This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
No..................... Locality, Date. Name of collector.
If on ground, low or high, wet or dry, kind of soil; on fallen leaves, twigs, branches, logs, stumps, roots, whether dead or living, kind of tree; in open fields, pastures, etc., woods, groves, etc., mixed woods or evergreen, oak, chestnut, etc.
Whether solitary, clustered, tufted, whether rooting or not, taste, odor, color when bruised or cut, and if a change in color takes place after exposure to the air.
Whether dry, moist, watery in appearance (hygrophanous), slimy, viscid, glutinous; color when young, when old; whether with fine bloom, powder; kind of scales and arrangement, whether free from the cuticle and easily rubbed off. Shape of cap.
Whether straight or incurved when young, whether striate or not when moist.
Whether slimy, viscid, glutinous, kind of scales if not smooth, whether striate, dotted, granular, color; when there are several specimens test one to see if it is easily broken out from the cap, also to see if it is fibrous, or fleshy, or cartilaginous (firm on the outside, partly snapping and partly tough). Shape of the stem.
Color when young, old, color when bruised, and if color changes, whether soft, waxy, brittle, or tough; sharp or blunt, plane or serrate edge.
Color if present, changing after exposure, taste.
(Inner veil.) Whether present or not, character, whether arachnoid, and if so whether free from cuticle of pileus or attached only to the edge; whether fragile, persistent, disappearing, slimy, etc., movable, etc.
Present or absent, fragile, or persistent, whether movable, viscid, etc.
Present or absent, persistent or disappearing, whether it splits at apex or is circumscissile, or all crumbly and granular or floccose, whether the part on the pileus forms warts, and then the kind, distribution, shape, persistence, etc.
Color when caught on white paper.
To the close observer additional points of interest will often be noted.
Frequently the smaller specimens will dry well when left in the room, especially in dry weather, or better if they are placed where there is a draft of air. Some dry them in the sun. But often the sun is not shining, and the weather may be rainy or the air very humid, when it is impossible to dry the specimens properly except by artificial heat. The latter method is better for the larger specimens at all times. During the autumn when radiators are heated the fungi dry well when placed on or over them. One of the best places which I have utilized is the brick work around a boiler connected with a mountain hotel. Two other methods are, however, capable of wider application.
A tin oven about 2x2 feet, and two or several feet high, with one side hinged as a door, and with several movable shelves of perforated tin, or of wire netting; a vent at the top, and perforations around the sides at the bottom to admit air. The object being to provide for a constant current of air from below upwards between the specimens. This may be heated, if not too large, with a lamp, though an oil stove or gas jet or heater is better. The specimens are placed on the shelves with the accompanying notes or numbers. The height of this box can be extended where the number of specimens is great.
A very successful method which 1 employed at a summer resort at Blowing Rock, N. C, in the mountains of North Carolina, during September, 1899, was as follows : An old cook stove was set up in an unoccupied cottage, with two wire screens from 3x4 feet, one above the other, the lower one about one foot above the top of the stove. Large numbers can be dried on these frames. Care of course must be taken that the plants are not burned. In all cases the plants must be so placed that air will circulate under and around them, otherwise they are apt to blacken.
When the plants are dry they are very brittle and must be handled carefully. When removed from the drier many kinds soon absorb enough moisture to become pliant so that they are not easily broken. Others remain brittle. They may be put away in small boxes; or pressed out nearly flat, not so as to crush the gills, and then put in paper packets. The plants which do not absorb sufficient moisture from the air, so that they are pliant enough to press, can be placed in small boxes or on paper in a large box with peat moss in the bottom, and the box then closed tightly until they absorb enough moisture to become flexible. The plants must not get wet, and they should be examined every half hour or so, for some become limp much sooner than others. If the plants get too moist the gills crush together when pressed, and otherwise they do not make such good specimens. When the specimens are dried and placed in the herbarium they must be protected from insects. Some are already infested with insects which the process of drying does not kill. They must be either poisoned with corrosive sublimate in alcohol, or fumigated with carbon disulphide, and if the latter it must be repeated one or two times at an interval of a month to catch those which were in the egg state the first time. When placed in the herbarium or in a box for storage, naphtha balls can be placed with them to keep out insects, but it should be understood that the naphtha balls will not kill or drive away insects already in the specimens. Where there are enough duplicates, some specimens preserved in 75 per cent, alcohol, under the same number, are of value for the study of structural characters.