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Mushrooms and Toadstools: A Study of the Activities of Fungi by J Ramsbottom

By J Ramsbottom

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Extra info for Mushrooms and Toadstools: A Study of the Activities of Fungi

Example text

His researches on fungi were doubtless guided by the desire to discover flowers and seeds in them so that they could be brought in line with flowering plants. He found his “seeds” in all kinds of fungi—Polypores, Agarics, Gasteromycetes, Discomycetes, Truffles and Moulds; they were obviously the spores. Not satisfied with a belief that his seeds were what he thought them to be, he carried out a series of experiments to find out whether they grew and gave rise to the same fungus which bore them.

The belief is that they are formed from the harmful substances of the earth and the venom of toads and that fungi always grow in places where toads abound, and give shelter to them when they take the air. There have been suggestions that the word has reference to excrement. Certainly stool might have that meaning, but the derivation of toad from the Icelandic tad (dung) is philologically unnecessary having regard to early usage. ” As would be expected, we find modifications also of the Latin word fungus, though these were usually used with mushroom or toadstool as synonyms.

In other species he described the spores as being scattered irregularly. Possibly this was in species of Coprinus where the basidia are of different lengths; he figures this irregularity in Coprinus narcoticus. The irregular arrangement is also shown in Volvaria gloiocephala, a pink-spored species, and in an oyster-shaped lignicolous form which is possibly a species of Crepidotus; here the spores are too light in colour to show clearly against the general background with the instrument used. Micheli also observed asci for the first time.

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