute and narrow. The ring is membranaceous, superior, soft, lax, ragged.

Its color is quite as variable and its habits are much like A. phalloides, from which it can only be distinguished by its less developed volva, which, instead of being cup-shaped, is little more than a mere rim fringing the bulb. The odor at times is very strong. It is found in open woods and under brush. Label it poisonous.

Amanita crenulata. Pk.

Crenulata means bearing notches, referring to the crenulate form of the gills, which are very distinct.

The pileus is thin, two to two and a half inches broad, broadly ovate, becoming convex, or nearly plane, somewhat striate on the margin, adorned with a few thin whitish floccose warts or with whitish flocculent patches, whitish or grayish, sometimes tinged with yellow.

The gills are close, reaching the stem, and sometimes forming decurrent lines upon it, floccose crenulate on the edge, the short ones truncate at the inner extremity, white.

The stem is equal, bulbous, floccose mealy above, stuffed or hollow, white, the annulus slight, evanescent. Spores broadly elliptic or subglobose, 7.5-10 long, nearly as broad, usually containing a single large nucleus. Peck, Bull. Tor. Bot. Club.

The stem is bulbous at the base but the volva is rarely seen upon it although slight patches are frequently seen on the pileus. The ring is very evanescent and soon disappears. The specimens I have received from Mrs. Blackford look good enough to eat and she speaks highly of the edible qualities of this species. So far as I know this plant is confined to the New England states. Found from September to November. It grows in low damp ground under trees.

Amanita cothurnata. Atkinson.


Cothurnata means buskined; from corthunus, a high shoe or buskin worn by actors. This species is easily separated from the other Amanitas. I shall give Prof. Atkinson's description of it in full: "The pileus is fleshy and passes from nearly globose to hemispherical, convex, expanded, and when specimens are very old sometimes the margin is elevated. It is usually white, though specimens are found with a tinge of citron yellow in the center or of tawny yellow in the center of other specimens. The pileus is viscid, strongly so when moist. It is finely striate on the margin, and covered with numerous, white, floccose scales from the upper half of the volva, forming more or less dense patches, which may wash off in heavy rains.

The gills are rounded next the stem, and quite remote from it. The edge of the gills is often eroded or frazzly from the torn-out threads with which they were loosely connected to the upper side of the veil in the young or button stage. The spores are globose or nearly so, with a large "nucleus" nearly filling the spore.

The stem is cylindrical, even, and expanded below into quite a large oval bulb, the stem just above the bulb being margined by a close-fitting roll of the volva, and the upper edge of this presenting the appearance of having been sewed at the top like the rolled edge of a garment or buskin. The surface of the stem is minutely floccose, scaly or strongly so, and decidedly hollow even from a very young stage or sometimes when young with loose threads in the cavity.

A. cothurnata resembles in many points A. frostiana and it will afford the collector a very interesting study to note the points of difference. I found the two species growing on Cemetery Hill. Figure 26 is from plants collected in Michigan and photographed by Dr. Fisher. Found in September and October.

Amanita rubescens. Fr.


Rubescens is from rubesco, to become red. It is so called because of the dingy reddish color of the entire plant, and also because when the plant is handled or bruised it quickly changes to a reddish color. It is often a large bulky plant and rather uninviting.

The pileus is four to six inches broad, dingy reddish, often becoming pale flesh color, fleshy, oval to convex, then expanded; sprinkled with small pale warts, unequal, mealy, scattered, white, easily separating; margin even, faintly striate, especially in wet weather; flesh soft, white, becoming red when broken.

The gills are white or whitish, free from the stem but reaching it and forming at times decurrent lines upon it, thin, crowded.

The stem is four or five inches long, nearly cylindrical, solid, though inclined to be soft within, tapering from the base up, with a bulbous base which often tapers abruptly below, containing reddish scales, color dull red. It has seldom any distinct evidence of a volva at the base but abundant evidence on the cap. Ring large, superior, white, and fragile.

The plant is quite variable in color, sometimes becoming almost white with a slight reddish or brownish tint. The strong distinguishing character of the species is the almost entire absence of any remains of the volva at the base of the stem. By this, and by the dull red hues and the bruised portions quickly changing to a reddish color, it is easily distinguished from any of the poisonous Amanitas.

According to Cordier it is largely used as an article of food in France. Stevenson and Cooke speak well of it. I noticed the small Bohemian boys gathered it about Salem, Ohio, not having been in this country more than a week and not being able to speak a word of English. It convinced me that it was an article of diet in Bohemia and that our species is similar to theirs. I have found the plants in woods about Bowling Green and Sidney, Ohio. The plants in Figure 27 were collected on Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio, and photographed by Dr. Kellerman. It is found from June to September.

Amanita aspera. Fr.


