This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Reading an article on fungi some time ago, I remarked that one with which I am unfortu-tunately too familiar is not mentioned, and I think it worth describing.
The negroes in our pine-land, Summerville, S. C, have various names for it, but its technical name I do not know. The first time I met with it about two years ago, I was standing by a patch of oats just peeping above ground, and was attracted by a round, bright, scarlet object not unlike the back of a hand, with the fingers bent under, three in number; the fingers were beneath the ground, of a beautiful rose color tipped with pure white, and these again held to a leathery, round, whitish ball, with rootlets not unlike a French truffle in size and shape. This underground ball I did not then perceive, as the fingers had detached themselves from it as I drew the thing out of the ground. There was something indescribably cold and disgusting in the touch of it as it lay for a moment on the palm of my hand while I examined it; but how can I describe the horrible stench that in a second pervaded the atmosphere around me; it was intolerable, and I hastily dropped the cold flesh-like object and hurried away from the spot. On the following day having mentioned the facts to a friend, we returned to look for the fungus; the smell, so nauseous, still remained, but we could nowhere find the cause.
Since then, in gardening, I frequently have found these curious fungi, always growing out of a sandy peat.
Like the fairy tales of old, some very interesting fungi suddenly grew up at the foot of a tall pine in our garden; they were about eight inches high, and in form like an English snow drop, each silvery stem bearing a delicate bell pendant, slightly fringed, and lovely in the extreme; they grew in a little group. It was quite early on a frosty morning when I discovered them. Later •in the day when my grandson came in from school, I told him of the pretty things, and took him to look at them; they had totally disappeared, and I have not found any more like them.