Mushrooms are produced by the earth itself. But there are not many sorts of them which are good to eat; for the greater part of them produce a sensation of choking: on which account Epicharmus, when jesting, said—
You will be choked, like those who waste awayAnd Nicander, in his Georgics, gives a list of which species are poisonous; and says—
By eating mushrooms, very heating food.
Terrible evils oftentimes ariseAnd he says in another place—
From eating olives, or pomegranates, or from the trees
Of maple, or of oak; but worst of all
Are the swelling sticky lumps of mushrooms.
Bury a fig-tree trunk deep in the ground,But all the rest of that passage is in a mutilated state. The same Nicander in the same play writes—
Then cover it with dung, and moisten it
With water from an ever flowing brook,
Then there will grow at bottom harmless mushrooms;
Select of them what's good for food, and not
Deserving of contempt, and cut the root off.
And there, too, you may roast the mushrooms,And Ephippus says—
Of the kind which we call ἀμάνιται.
That I may choke you as a mushroom would.Eparchides says that Euripides the poet was once staying on a visit at Icarus, and that, when it had happened that a certain woman being with her children in the fields, two of them being full-grown sons and the other being an unmarried daughter, eat some poisonous mushrooms, and died with her children in consequence, he made this epigram upon them:— [p. 101]
O Sun, whose path is through th' undying heaven,Diodes the Carystian, in the first book of his treatise on the Wholesomes, says, "The following things which grow wild should be boiled,—beetroot, mallow, sorrel, nettes, spinach, onions, leeks, orach, and mushrooms.
Have you e'er before seen a misery such as this?
A mother, a maiden daughter, and two sons,
All dying on one day by pitiless fate?