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Published in Serial Form--=No. 1=--Price, 50c. per number.

A. R. Taylor, Publisher, 238 Mass. Ave. N.E.

[Illustration: Plate A.
Agaricus (Psalliota) campester.
T. Taylor, del.]


In Plate A is presented a sketch of the common field mushroom, Agaricus
campester. Fig. 1 represents the mature plant; Fig. 2, a sectional view
of the same; Fig. 3, the basidia, club-shaped cells from the summit of
which proceed the slender tubes called sterigmata, which support the
spores--highly magnified; Fig. 4, the sterigmata; Fig. 5, the mycelium,
highly magnified, supporting immature mushrooms; Fig. 6, the spores as
shed from an inverted mushroom cap; Fig. 7, spores magnified.

[Illustration: Plate B.
Types of the Six Orders of Hymenomycetes.
T. Taylor, del.]


In Plate B is represented a leading type of each of the six orders of
the family Hymenomycetes:

Fig. 1. Cap with radiating gills beneath. Agaricini.
Fig. 2. Cap with spines or teeth beneath. Hydnei.
Fig. 3. Cap with pores or tubes beneath. Polyporei.
Fig. 4. Cap with the under or spore-bearing surface even. Thelephorei.
Fig. 5. Whole plant, club-shaped, or bush-like and branched. Clavarei.
Fig. 6. Whole plant irregularly expanded, substance gelatinous.

Copyright, 1897, by
Thomas Taylor, M. D.,
A. R. Taylor.


In the year 1876, as Microscopist of the Department of Agriculture, I
prepared, as a part of the exhibit of my Division at the Centennial
Exhibition at Philadelphia, a large collection of water-color drawings
representing leading types of the edible and poisonous mushrooms of the
United States, together with representations of about nine hundred
species of microscopic fungi detrimental to vegetation.

In the preparation of the first collection I had the valuable assistance
of Prof. Charles H. Peck, State Botanist of New York, and in the second
the hearty co-operation of Rev. M. J. Berkeley and Dr. M. C. Cook, the
eminent British mycologists.

The popular character of this exhibit attracted the attention of the
general public, and many letters were received at the Department showing
an awakening interest in the study of fungi, particularly with regard to
the mushroom family, as to methods of cultivation, the means of
determining the good from the unwholesome varieties, etc.

My first published paper on the subject of edible mushrooms, entitled
"Twelve Edible Mushrooms of the U. S.," appeared in the annual report of
the Department of Agriculture for 1885. This was followed by others to
the number of five, and as the demand for these reports increased,
reprints were made and issued, by order of the Secretary of Agriculture,
in pamphlet form, under the general title of "Food Products." Numerous
editions of these reprints were issued by the Department up to 1894.
During the year 1894, and the first half of 1895, 36,600 of these
reports were sent out by the Department, and the supply was exhausted.
They have been out of print for more than two years. It is in view of
this fact, and in response to a great and constant demand for these
publications, that I have undertaken to publish a series of five
pamphlets on the edible and poisonous mushrooms of the United States,
which shall embody the substance of the five pamphlets on "Food
Products" above alluded to, supplemented by new matter relating to
classification, general and specific, analytical tables of standard
authors, and a continuation of the chapters on structure, etc.
Additional plates, representing leading types of edible and poisonous
mushrooms, will also be inserted in each number.

In the compilation and extension of this work I have the assistance of
my daughter, Miss A. Robena Taylor, who has given considerable attention
to the study of fungi, and who has been my faithful coadjutor in the
work of collecting specimens, etc., for a number of years.

For valuable suggestions as to structural characteristics and methods of
classification I am especially indebted to Prof. Chas. H. Peck, of
Albany, New York, Dr. M. C. Cooke, of England, and Prof. P. A. Saccardo,
of Italy.

The colored plates in pamphlet No. 1, together with a few of those which
will appear in the succeeding numbers of this series, are reproductions
of those prepared, under my direct supervision, for the pamphlets
entitled "Food Products" published by the Department of Agriculture and
referred to above.


May 7, 1897.


