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1. Phlegacium = clammy moisture. In this tribe the cap is fleshy and
sticky (viscous), while the stem is firm and dry. In all Cortinarii the
gills become cinnamon-colored. There are many large-sized mushrooms in
this tribe, the cap sometimes measuring 6 inches across.

2. Myxacium = mucous. This tribe has the stem sticky (viscous), and the
universal veil is glutinous. The cap is fleshy but thin. Gills attached
to stem and decurrent.

3. Inoloma = fibre and fringe. It contains distinguished species. The
cap is at first silky, with innate scales or fibrils, is equally fleshy
and dry. The stem is fleshy and rather bulbous.

4. Dermocybe = skin and head. The cap and stem are both thinner in this
tribe than in Inoloma. The pileus becomes thin when old, and is dry, not
moist. It is at first silky. The color of the gills is changeable, which
makes it hard to distinguish the species.

5. Telamonia = lint. Pileus moist; at first smooth or sprinkled with
superficial whitish fibres of the veil. Flesh thin, or becoming so
abruptly at the margin; the veil is somewhat double, which is a
distinguishing characteristic of this tribe.

6. Hygrocybe = moist and head. Cap in this tribe is smooth or only
covered with white superficial fibrils, not gluey, but moist when fresh,
and changing color when dry. Flesh thin.


The Basidia-bearing fungi, or Basidiomycetes, are divided into three
classes, as has been already stated. The third class, Hymenomycetes, or
Membrane fungi, has been described, but there remain two other groups of
which we will now speak more fully. They may be considered too difficult
for beginners, and we would not venture to enter further into the
subject were it not that some of the most familiar fungi belong to these
classes - such as Puff-balls, Morels, and Helvellas.

The first class, called the Gasteromycetes, or Stomach fungi, matures
its spores on the inside of the plant. The distinction between this
class and that of the Membrane fungi, which ripens its spores on the
outside, may be more readily understood by one familiar with the
structure of the fig, whose flowers are situated on the interior of its
pear-shaped, hollow axis, which is the fruit.

We will divide the Stomach fungi into four orders - 1, the thick-skinned
fungi (Sclerodermæ); 2, the Bird’s-nest fungi (Nidulariæ); 3, the
Puff-balls (Lycoperdons); 4, the Stink horns (Phalloidæ.)


Our attention will be confined to only one genus, and, indeed, one
species of this family. We often see in our walks what at a first glance
look like potatoes lying along the road, and the suggestion arises that
some careless boy has been losing potatoes from his basket on his way
home from the country store. We stoop to pick them up, and find them
rooted to the ground and covered with warts and scales. We cut them open
and find them a purplish-black color inside. It is a mass of closely
packed unripe spores. In a few days the upper part of the outside
covering decays, bursts open, and the ripe spores escape. This is called
the common hard-rind fungus, or Scleroderma vulgare.


This is again divided into three genera. The Crucible (crucibulum), the
Cup (Cyathus), the Bird’s-nest proper (Nidularia.)

We often find on a wood-pile or a fallen tree some of the members of the
Bird’s-nest family. It is fascinating to examine them in their various
stages of development. First we see a tiny buff knot, cottony in texture
and closely covered; next, another rather larger, with its upper
covering thrown aside, displaying the tiny eggs, which prompts one to
look around for the miniature mother bird; then we find a nest empty
with the fledglings flown. The characteristic that distinguishes the
Bird’s-nest fungi from others consists in the fact that the spores are
produced in small envelopes that do not split open, and which are
enclosed in a common covering, called the peridium. One species is known
by the fluted inside of the covering, which is quite beautiful. They are
all small and grow in groups.


The Lycoperdons contain several genera, among which we select the
Puff-balls proper and the Earth stars.

