Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/341

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nouiice the completion of the ' Handbook of l^ritish Fungi.' by Mr. M. C. Cooke, tlie well-known vvritei* on the subject, in the issue of the second volume of his work. The author has deterred his introductory matter for the present, as the dimensions of the work have alrc^ady far exceeded what was originally intended ; we think he has also wisely avoided " encumber- ing his pages with a multitude of new generic names, often fanciful, sel- dom necessary, and which may, at best, be regarded as transitional." In the primary divisions of the Hyraenomycetes he has adopted the latest views of Fries, witii the additions and analytical key of Mr. W. G. Smith, first published in this Journal, which will be found of great use in refer- ring each species to its proper position. In characterizing the families, orders, and genera, Mr. Cooke has combined the opinions of the Swedish mycologist, contained in the ' Monographia Hymenomycetum Suecise,' with those of the author of the Outlines, with the addition of synonyms and references to figures ; and it may be here mentioned that the labour of those commencing the study of mycology will be considerably lessened by the characteristic woodcuts of each genus executed, we believe, ex- pressly for the work by Mr. W. G. Smith, to whom the author is also indebted for laimerous original observations. Another point now become essential to a correct description of a species has not been neglected by Mr. Cooke, viz. the measurements of spores, these he has given, wherever they were attainable, as well in fractions of an English inch as in milli- metres, that again saving considerable time to the student in comparing specimens with French descriptions. The Myxogasters are considered to belong to the fungi, agreeably to the views of most botanists, and the Outlines followed in their arrangement. The work before us begins at this point to attain an increased value, as no specitic characters of the subsequent species, except of a few of the larger Elvellacei, are given in the Outlines. The Splueroncmei are generally described as autonomous species, although doubts of their being truly such are thrown out; the state of our knowledge of these plants is not, however, sufficient to enable us, with few exceptions, to refer them to other genera with any degree of certainty. The author has here adopted the sound advice of Tulasne : — " Multi propterea tutiorem viam sequentur f|ui, deticiente debitae, longse scilicet, opportuiise et assiduse observationis facultate, ea qupe seorsa seu discreta viderint, seorsim etiara, sicuti hactenus mos est, describent, nee dubia incertaque tentabunt conjugia." Favourable opportunities, time at our disposal, patient and repeated observations at various periods of the year, are requisite to form a correct opinion on these ol)scure affinities. But there can be little doubt that if any of these presumed genera are merely various modes of fruiting of one and the same species, the rule will hold good of them all, however difficult their identification may be. With regard to the Mucedines and Mucorini, it may be sufficient to state that the author follows the same course as with the former Orders, not entering on controverted questions. He has, however, made a step in advance by introducing the Saprolcgniea? provisionally amongst fungi. In the ascigerous section, Elvellacei, Tuberacei, etc., all the more receht information is given, which may be asserted with equal truth of the Sphicriacei, although it does not appear why the secondary forms of fruit, as described by Tidasnc, are passed over in silence, as in the genera Ustu- lina, Nuuinnilaria, Entypa, etc., nor why certain forms are attributed to more tiian one perfect species, as where llciidcrtiuiiiu iiuli/ri/atlx is referred

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