Saturday, February 25, 2006


Naughty Fungi Names

I picked up Clyde M. Christensen's Common Fleshy Fungi (Minneapolis: Burgess, 1965) for a dollar at a used book shop. Some of these fungi have naughty names, such as Verpa bohemica, Verpa conica, Ithyphallus impudicus, and Ithyphallus ravenelli. You'll have to look up verpa and ithyphallus in your own Latin dictionary. This blog is rated G, after all.

The prudish Thoreau (Journals, October 16, 1856) was shocked and fascinated to find one of these fungi on his rambles through the woods:
One of those fungi named impudicus, I think. In all respects a most disgusting object, yet very suggestive. . . . It was as offensive to the eye as to the scent, the cap rapidly melting and defiling what it touched with a fetid, olivaceous, semiliquid matter. In an hour or two the plant scented the whole house wherever placed, so that it could not be endured. I was afraid to sleep in my chamber where it had lain until the room had been well ventilated. It smelled like a dead rat in the ceiling, in all the ceilings of the house. Pray, what was Nature thinking of when she made this? She almost puts herself on a level with those who draw in privies.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?