Aspera means rough. The pileus is convex, then plane; warts minute, somewhat crowded, nearly persistent; margin even, rather thin, increasing in thickness toward the stem; scarcely umbonate, reddish with various tints of livid and gray; flesh rather solid, white, with tints of reddish-brown immediately next to the epidermis.

The gills are free, with sometimes a little tooth behind, running down the stem, white, broad in front.

The stem is white, squamulose, bulb rugulose, ring superior and entire. The spores are 8x6u.

When the flesh is bruised or eaten by insects it assumes a reddish-brown color, and in this respect it resembles A. rubescens. The odor is strong but the taste is not unpleasant. In woods from June till October. The collector should be sure he knows the plant before he eats it.

Amanita caesarea. Scop.


The Orange Amanita is a large, attractive, and beautiful plant. I have marked it edible, but no one should eat it unless he is thoroughly acquainted with all the species of the genus Amanita, and then with great caution. It is said to have been Caesar's favorite mushroom. The pileus is smooth, hemispherical, bell-shaped, convex, and when fully expanded nearly flat, the center somewhat elevated and the margin slightly curved downward; red or orange, fading to yellow on the margin; usually the larger and well-developed specimens have the deeper and richer color, the color being always more marked in the center of the pileus; margin distinctly striate; gills rounded at the stem end and not attached to the stem, yellow, free and straight. The color of the gills of matured plants usually is an index to the color of the spores but it is an exception in this case as the spores are white.

The stem and the flabby membranaceous collar that surrounds it toward the top are yellow like the gills, the depth of the color varying more with the size of the plant than is the case with color of the cap. Sometimes in small and inferior plants the color of both stem and gills is nearly white, and if the volva is not distinct it is difficult to distinguish it from the fly mushroom, which is very poisonous. The stem is hollow, with a soft cottony pith in the young plants.

In very young plants the edge of the collar is attached to the margin of the cap and conceals the gills, but with the upward growth of the stem and the expansion of the cap the collar separates from the margin and remains attached to the stem, where it hangs down upon it like a ruffle.

The expanded cap is usually from three to six inches broad, the stem from four to six inches long and tapering upward.

When in the button stage, the plant is ovate; and the white color of the volva, which now entirely surrounds the plant, presents an appearance much like a hen's egg in size, color, and shape. As the parts within develop, the volva ruptures in its upper part, the stem elongates and carries upward the cap, while the remains of the volva surrounds the base of the stem in the form of a cup.

When the volva first breaks at the apex, it reveals the point of the cap with its beautiful red color and in contrast with the white volva makes quite a pretty plant, but with advancing age the red or orange red fades to a yellow. In drying the specimens the red often entirely disappears. In young, as well as in old plants, the margin is often prominently marked with striations, as will be seen in Figures 28 and 29. The flesh of the plant is white but more or less stained with yellow next to the epidermis and the gills, which are of that color.

The plant grows in wet weather from July to October. It grows in thin woods and seems to prefer pine woods and sandy soil. I have found it from the south tier of counties to the north of our state. It is not, however, a common plant in Ohio.

From its several names—Caesar's Agaric, Imperial Mushroom, Cibus Deorum, Kaiserling—one would infer that for ages it had been held in high esteem as an esculent.

Too great caution cannot be used in distinguishing it from the very poisonous fly mushroom.

Amanita spreta. Pk.


Spreta, hated. The pileus at first is nearly ovate, slightly umbonate, then convex, smooth, sometimes fragments of the volva adhering, the margin striate, whitish or pale-brown toward and on the umbo, soft, dry, more or less furrowed on the margin.

The flesh is white, thin on the edges, and increasing in thickness toward the center. Gills close, white, reaching the stem.

The stem is equal, smooth, annulate, stuffed or hollow, whitish, finely striate at the top from the decurrent lines of the gills, not bulbous at the base, the volva rather large and inclined to yellowish color. The spores are elliptical.

The plant resembles the dark forms of the Amanitopsis in having the marked striations and the entire and closely fitting volva at the base, but can be easily distinguished by its ring. I found it on Cemetery Hill in company with the Amanitopsis. It does not seem to root as deep in the ground as the Amanitopsis. It is very poisonous and should be carefully studied so that it may be readily recognized and avoided.

It is found in open woods from July to September.

Amanitopsis. Roze.

Amanitopsis is from Aminita and opsis, resembling; so called because it resembles the Amanita. The principal feature wherein the genus differs from the Amanita is the absence of a collar on the stem. Its species are included among the Amanita by many authors. The spores are white. The gills are free from the stem, and it has a universal veil at first completely enveloping the young plant, which soon breaks it, carrying remnants of it on the pileus, where they appear as scattered warts. It differs from the Lepiota in having a volva.

Amanitopsis vaginata. Bull.


