Transactions of the Linnean Society of London/Volume 12/Some Account of the Lycoperdon solidum of the Flora Virginica, the Lycoperdon cervinum of Walter

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XXV.Some Account of the Lycoperdon solidum of the Flora Virginica, the Lycoperdon cervinum of Walter.By James Macbride, M.D. of South Carolina.Communicated by the President.

Read June 3, 1817.

This fungus is most frequently dug up in lands which have not been cleared of their original wood more than three or four years, in the preparation for planting. It is found at various depths, from a few inches to two feet, and is sometimes met with partly above ground. I have seen it in every variety of soil, except swampy; but it is found in greatest abundance, and appears to attain to the greatest size, in loose rich lands, the forest-trees of which were different species of oak, Juglans alba, Linn., and Pinus Tæda. It is very common in the southern states; but is rarely seen further north than Maryland. Its shape is irregular; the largest specimens approach the globular form, or the cylindrical with globular ends. I have seen a specimen which weighed fifteen pounds; and I am credibly informed a single tuber has weighed thirty or forty pounds.

The common opinion entertained of this substance is, that it is the root of the Erythrina herbacea or Convolvulus panduratus, both of which have large roots, and that of the latter penetrating the earth to a considerable depth. The usual appellation of it is Indian Potatoe or Indian Bread. It was used by the Indians as an article of food, as their name for it {Tuckahoe) is said to imply. Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/435 Page:Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume 12.djvu/436 I am sorry that I am unable to give any information as to the following particulars:

1. How long the fungus continues to derive support from the juices of the roots out of which it grows, and whether it causes the death of the inferior portion of the root.

2. Whether the Indians knew any method of finding it similar to what is practised by the truffle-hunters in Europe. Tradition says they did.

3. The probable quantity of the fungus produced by a given portion of ground.

Charleston, March 28, 1817.