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Arts Quad

Three edible species of Coprinus

Atkinson studied both edible and poisonous species of mushrooms, and meant to help people know the difference. He wrote:

"During the early summer of 1897, while collecting a "mess" of Coprinus micaceus from a large tuft growing around the base of a stump on one of the principal streets of Ithaca, a passer-by halted, probably for the charitable purpose of giving some information which he thought might save my life. "Them's toad-stools ain't they?" "Yes," I replied. "Well, I thought so," said he. Thereupon I ate one of the "toad-stools" raw, and received from him a look of mingled pity and despair as he passed on."1




G.F. Atkinson, 1899. Three edible species of Coprinus. Cornell University Agr. Exper. Station Bulletin 168.
Photo: G.F. Atkinson, 1918.





Coprinopsis micaceus (edible).

Atkinson felt strongly about the usefulness of his photographs, and felt them most often superior to drawings and paintings: "That they accurately portray the habit and specific characters of the plants I am convinced by the experiene of my little boy of eight years. While selecting the illustrations for this study one evening, I showed him the photographs, told him the names of each and the parts of the mushroom. The subject was not mentioned again until a week later when I brought in a few specimens of one of the species. "What is the name of this?" I said. "That's the shaggy-mane," he said."1