Vaginata—from vagina, a sheath. The plant is edible but should be used with very great caution. It is quite variable in color, ranging from white to mouse color, brownish or yellowish.

The pileus is ovate at first, bell-shaped, then convex and expanded, thin, quite fragile, smooth, when young with a few fragments of the volva adhering to its surface, deeply and distinctly striate.

The gills are free, white, then pallid, ventricose, broadest in front, irregular. The flesh is white, but in the darker forms stained under the easily separating skin. The spores are white and nearly round, 7-10u.

The stem is cylindrical, even or slightly tapering upward, hollow or stuffed, smooth or sprinkled with downy scales, not bulbous at the base.

The volva is long, thin, fragile, forming a permanent sheath which is quite soft and readily adheres to the base of the stem.

The striations on the margin are deep and distinct, as in the Orange Amanita. The cup is quite regular but it is fragile, easily broken and usually deep in the ground. In some plants a slight umbo is developed at the center.

The mushroom-eater wants to distinguish very carefully between this species and Amanita spreta, which is very poisonous.

It is found in woods, in open places where there is much vegetable mould, sometimes found in stubble and pastures, especially in meadows under trees. Found from June to November.

The plant varies considerably in color, and there are several varieties, separable by means of their color:

A. vaginata, var. alba. The whole plant is white.

A. vaginata var. fulva. The cap tawny yellow or pale ochraceous.

A. vaginata var. livida. The cap leaden brown; gills and stem tinged with smoky brown.

Amanitopsis strangulata. Fr.


Strangulata means choked, from the stuffed stem. The pileus is two to four inches broad, soon plane, livid-bay or gray, with patches of the volva, margin striate or grooved.

The gills are free, white, close.

The stem is stuffed, silky above, scaly below, slightly tapering upwards. The volva soon breaking up, forming several ring-like ridges on the stem. The spores are globose, 10-13u.

This is a synonym for A. ceciliae. B. and Br. and perhaps nothing more than a vigorous growth of Amanitopsis vaginata. It has almost no odor and a sweet taste and cooks deliciously.

Found in the woods and in open places from August to October.

Lepiota. Fr.

Lepiota means a scale. In the Lepiota the gills are typically free from the stem, as in Amanita and Amanitopsis, but they differ in having no superficial or removable warts on the cap, and no sheathing or scaly remains of a volva at the base of the stem. In some species the epidermis of the cap breaks into scales which persistently adhere to the cap, and this feature, indeed, suggests the name of the genus, which is derived from the Latin word lepis, a scale.

The stem is hollow or stuffed, its flesh being distinct from the pileus and easily separable from it. There are a number of edible species.

Lepiota procera. Scop.


Procera means tall.

The pileus is thin, strongly umbonate, adorned with brown spot-like scales.

The gills are white, sometimes yellowish-white, free, remote from the stem, broad and crowded, ventricose, edge sometimes brownish.

The stem is very long, cylindrical, hollow or stuffed, even, very long in proportion to its thickness and is, therefore, suggestive of the specific name, procera. The ring is rather thick and firm, though in mature plants it becomes loosened and movable on the stem. This and the form of the plant suggest the name, parasol. The cap is from three to five inches broad and the stem from five to nine inches high. I found one specimen among fallen timber that was eleven inches tall and whose cap was six inches broad.

It has a wide distribution. It is found in all parts of Ohio but is not abundant anywhere. It is a favorite with those who have eaten it, and, indeed, it is a delicious morsel when quickly broiled over coals, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, butter melted in the gills and served on toast. This mushroom is especially free from grubs and it can be dried for winter use.

There is no poisonous species with which one is likely to confound it. The very tall, slender stem with a bulbous base, the very peculiar spotted cap with the prominent dark colored umbo and the movable ring on the stem, are ear-marks sufficient to identify this species.

Spores white and elliptical, 14x10u. Lloyd. It is found in pastures, stubble, and among fallen timber. July to October.

I am indebted to C. G. Lloyd for the photograph given here.

Lepiota naucina. Fr.


Pileus soft, smooth, white or smoky-white; gills free, white, slowly changing with age to a dirty pinkish-brown color; stem annulate, slightly thickened at the base, attenuated upward, clothed with fibres pure white. The Smooth Lepiota is generally very regular in shape and of a pure white color. The central part of the cap is sometimes tinged with yellow or a smoky white hue. Its surface is nearly always very smooth and even. The gills are somewhat narrower toward the stem than they are in the middle. They are rounded and not attached to the stem.

Cap two to four inches broad; stem two to three inches long. It grows in clean grassy places in lawn, pastures, and along roadsides. I have seen the roadside white with this species around Sidney, Ohio. The specimens represented in figure were found in Chillicothe, August to November.

This is one of the best mushrooms, not inferior to the meadow mushroom. It has this advantage over the former that the gills retain their white color and do not pass from a pink to a repulsive black. The halftone and the description ought to make the plant known to the most casual reader.