The cryptogamic or flowerless plants, _i. e._, those having neither
stamens nor pistils, and which are propagated by spores, are divided,
according to Dr. Hooper, into the following four classes:--Pteridophyta
or vascular acrogens, represented by the ferns, club-mosses, etc.;
Bryophyta or cellular acrogens, represented by the musci, scale-mosses,
etc.; AlgŠ, represented by the "Red Seaweeds," DiatomacŠ, etc.; Fungi or
Amphigens, which include the molds, mildews, mushrooms, etc. The
lichens, according to the "Schwendener Hypotheses," consist of
ascigerous fungi parasitic on algŠ.


Botanists unite in describing the plants of this class as being
destitute of chlorophyll and of starch. These plants assume an infinite
variety of forms, and are propagated by spores which are individually so
minute as to be scarcely perceptible to the naked eye. They are entirely
cellular, and belong to the class Amphigens, which for the most part
have no determinate axe, and develop in every direction, in
contradistinction to the Acrogens, which develop from the summit,
possessing an axe, leaves, vessels, etc.

Fungi are divided by systematists into two great classes:

1. Sporifera, in which the spores are free, naked, or soon exposed.

2. Sporidifera, in which the spores are not exposed, but instead are
enclosed in minute cells or sacs, called asci.

These classes are again subdivided, according to the disposition of the
spores and of the spore bearing surface, called the hymenium, into
various families.

The sporiferous fungi are arranged into four families, viz:

1. _Hymenomycetes_, in which the hymenium is free, mostly naked, or soon
exposed. _Example, "Common Meadow Mushroom."_

2. _Gasteromycetes_, in which the hymenium is enclosed in a second case
or wrapper, called a peridium, which ruptures when mature, thus
releasing the spores. _Example, Common Puff Ball._

3. _Coniomycetes_, in which the spores are naked, mostly terminal on
inconspicuous threads, free or enclosed in a perithecium. Dust-like
fungi. _Example, Rust of Wheat._

4. _Hyphomycetes_, in which the spores are naked on conspicuous threads,
rarely compacted, Thread-like fungi. _Example, Blue Mold._

Of these four subdivisions of the Sporifera, only the Hymenomycetes and
the Gasteromycetes contain plants of the mushroom family, and these two
together constitute the class known as the Basidiomycetes. The chief
distinction of the Basidiomycetes is that the naked spores are borne on
the summits of certain supporting bodies, termed basidia. These basides
are swollen, club-shaped cells, surmounted by four minute tubes or
spore-bearers, called sterigmata, each of which carries a spore. See
Figs. 3 and 4, Plate A.

These basides together with a series of elongated cells, termed
paraphyses, packed closely together side by side, and intermixed with
other sterile cells, called cystidia, constitute the spore-bearing
surface or hymenium of the plant.

To the naked eye this hymenium appears simply as a very thin smooth
membrane, but when a small portion of it is viewed through a microscope
with high powers its complex structure is readily observed and can be
carefully studied.

The _Sporidiferous_ fungi are represented by the families Physomycetes
and Ascomycetes. The first of these consists wholly of microscopic

_Ascomycetes._--In the plants of this family the spores are not
supported upon basidia, but instead are enclosed in minute sacs or asci
formed from the fertile cells of a hymenium. In this connection it would
be well to state that Saccardo does not recognize the divisions
_Sporifera_ and _Sporidifera_ by those names.

They are nearly the equivalent of Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes.

What Cooke names Physomycetes, Saccardo calls PhycomyceteŠ, introducing
it in his work between GasteromyceteŠ and MyxomyceteŠ, which some
mycologists consider somewhat out of place.

Saccardo calls its asci (sacs which contain the spores) sporangia. He
does not regard them as genuine asci, but as corresponding more to the
peridium of the _GasteromyceteŠ_ and _MyxomyceteŠ._

Peck says that this group seems to present characters of both
Hyphomycetes and Ascomycetes, with a preponderance towards Hyphomycetes.

It is a small group, however, and since it consists wholly of
microscopic fungi, need not be farther considered in this work.

In the Ascomycetes are included the sub-families Discomycetes,
Pyrenomycetes, and Tuberacei. Of these the Discomycetes and the
Tuberacei are the only groups which contain any of the mushrooms, and
but few of these are large enough or sufficiently tender to possess
value as esculents. A good example of the first (Discomycetes) is found
in the Morel, and of the second (Tuberacei) in the Truffle.

In the Discomycetes or "disk fungi," the spores are produced in minute
membraneous sacs, each sac usually containing eight spores.

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