What child is there who lives in the country and does not know the
Puff-ball? With what gusto he presses it and watches what he calls the
smoke pouring from the chimney. Indeed, the outpouring of myriads of
spores in its ripe stage does suggest smoke from a chimney. The
puff-ball, when young, is of a firm texture, nearly round, grayish, or
brownish outside, but of a pure white within. There are several genera,
but we have selected two - 1, Lycoperdon; and 2, Earth Star, or Geaster.

+LYCOPERDON = the puff-ball.+

The puff-balls vary greatly in size, the smallest measure ½ inch up to
the largest, about 15 inches. Professor Peck describes them thus:
“Specimens of medium size are 8 to 12 inches in diameter. The largest in
the State Museum is about 15 inches in the dry state. When fresh it was
probably 20 inches or more. The color is whitish, afterward yellowish or
brownish. The largest size was called the Giant Puff-ball (Calvatia

+GEASTER = the earth star.+

These vary greatly in size. The small ones grow on pine needles on the
ground or among leaves. Some are mounted on pedicels, some are sessile
or seated directly on the earth, but the family likeness is so
pronounced that even the novice need not be doubtful as to the name of
the fungus when found. There are two species that have slender,
elongated stems. The name is well chosen. In moist weather the points
expand and roll back or lie flat on the earth. Then the round puff-ball
in the centre is plainly seen.

In dry weather the star-like divisions are rigidly turned in and cover
closely the round portion. “When dry it is sometimes rolled about by the
wind; when it is wet by the rain or abundant dew it absorbs the moisture
and spreads itself out, and rests from its journey, again to take up its
endless wandering as sun and rain appear to reduce it once more to a
ball and set it rolling.” (Underwood.)


We come now to the fourth and last order of the Stomach fungi
(Gasteromycetes) that we shall mention. In spite of their appellation
these fungi are strikingly beautiful, but their odor is most offensive.
They grow in woods, and are also found in cellars. Their history has
been carefully investigated by mycologists, and the novice will find
many beautiful illustrations in various works. In their early stage they
are enclosed in an egg-shaped veil (volva), having a gelatinous inner
layer. Some are bright-colored, others are pure white, and the stems of
one species look as if covered with lace work. The most familiar one,
Phallus impudicus, “the fetid wood witch,” we have placed in the list of
fungi at the end of this book, with its description.


This is the second division of the Basidia-bearing fungi. It includes
all the fungi that have the spores enveloped in delicate sacs called
asci. It is divided into several orders, but we will only mention the
one which contains the most familiar plants. This order is named the
Disc-like fungi (Discomycetes). In this the spore-bearing surface is on
the upper or outside surface of the mushroom cap. It is divided into
many genera, of which we shall mention three - the Cup fungi, or Pezizas,
the Morels or Morchellas, and the Yellowish fungi or Helvellas.

+PEZIZAS = the Cup fungi.+

These form a very large group, mostly growing on decaying plants. They
are typically disc-shaped or cup-shaped, and when young are closed or
nearly so, opening when mature. They vary in size from minute species to
large fleshy ones, 3 to 4 inches in diameter. They are generally small,
thin, and tough. They grow on twigs, leaves, dead wood, or on the
ground. Many are stemless. They are both solitary and densely clustered.
The color varies from pale brown to a dark gray, resembling, when moist,
india-rubber cloth, and then, again, there are many of brilliant
hues - red and orange. Some are erect, some are split down at the side
like the ear of a hare. The Cup fungi are found in August and September,
growing near ditches, and by the roadside where there is moisture. The
ear-shaped Pezizas somewhat resemble the Jew’s ear, and the beginner
might easily confound them. This latter fungus belongs to the third
class of membrane fungi (Hymenomycetes), and it is included in the
descriptions of fungi.

