Ad ligna putrida congregalus. - Coll. n. 843. - PI.
Species profecto mirabilis ob formas quas in serie continua vegetationis maxime varias induit. Mycelium hujus alutaceum ad lignum longe lateque explicatur, ex quo surgunt individua plura, plus minus approximata interdum et aggregata. Junior fungus albus et obovatus, Lycoperdoni haud absimilis. Tum peridium exterius 5 ad 8 millim. diametro metiens, integrum est adhuc et verrucis crassis concoloribus, nempe albis, ovoideo-acuminatis coopertum, intusque pallidum, columella filiformi instructum et cellulis linearibus flexuosis radiantibus repletum, ita ut in hoc vegetationis statu speciem Cyclodermatis aut Secotii juniorem esse videre tibi videatur. Tandem apice in lacinias quinas, flaccidas, irregulares, patentes aut revolutas, deciduas ad medium usque finditur et inferne integra cupulariformis permanet. Peridium interius globoso-depressus ardosiacus, diametro 5 millim. aequans, flaccidus, collabens, centro umbilicato marginato. Os conicum, sericeum, primitus clausum, dein late apertum. Columella evanescens. Sporae atrae, sessiles.
Minute, wood-loving; outer peridium open-cupulate, thin, rigid, finely divided into six or less segements, these deciduous; inner peridium sessile, depressed-spherical, slate-colored; mouth conical, silky with a orbicular, concave disc having an acute margin.
HAB. Caespitose over decaying wood.
DESC. The species is surely wonderful (mirabilis) as it represents a very different form of continuous growth in this series. Spreading out broadly over wood is the tan mycelium, from which many individuals arise, more or less closely adhering and sometimes aggregated. The immature fungus is white and obovate, not unlike a Lycoperdon. Outer peridium (measuring 5 to 8 millimeters in diameter) initially ovoid-acuminate, white, and covered with with thick, concolorous warts, inwardly pallid, furnished with a filiform columella and filled with flexous, linear, radiating cells, so that in this young state of growth it would look like a species of Cyclodermatis or Secotii. Finally, the apex splits down to about the middle into five, irregular, flaccid segments, either open or revolute, which remain attached below in the form of a cup. Inner peridium depressed-spherical (5 millimeters in diameter), slate-colored, even, flaccid, collapsing, centrally umbilicate with a border. Mouth conical, silky, closed at first, and then opening widely. Columella evanescent. Spore black, sessile.
OBS. It is not without some reason that I gave this Geastre the epithet of mirabilis. The morphology of this kind has been seldom studied even by Vittadini, that if I hadn't had in my own collection a longitudinal section of G. Bryantii, received from my friend Berkeley, who explained to me this morphology, I would have perhaps made the fault of taking this rudimentary state of this curious species for a new species of the genus Cycloderma, that I know, besides, only by the figure which was given of it in Linaea. I there observed, in fact, a filiform columella from which radiated in all directions of locules linear, winding, which connected it to the internal peridium. I did not manage to believe the identity of the two states that following the first by consecutive gradations until maturity, where doubt should stop, in determining the genus. As for the species, though similar to the preceding one*, the habitat, size, the warty covering of the outer peridium, especially the mycelium, spread out over decaying wood like the skin of a glove, will be enough, I hope, in the eyes of mycologists, to just the legitimacy of it.
* Presumably #594. Geastrum saccatum (as Geaster) that proceeds this present taxon (#595) in the text.
Geastrum Schweinitzii (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Zeller n. comb.:
Zeller, S.M. 1948. Mycologia 40(6): 649.
COILOMYCES CHWEINITZII Berk. & Curtis.
A study of the type of this genus and species, which is to be found in the Herbarium at N.Y.B.G., verifies Fischer's* assumption that this genus was based on a collection of Geastrum mirabile Mont. from Surinam. The central cavity to which the authors referred and upon which the generic name was based is where the relatively large columella had collapsed. The Berkeley and Curtis specific name predates Montagne's name and necessitates the following new combination:
Geastrum Schweinitzii (Berk. & Curtis) Zeller n. comb.
Coilomyces SchweinitziBerk. & Curtis, Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia (Series2) 2: 279-280. 1853.
Geastrum mirabile Mont., Ann. Sci. Nat., Ser. IV 3: 139-140. pl. 6, f. 8. 1855.
Geaster papyraceus B.& C. Am. Acad. Arts & Sci. Proc. 4: 124. 1858.
Geaster lignicola Berk., Linn. Soc. Bot. Jour. 18: 386. 1891.
Geaster caespitosus Lloyd, Myc. Writ. 2: 315. pl. 100. 1907.
* Fischer, Ed. Gasteromycetes in Engler and Prantl, Die Nat. Pflanzen-fam. 7a: 1-122. 1933. (See p. 76.).