Lepiota americana. Pk.


This plant is quite common about Chillicothe, especially upon sawdust piles. It grows both singly and in clusters. The umbonate cap is adorned with reddish or reddish-brown scales except on the center where the color is uniformly reddish or reddish-brown because the surface is not broken up into scales; gills close, free, white, ventricose; stem smooth, enlarged at the base. In some plants the base of the stem is abnormally large; ring white, inclined to be delicate.

Wounds and bruises are apt to assume brownish-red hues. Dr. Herbst says: "This is truly an American plant, not being found in any other country. This is the pride of the family. There is nothing more beautiful than a cluster of this fungi. To look over the beautiful scaly pileus is a sight equally as fascinating as a covey of quail."

Found in grassy lawns and on old sawdust piles, in common with Pluteus cervinus. It is found almost all over the state. It is quite equal to the Parasol mushroom in flavor. It has a tendency to turn the milk or cream in which it is cooked to a reddish color. It is found from June to October. Mr. Lloyd suggests the name Lepiota Bodhami. It is the same as the European plant L. haematosperma. Bull.

Lepiota Morgani. Pk.


Pileus fleshy, soft, at first subglobose, then expanded or even depressed, white, the brownish or yellowish cuticule breaking up into scales on the disk; gills close, lanceolate, remote, white, then green; stem firm, equal or tapering upward, subbulbous, smooth, webby-stuffed, whitish tinged with brown; ring rather large, movable as you will observe in Figure 35. Flesh of both pileus and stem white, changing to a reddish, then to yellowish hue when cut or bruised. Spores ovate or subelliptical, mostly uninucleate, sordid green. 10-13x7-8. Peck.

This plant is very abundant about Chillicothe and I found it equally so at Sidney. I have known several families to eat of it, making about half of the children in each family sick. I regard it as a dangerous plant to eat. It grows very large and I have seen it growing in well marked rings a rod in diameter. If you are in doubt whether the plant you have is Morgani or not, let it remain in the basket over night and you will plainly see that the gills are turning green. The gills are white until the spores begin to fall. The plant is found in pastures and sometimes in pasture woods. June to October.

Lepiota granulosa. Batsch.


Granulosa—from granosus, full of grains. Pileus thin, convex or nearly plain, sometimes almost umbonate, rough, with numerous granular scales, often radiately wrinkled, rusty-yellow or reddish-yellow, often growing paler with age. Flesh white or reddish tinged. Gills close, rounded behind and usually slightly adnexed, white. Stem equal or slightly thickened at the base, stuffed or hollow, white above the ring, colored and adorned like the pileus below it. Ring slight and evanescent. Spores elliptical, .00016 to .0002 inch long, .00012 to .00014 inch broad.

Plant one to two and one-fifth inches high; pileus one to two and one-fifth inches broad; stem one to three lines thick. Common in woods, copses, and waste places. August to October.

"This is a small species with a short stem and granular reddish-yellow pileus, and gills slightly attached to the stem. The annulus is very small and fugacious, being little more than the abrupt termination to the coating of the stem. The species was formerly made to include several varieties which are now regarded as distinct."—Peck's Report.

Found in the open woods about Salem, Ohio. The plant is small but quite meaty and of a pleasing quality.

Lepiota cristatella. Pk.

Pileus thin, convex, subumbonate, minutely mealy, especially on the margin, white disk slightly tinged with pink.

Gills close, rounded behind, free, white; stem slender, whitish, hollow; spores subelliptical, .0002 inch long.

Mossy places in woods. October.—Peck's Report. No one will fail to recognize the crested Lepiota the moment he sees it. It has many of the ear marks of the Lepiota family.

Lepiota granosa. Morg.

Granosa means covered with granules.

The pileus is convex, obtuse or umbonate, even, radiately rugose-wrinkled, generally even and regular on the margin, reddish-yellow or light bay.

The gills are attached to the stem, slightly decurrent, somewhat crowded, whitish, then reddish-yellow.

The stem is thickened at the base, tapering toward the cap, flesh of the stem is yellow. The veil is membranous and forms a persistent ring on the stem.

It grows on decayed wood. I found it in large quantities, and tried to make it L. granulosa, but I found it fit better L. amianthinus, which it resembles very closely, but it is much larger and its habit is not the same. I was not satisfied with this description and sent the specimens to Prof. Atkinson, who set me right. It is a beautiful plant found on decayed wood in September and October.

Lepiota cepaestipes. Sow.


Cepaestipes is from cepa, an onion and stipes, a stem, Pileus is thin at first ovate, then bell-shaped or expanded, umbonate, soon adorned with numerous minute brownish scales, which are often granular or mealy, folded into lines on the margin, white or yellow, the umbo darker.

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