+THE MORELS or MORCHELLAS = the honey-combed fungi.+

The collector during the months of April and May will enjoy a new
experience when he first finds a fungus of a bright brown color, deeply
pitted, spongy looking, cone-shaped or nearly round; its head supported
on an erect, white stem. He will probably find it on a grassy hillside
or along a running brook under some forest trees. He has perhaps seen
its picture and at once exclaims, “my first Morel.” He will notice its
peculiar honey-combed depression, and then cutting it open will find
both the head and the stem hollow. Where are the spores? There are no
gills as in the Agarics, nor are they concealed in a covering
(peridium), as in the Puff-balls, but they are contained in delicate
sacs on the cap. The exterior surface of the cap is the spore-bearing
portion, and the spores are developed in their sacs, but only seen under
a microscope.

+HELVELLA = the yellowish mushroom.+

This genus may be readily recognized by the form of the cap, which is
lobed and irregularly waved and drooping, often attached to the stem.
They grow on the ground in the woods, and sometimes on rotten wood. The
genus comprises the largest of the Disc fungi known, some species
weighing over a pound. Cicero mentions the Helvellas as a favorite dish
of the Romans.

+THE TRUFFLE = delicacy.+

It will be well to finish this section with the mention of the Truffle.
It may yet be found in the United States, but hitherto its place of
growth has been on the continent of Europe, and especially in France,
where it forms an article of commerce, and is highly prized as food. It
is subterranean, and requires for its discovery a higher sense of smell
than man possesses. It is generally found by the hog and the dog, who
are trained to help the truffle hunters. There are some species in our
country that resemble it, and grow underneath the ground. One, found in
the Southern States, called Rhizopogon, grows in sandy soil. This
species, however, does not belong to Class II., but to Class I., the
Gasteromycetes, or Stomach fungi. It is not likely that the beginner
will find this mushroom, so no description will be given.


There are certain facts which if committed to memory will be of great
help to beginners in classifying mushrooms. There are distinctive
features belonging to different genera, which will be enumerated as
follows. These facts apply to the order of Agarics, containing the
largest number of familiar mushrooms. They have been placed in tables
for the convenience of the beginner, and are arranged without regard to
family relationship.

_Mushrooms Containing both Volva and Ring (Annulus)._

There is only one genus that has both volva and ring. Amanita.

_Mushrooms with Ring and no Volva._

1. Pholiota.
2. Annularia.
3. Stropharia.
4. Psalliota.
5. Armillaria.
6. Lepiota.

_Mushrooms that have the stem attached on the side (lateral) or between
Margin and Centre (eccentric)._

1. Crepidotus.
2. Claudopus.
3. Pleurotus.

_Mushrooms with tough or cartilaginous Stems._

1. Psathyra.
2. Nolanea.
3. Mycena.
4. Marasmius.
5. Naucoria.
6. Leptonia.
7. Omphalia.
8. Collybia.
9. Psilocybe.
10. Galera.

_Mushrooms, Stemless._

1. Schizophyllum.
2. Trogia.
3. Lenzites.

_Mushrooms that have the Cap bell-shaped (campanulate) and Marked with
Lines (striate)._

1. Psathyra.
2. Galera.
3. Nolanea.
4. Mycena.

_Mushrooms with Gills attached to Stem and a Ring._

1. Stropharia.
2. Armillaria.
3. Pholiota.

_Mushrooms Having Gills with serrated edge._

1. Lentinus.

_Mushrooms with Free Gills not attached to Stem._

1. Chitonia.
2. Psalliota.
3. Pluteolus.
4. Pluteus.
5. Volvaria.
6. Lepiota.
7. Amanita.

_Mushrooms with emarginate sinuate Gills, or with notch near to Stem._

1. Hypholoma.
2. Tricholoma.
3. Hebeloma.
4. Entoloma.

_Mushrooms that are corky and leathery._

1. Lenzites.
2. Lentinus.
3. Schizophyllum.
4. Panus.

_Mushrooms with Gills running down Stem more or less (decurrent)._

1. Gomphidius.
2. Paxillus.
3. Tubaria (some species).
4. Flammula (some adnate).
5. Eccilia (truly decurrent).
6. Clitopilus (somewhat decurrent).
7. Panus (some species decurrent).
8. Lentinus (mostly decurrent).
9. Cantharellus.
10. Hygrophorus (mostly decurrent).
11. Pleurotus (some decurrent).
12. Omphalia (truly decurrent).
13. Clitocybe (decurrent or adnate).
14. Lactarius (decurrent or adnato-decurrent).

