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Mushroom 0f

species, stalk, cap, common, gills, covered, white and ring

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MUSHROOM (0F. monscheron, ??1011Ser011, from OF, Fr, mousse, moss, connected with AS.

1)11(1. mios, mos, t?er. ics, 005, °Church Slay. in fiche, Lat. inuseus, moss). The popular name of edible fungi of the order lIymenomy celweas especially species of Agnrieus and 31or diens. The name toadstool is generally applied to species which have an umbrella-shaped cap. The entomon idea that all such are poisonous is erroneous. because some of the most highly prized species have this habit of growth, and perhaps most of the others are not injurious.. The mushroom as it is generally seen is only the fruiting body of the fungus. which arises from a or less matted myeelium. or The mycelium or vegetative part consists of numerous slender white thrends running in every direction through the soil. Upon these threads small knots develop, increase in size, and finally appear as the hall-like or button-like young mushrooms. wide]) consist of a stalk. terminated by a cap or pileus. bearing upon its under side numerous thin spore-bearing plates or gills radiating from the centre or attachment of the stalk. Near the top of the stalk is a more or less perfect ring (tumulus). the remnant 14 the delicate veil ( in dusium1 that covered the gills during the button rtage, but ruptured as the mushroom grew.

The common mushroom (Agarieus campcstris), one of more than 1000 species of the genus Agariens, is common in fields and pastures, seldom in woodlands unless open and grassy, growing throughout the summer, but most abundant in the early autumn. It is the most commonly cultivated species, is exten sively grown for market, especially near cities, and is about the only species and offered for sale in American markets. This species never attains a very large size; when young the stalk and fleshy cap are white, to light brown when older. The stalk is solid and tapers slightly toward the base. The ring is usually conspicuous, the gills pink when young, changing to brownish purple in older specimens. iMuhroous are usually gath ered for market when in the ball or button stage before the veil has been broken. They have a pleasant taste and smell, and when the flesh is bruised, turn a reddish brown. The horse mush room (dgaricus arvensis), a close relative, looks very much like the common mushroom, but is much larger and the top of the cap is more shining white. The stalk becomes a little hollow

with age; the gills are white at first, changing to brownish purple when comparatively old.

The methods employed in cultivating the com mon mushroom do not offer any great difficulties. They may be grown out of doors or where the temperature is fairly constant, as in dry cellars or in caves, abandoned mines, and quarries. Beds are made containing at the bottom s deep layer of fresh stable manure, over which is a layer of well-rotted manure. In this the spawn is planted after the temperature of the bed has fallen to about 90° F. The commercial spawn comes in two forms, bricks and flakes, made of horse manure impregnated with the mycelium of the fungus. When planted, both kinds are broken up and distributed through the bed. The beds, which must be kept moist, but not wet, are then well covered with straw or mats to keep the surface moist. After a week or ten days the mulch is removed and the beds covered with good loam to a depth of two inches. They may be again covered with the mulch, which should be removed when the mushrooms, which should be gathered daily, begin to appear.

In addition to the species of Agaricus de scribed above, there are a great many other edible species of mushrooms belonging to other genera. Among them are the horse-tail or maned agarie (Coprinus contains), the ink caps (('oprinus etramcntarius). and the glistenino. comatus (Coprinus nzicaceus). These have black spores; the cap does not expand, but remains more like a partly closed umbrella. When old, these species become very watery and dissolve, a black, inky fluid. For eating they should be taken only while young. The parasol fungus (Lepiota prorera) is a white-spored edible mushroom rather abundant in grassy places. It is rather tall on a slender stem. The cap is whitish or light brown and covered with coarse scales. The ring is free and not fastened to the stalk. Another highly prized species is the chanterelle (Conthorellus cibarius), an egg-yel low species common in moist woods. The cap has an irregular, crumpled margin, is more or less depressed on the upper surface, and has shallow. blunt gills prolonged down the stalk. The fairy ring fungus (Marasmius (wearies), common in lawns and meadows, is also edihle. There are some species having the same habit of growing in circles, that are reputed poisonous.

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