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British Fungi


A QUARTER of a century ago, the number of persons in this country who made any pretence to study the fungi might have been counted on the fingers, and almost on the fingers of one hand. At that time Berkeley's “Outlines of British Fungology” had just appeared, but with it came no visible evidence of an increased number of students. An unfortunate desire to limit the volume to a definite size and price acted injuriously upon its contents. Half the book was a mere list of names without descriptions, and in the other half the descriptions were reduced to short diagnoses, quite insufficient except for those who were somewhat expert in the study. The young student struggling to get some knowledge of these obscure plants had no alternative but to fall back on the supplementary volume of Hooker's “English Flora” for the information he needed, oftentimes with much disappointment. Hence it is not surprising that only a few had the courage to persevere in a study for which there was no adequate text-book. It was not until 1871 that Cooke's “Hand-book of British Fungi” supplied what was required, and imparted a stimulus to the pursuit of that section of British botany, which has gradually increased in force, until at the expiration of another fifteen years, the “Hand-book” is out of print, and out of date, with a greatly augmented body of students looking anxiously for a new edition, or an entirely new work.

Hymenomycetes Britannici—British Fungi (Hymenomycetes).

By Rev. John Stevenson, Author of "Mycologia Scotica." Vol. I. Agaricus—Bolbitius. 8vo, pp. 372, with Cuts. (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1886.)

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C., M. British Fungi . Nature 34, 97–98 (1886).

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