_Mushrooms that are deliquescent or turn into inky fluid._

1. Coprinus.
2. Bolbitius.

It will also be useful to the beginner to see a list of Agarics
classified according to botanists by the color of their spores.


1. Leucosporæ (white spores).
2. Rhodosporæ (rosy or salmon spores).
3. Ochrosporæ (ochraceous spores).
4. Melanosporæ (dark purple or black spores).

_Leucosporæ, or White Spores._

1. Amanita.
2. Lepiota.
3. Armillaria.
4. Tricholoma.
5. Clitocybe.
6. Collybia.
7. Mycena.
8. Omphalia.
9. Pleurotus.
10. Trogia.
11. Hygrophorus.
12. Lactarius.
13. Russula.
14. Cantharellus.
15. Marasmius.
16. Lentinus.
17. Panus.
18. Xerotus.
19. Schizophyllum.
20. Lenzites.
21. Arrhenia (pallid spores).

_Rhodosporæ, Rosy or Salmon Spores._

1. Volvaria.
2. Pluteus.
3. Enteloma.
4. Leptonia.
5. Nolanea.
6. Eccilia.
7. Claudopus.
8. Clitopilus.

_Ochrosporæ, or Ochraceous Spores._

1. Pholiota.
2. Inocybe.
3. Hebeloma.
4. Flammula.
5. Naucoria.
6. Pluteolus.
7. Galera.
8. Tubaria.
9. Crepidotus.
10. Cortinarius.
11. Acetabularia.
12. Paxillus (spores are ferruginous or dingy white).
13. Bolbitius (ferruginous spores).

_Melanosporæ, Dark Purple or Black Spores._

1. Chitonia.
2. Psalliota.
3. Stropharia.
4. Hypholoma.
5. Psilocybe.
6. Psathyra.
7. Panæolus.
8. Psathyrella.
9. Coprinus.
10. Gomphidius.
11. Anellaria.

Having arranged these lists of mushrooms by their different
characteristics, and then by the color of the spores, we will give a
list of fungi familiar to most persons, classified according to the
colors of the cap. The far greater number have been analyzed by the
writers, and a full description is given to enable the beginner more
easily to identify them.

The reader will notice that in the lists of fungi given above there are
certain genera not elsewhere mentioned in this book. He will understand
that it is inadvisable in a short primer to allude to all the genera
that exist. It was, however, impossible to give a complete table without
including them in it.

[Illustration: Russula pectinata.
Photographed by C. G. Lloyd.]



The genus Russula probably contains the largest number of mushrooms with
reddish caps, the word Russula meaning reddish.

+RUSSULA EMETICA = a vomit.+
+The Nauseating Russula.+

+Cap+ bright blood red, at first rosy, then blood color, tawny when old,
3 to 4 inches broad, first bell-shaped, then flattened or depressed,
polished, margin at length grooved (sulcate), flesh white, reddish under
the cuticle. +Stem+ 1½ to 3 inches long, ¾ of an inch thick, white
or with a reddish hue, spongy, stuffed, stout, elastic when young,
fragile when old, even, tapering slightly upward. +Gills+ free, broad,
rather distant, white.

This is found on the ground among dead leaves, in the woods and open
places from July to December. It has a bitter taste, and is said to be
poisonous. Those eating it are often affected as if they had taken an
emetic. It is easily distinguished by the fact of the flesh turning red
immediately under the skin when it is peeled off. There are numerous
varieties of it, in one the stem has minute wrinkles running lengthwise.
We found it in different localities. The taste was acrid. It was one of
the first and the last mushrooms that we gathered. (Poisonous.)

