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highly esteemed, especially in the south of France. It is large and has a very large, half-pear shaped stem. The flesh of this variety of mushroom is white and quite firm in the young mushroom, but becomes softer with age and assumes on the outside a wine tint. It grows, especially in the late summer and through the autumn, wild in the forest. In the extreme south of France it sometimes appears as early as April. ("Nouvel Atlas de Champignon," Paul Dumée, page 45.) ("The Mushroom Book," by Nina L. Marshall, page 109.) The cap is usually from four to six inches in diameter and is a gray, brownish-red or tawny-brown in color.
FIG. 66.-AMANITA (FULL-GROWN). (ONE-HALF NATURAL SIZE.)-(Coville, Circular 13, Division
The Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria (L.) Fr.).-This is one of the very poisonous varieties of mushrooms. In the illustration the fully matured mushroom is shown at one-half its natural size. This is the most common poisonous mushroom which grows in the District of Columbia and other nearby localities. The points especially to be noticed are the bulbous enlargement at the base of the stem, breaking into thick scales above, the very broad drooping ring near the top of the stem, and the corky particles loosely attached to the smooth, glossy upper surface of the cap. The stem, gills, and the spores are white, the corky particles commonly of a buff color, but sometimes varying almost
to white. The glossy upper surface of the cap, beneath the corky particles, varies from a brilliant red to orange-yellow, buff, and even white. Commonly in the vicinity of Washington the coloration is orange in the center, shading to yellow toward the margin. Brilliant red ones are rarely seen in this locality, but white ones are not infrequent, especially late in the season. This was the variety of mushroom that lately caused the death of a well known man in Washington. This poisonous variety is one of the largest, handsomest, and most
dangerous of mushrooms, and is one whose poisonous character has been most fully studied. It is abundant in the vicinity of Washington in the fall, growing chiefly in the pine woods and, especially, in the localities which have been frequented by hogs. The chief active poisonous principle of the fly amanita is an alkaloid called muscarine, but other poisonous substances whose exact nature has not yet been discovered also occur in the plant.
When this variety of mushroom is reduced to a paste and exposed where
it can be eaten by flies the latter are readily poisoned, and hence the common name of "fly amanita."
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning. The symptoms of poisoning from the fly amanita, as deduced from a number of cases, are varied. In some instances they begin only after several hours, but usually in from onehalf to one or two hours. Vomiting and diarrhea almost always occur, with a pronounced flow of saliva, suppression of the urine, and various cerebral phenomena, beginning with giddiness, loss of confidence in one's ability to make ordinary movements, and derangement of vision. This is succeeded by stupor, cold sweats, and a very marked weakening of the heart's action. In case of rapid recovery the stupor is short and usually marked with mild. delirium. In fatal cases the stupor continues from one to two or three days, and death at last ensues from the gradual weakening and final stoppage of the heart's action.
Treatment for Poisoning. The treatment for poisoning by Amanita muscaria consists primarily in removing the unabsorbed portion of the Amanita from the alimentary canal and in counteracting the effect of the muscarine on the heart. The action of this organ should be fortified at once by the subcutaneous injection, by a physician, of atropin, in doses of from one one-hundredth to one-fiftieth of a grain. The strongest emetics, such as tartarized antimony or apomorphin, should be used, though in case of profound stupor even these may not produce the desired action. Freshly ignited charcoal or two grains of a one percent alkaline solution of permanganate of potash may then be administered in order, in the case of the former substance, to absorb the poison, or in case of the latter, to decompose it. This should be followed by oils and oleaginous purgatives, and the intestines should be cleaned and washed out with an enema of warm water and turpentine.
Experiments on animals poisoned by the fly amanita and with pure muscarine show very clearly that when the heart has nearly ceased to beat it may be stimulated to strong action almost instantly by the use of atropin. Its use as thus demonstrated has been the means of saving numerous lives. We have in this alkaloid an almost perfect physiological antidote for muscarine, and therefore in such cases of poisoning its use should be pushed as heroically as the symptoms of the case will warrant.
The presence of phallin in Amanita muscaria is possible and its effects should be looked for in the red color of the blood serum discharged from the intestines. (Circular 13, Div. of Botany.)
Removal of the Poisonous Principle.-In some parts of Europe the fly amanita is soaked in vinegar and then is eaten with impunity. Some of the colored people in Washington and vicinity are acquainted with this method of treatment, and the practice of soaking these fungi in vinegar and
then eating them is not unknown, though the majority of colored women in the markets who deal in mushrooms look upon this species with unrestrained horror.
