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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/206

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

erally distinct from one another; but here follows a series in which these plates all intersect, or wander in many a winding line and labyrinthine pattern (Dædalea, Trametes, etc.), until the intersections become so numerous as to form a perfect honey-comb whose cells are minute pores. The gummy, golden Boleti PSM V35 D206 Secolium warnei.jpgFig. 4.—Secolium Warnei, vertical section. of the woodlands, and the common bracket-fungi (Polyporus) of every stump and log in all the forest, are examples.

Even the puff-ball family—another section of the greater fungi—form their fruit in agaric fashion, and the connection between our mushroom and the giant "louffer," though at first sight remote, is yet not far to seek. It must be remembered that mushrooms when first emerging from the ground are quite contracted and closed, often like a closed umbrella—one of the old-fashioned sort, puckered around the margin with a string. Split such a mushroom at this stage, and all the lamellæ will be found with their edges close pressed against the sides of the stipes, the PSM V35 D206 Geaster fornicatus.jpgFig. 5.—Geaster fornicatus (after Morgan). edge of the pileus close drawn round the bottom. Now, in autumn we may find a fungus looking exactly like an unopened toad-stool; but you watch its opening in vain—it never opens. The puckering string never relaxes, the lamellae never leave the stipe, but are indeed grown fast against it, and with maturity become wrinkled in myriad folds, finally to break down entirely, leaving a mass of dusty brown spores which escape only with the final rupture of the fragile, unexpanded pileus (Fig. 4). From such a fungus the puff-ball differs chiefly in degree; the spores are borne upon threads and fill up definite cavities, one or more, and are discharged, as in the case just described, by the rupture of the inclosing tissues. These latter here constitute a definite wall—the peridium. This may break open irregularly, or it may break regularly, throwing back from the top its pointed lobes