+The Blood-colored Russula.+

+Cap+ blood red, becoming pale at margin, 2 to 3 inches broad, at first
convex, then depressed, and funnel-shaped (infundibuliform), irregularly
swollen in the centre, polished, even, margin acute, moist in damp
weather. Flesh firm, cheesy, white. +Stem+ stout, spongy, stuffed, at
first contracted at apex, then equal, slightly marked with lines white
or reddish. +Gills+ at first fastened to stem and then decurrent,
crowded, narrow, connected by veins, fragile, somewhat forked, shining
white, afterward turning ochraceous color. The taste is acrid and
peppery. It is found in woods from August to September, and is not
common. (Poisonous.)

+RUSSULA ROSEIPES = rosy stem.+
+The Rosy Stemmed Russula.+

This is a striking-looking mushroom. The colors are pretty, and the
tinge of red in the stem adds to its beauty. There are other species of
Russula that also have red tints in the stem. +Cap+ rosy red, with pink
and orange hues, 1 to 2 inches broad, convex, becoming nearly plane or
slightly depressed; at first viscid, soon dry, slightly marked with
lines on the thin margin, taste mild. +Gills+ moderately close, nearly
entire, rounded behind and slightly adnexed, swollen in the middle,
whitish, becoming yellow. +Stem+ 1 to 2 inches long, 3 to 4 lines thick,
slightly tapering upward, stuffed or hollow, white, tinged with red.
It is distinguished from other species by its mild taste, rosy cap,
commonly dry and but slightly striate on margin, its gills changing from
white to yellow or slightly ochraceous, and being partially attached to
the stem, and its stem being slightly stained with rosy red. It grows in
pine and hemlock woods, and is found in July and August. (Edible.)

+RUSSULA LEPIDA = neat or elegant.+
+The Elegant Russula.+

+Cap+ at first is a bright red, but becomes a dull reddish-pink, paler
at the disc, 3 inches broad, dry, fleshy, convex; then expanded,
scarcely depressed, obtuse and polished, afterward cracked (rimose), and
with minute scales (squamulose). The margin spreading and rounded,
obtuse, _not_ striate. +Stem+ about 3 inches long, from 1 to 1½ inch
thick, even, solid, white, or rose color. +Gills+ rounded behind, rather
thick, somewhat crowded, often forked, connected by veins, white, often
red at edge. Taste mild. We found our specimen in mixed woods. The stem
was only tinged with pink. (Edible.)

+LACTARIUS VOLEMUS = a kind of large pear. (From its shape.)+
+The Orange Brown Lactarius.+

+Cap+ 3 to 5 inches broad, reddish-orange color, becoming pale, compact,
rigid, obtuse, with the margin bent inward, depressed, at length marked
with lines like a river (rimose). Flesh white, turning brown. +Stem+
2 to 3 inches long, ¾ to 1¼ inch thick, stout, stuffed, then hollow,
paler at apex, with a bloom, same color as cap, with lengthwise lines.
+Gills+ adnato-decurrent, yellowish turning ochraceous, broad, thin,
crowded, milk sweet and plentiful. Stevenson says that the taste of this
Lactarius is delicious, that it is savory even when raw. It should not
be kept too long before cooking, or it will emit a strong, unpleasant
odor. It is abundant in chestnut or oak woods from July to September.
Our specimen was much wrinkled on the margin. The milk was abundant.

+The Colorless Lactarius.+

The name of this species is given on account of the color of the milk
(Stevenson). +Cap+ a tawny pinkish-red color, 3 to 4 inches broad,
zoned, plano-depressed, margin often wavy, dry, flesh creamy white or
pallid. +Stem+ 1½ to 3 inches long, thick, solid, afterward spongy,
equal, smooth, the same color as the cap, lighter at the apex. +Gills+
adnate, slightly decurrent, not crowded, creamy white, turning
ochraceous. Milk white, sweet. It has a strong smell. In the specimen we
found the stem was slightly marked with lines and the milk plentiful. It
is not spoken of as edible.