ADULTERATION OF MUSHROOMS.
The poisonous variety is denatured as follows: The stem is well scraped, and the gills are removed from the cap and the upper surface peeled off. The mushrooms prepared in this way are boiled in salt and water and afterward steeped in vinegar. They are finally washed in clear water and then cooked in the ordinary manner and eaten without any injurious results. It is not recommended, however, that a mushroom which contains so much deadly poison should be eaten at all, even after a preparation of this kind. Any carelessness in the preparation or any failure to carry out the process completely would result fatally.
Canned Mushrooms.-The canning of mushrooms is an industry of large magnitude, especially in France. The young, unexpanded mushrooms in the form of buttons are those which are usually subjected to the canning process. Mushrooms are brought to the factory where they are cleaned and scraped, the stem cut to a proper length, thoroughly washed in several washings of clean water, and taken to a sulfuring furnace where they are exposed to the fumes of burning sulfur for some time. The purpose of this treatment is to bleach the mushroom and make it as white as possible. Decayed or deformed buttons are not included in the cans of highest quality. The prepared mushrooms are then placed in cans, usually of tin, and preserved by subjecting them to a temperature at or above boiling water until thoroughly sterilized.
Canned Pieces and Stems of Mushrooms.-The imperfect portions, the pieces which are cut away, and other fragments of the mushroom, resulting from the preparation of the product described above, are treated practically in the same manner for sterilizing purposes and are sold to the trade under various names, the most common of which is Champignons d'Hotel. They also frequently appear under the name of Champignon Choix and other deceptive labels.
Adulteration of Mushrooms.-There is no adulteration practiced of fresh mushrooms unless the occasional occurrence of poisonous varieties may be so considered. It is evident, however, that the introduction of poisonous varieties is the result of carelessness or mistake and not for any purpose. Nevertheless a most exacting supervision over the preparation of fresh mushrooms for the market should be required, and any failure to exercise this care may be considered as resulting in adulteration or depreciation of the character of the product.
In canned mushrooms the presence of sulfurous acid may be regarded as an adulterant, and such a substance, believed to be inimical to health, is not necessary in the preparation of the goods. It is quite certain that the public
taste would soon adapt itself to an amber- or brown-colored product in canned mushrooms and value it as highly as the buttons which are white. Since the sole purpose of the use of sulfur is for bleaching, the end secured scarcely justifies the means. It is claimed, naturally, that the use of sulfur is also a safeguard in securing a better keeping of the product, but such an adjunct for keeping purposes is only necessary when the sterilization is not complete. It is to be hoped that the day will soon come when mushrooms bleached with sulfurous acid shall no longer be found upon our market. The use of other preservatives than sulfurous acid has at times been practiced, but it is not believed that there are many cans of mushrooms offered upon the market which contain any chemical preservatives whatever save the sulfurous acid above noted. Since the canned mushrooms are valued principally as a condiment, the inclusion of imperfect or partially decayed or malformed buttons is extremely unusual. The buttons are separated into sizes of approximately the same magnitude, so that a can of the product is uniform in size as well as in quality. The customer may be reasonably certain that he is getting a good, young, carefully selected product, free from disease and from accidental impurities which might render the product unwholesome or unpalatable.
Truffles. The truffle has been known almost, if not quite as long as the mushroom as an edible delicacy. The use of truffles in France became very common during the 14th century, but on account of their high price they remained for a long time a luxury and not a general article of commerce. It is only within the 19th century, after 1840, that their consumption became general. The truffle belongs to the botanical family Tuberaceæ.
The propagation of truffles is similar to that of mushrooms, by spores, which first give rise to a mycelium which by further condensation forms the body of the truffle. This mycelium furnishes the nutritients for the tubercle during a certain time of its early growth. In the cultivation of the truffle, artificially, it is necessary to make use of a forest or other similar artificial covering. If trees are planted especially for the development of truffles it requires six or eight years growth before the cultivation of truffles is successful. The truffle grows very readily in the shade of nut-bearing trees and in the shade of the oak. The mycelium does not produce truffles until after several years of vegetation. When it once begins to fructify and produce the truffle it continues to bear for many years. The truffle, like the mushroom, grows rapidly. At first, as has already been stated, it is nourished by the mycelium, but when this is exhausted it is nourished by absorbing the nutritious elements from the soil and air. When it reaches maturity and its spores are well formed the truffle acquires its maximum of aroma and palatability. After it has reached maturity it can remain a certain time in the soil without being changed. However, after a time it is rapidly decomposed and its tissues become the seat of various chemical reactions or it is devoured by insects.