The name only applies to the taste of the milk. (Stevenson.)

+Cap+ a light, bright reddish-orange, golden tawny color, 1 to 4 inches
broad, even, then depressed, smooth, sticky when moist, flesh whitish,
turning yellow. +Stem+ 1 to 4 inches long, thick, stuffed, then hollow,
even, smooth, same color as cap. +Gills+ slightly running down the stem,
rounded at one end, broad, yellowish. Milk mild, then bitterish and
plentiful. It is found in pine and mixed woods from August until
November. It has a beautiful color, and resembles in that particular L.

+CORTINARIUS ARMILLATUS = a ring or bracelet.+
+The Zoned Cortinarius.+

+Cap+ a tawny reddish-yellow, brick red, 2 to 5 inches broad, fleshy,
bell-shaped or almost conical, then convex, dry, smooth, marked with
reddish specks, darker toward the centre, flesh white, turning red and
narrowing toward the margin. +Stem+ 3 to 6 inches long, ½ inch thick,
solid, firm, slightly tapering toward the apex, very bulbous at base,
same color as cap, stuffed with brown pith inside. There are two or
three reddish oblique zones encircling the stem. +Gills+ adnate, swollen
in the middle, distant, variable, at first pale cinnamon color, and then
dark brown. We found them at the end of August in great numbers,
sometimes united in tufts (cæspitose) in all stages of growth, the
younger ones covered with a cobwebby veil, which is paler in color than
the zones. They grow in mixed woods.

+CLITOCYBE LACCATA = a resinous substance.+
+The Waxy Clitocybe.+

This species is small in size. +Cap+ is about 1 inch broad, thin, convex
and almost plane. Sometimes with a depression (umbilicate). When moist
it has a water-soaked look, and becomes pale in drying. When wet it has
a peculiar flesh color, but when dry it is a pale yellowish-red hue.
+Stem+ is long and slender, tough and of same color as cap, 2 lines
thick, fibrous, stuffed, often twisted and white, with soft, weak hairs
at base (villous). +Gills+ are attached to stem with a decurrent tooth,
broad, distant, of a peculiar flesh color. We found several varieties.
One had gills of a beautiful violet color (Var. amethystina), in another
the gills were pale (Var. pallidifolia). (Peck.) A small form with
radiating lines extending from near the centre to the margin (Var.
striatula), Peck, is an interesting species and often seen. They grow
closely together on the sides of roads, in groups, all through the
season. Sometimes the cap is very small, ¼ inch across. It often grows
in arcs of circles.

+The Funnel-shaped Clitocybe.+

+Cap+ a pale red color, 2 to 3 inches broad, convex when young, then
slightly raised in the middle, umbonate, afterward the margin is
elevated and the cap becomes funnel-shaped and the margin wavy.
Flesh thin and white. +Stem+ 1½ to 3 inches long, 2 to 3 lines thick,
smooth, paler colored than the cap, tapering upward. +Gills+ rather
decurrent, arc-shaped, broad, distant, whitish, not yellow, netted with
veins. This is also a variable species and grows in woods. It is pretty,
and is easily known by its shape.

+Murray’s Boletus.+

+Cap+ dark red, 1 to 3 inches broad, granulated, convex, with a slight
mound or umbo, margin turned upward, flesh yellow. +Stem+ ½ inch long,
yellow. Tubes lemon color, angular and round, irregular. The stem in our
specimen was granulated like the cap.

+BOLETUS CHROMAPES = chrome yellow and foot.+
+The Chrome-footed Boletus.+

+Cap+ tawny red, 2 to 4 inches broad, convex or nearly plane, flesh
white. Tubes almost attached (subadnate), depressed around the stem,
whitish, turning a pinkish-brown color. +Stem+ equal or tapering upward,

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