An EXPLANATION of the NINTH PLATE
The Form of Blue or White Mould
FRUITS, Herbs, Leaves, Roots, Cheese, Leather, and many other moist Things, are
frequently observed with hairy Spots upon them, of a blue or white Colour, such as
we commonly call Mouldincss. The Figure now before us was a Spot of that Kind, found
on the red Sheep-skin Cover of a Book, and examined by the Microscope, which dis-
covered it to be a pretty Sort of Vegetable, pushing out Multitudes of small long cylin-
drical and transparent Stalks, not exactly upright, but bending a little with the Weight
of a round white Knobs or Ball, that grew on the Top of each.
Many of these Knobs were very round, and had a smooth Surface, such as A A A A A A.
Others were also smooth, but somewhat of an oblong Shape, as B.
Several of them were broken a little, appearing with a sew Clefts on the Top, as C.
Others again were shattered, or flown to pieces, in the Manner of D D D D.
Their whole Substance was very tender, much like that of the softer Kind of common
white Mushroom, for the least Touch with a Pin tore them ; and though they grew near
together in a Cluster, each Stem seemed to rise from a separate Root, out of a distinct
Part or Pore of the Leather. Some were small and short, seeming but newly sprung up,
with Balls for the most part round. Others were taller and larger, being probably of a
longer Growth, the Heads of which appeared mostly broken, and several of them much
wasted, as E.
It was not easy to find out what these Heads contained, or whether they were Flowers
or Seed-Vessels ; but they seemed to bear the nearest Resemblance to the Heads of Mush-
rooms, and were very disagreeable both to the Taste and Smell.
The Microscope discovers several Species of minute Plants, very different from one
another, composing what we call Mouldiness, as found on different Sorts of Things, and
at different Seasons of the Year ; some resemble Spunge, others Pust-Balls, and others
a Thicket of Bushes, very much branched, and extending much in Length, in proportion
to their Thickness, like creeping Brambles.
Our Author supposes that Mushrooms, and the Microscopical Plants, we are now de-
scribing, may be generated at any Time, and from any Kind of putri?ied Substance, either
animal or vegetable, without Seed ; merely by the friendly Concurrence of either natural
or artisicial Heat and Moisture : And adds, that he could never sind any thing like Seeds
in Mushrooms. But later Discoveries have proved him greatly mistaken in this Respect,
by shewing that Musbrooms produce Seeds in prodigious Numbers, as any Body may be
satisfied who will take the Trouble to examine the Gills of them with good Glasses : And
tho' it may be impossible to discern the like on these minute Plants, it is not improbable
that their round Heads may contain also an Abundance of Seeds, which becoming ripe
in a sew Hours, are spirted to some small Distance round about, where finding a proper
Bed, they presently spring up, and soon bear S?eds themselves.
And is so, we need no longer wonder at the speedy spreading of Mouldiness over any
Body whereon it once appears. It must be owned,that Heat and Moisture, and oftentimes
a Degree of Putresaction in the Substance, are requisite to make these little Plants thrive ;
but that such Principles should be able to create them, must, I think, be past the Belies
os any who have studied Nature by the Help of Glasses.
PLATE IX. FIG. 2.
A curious Plant on the Leaves of Rose-Trees
Towards the End of Summer, when the Leaves of Damask-Rose Trees begin to
dry and turn yellow,
they frequently have yellow Specks on their upper Surface ;
over against which, exactly on the Under-side, may be sound little yellow Hillocks of a
gummy Substance, with black Specks in the Middle of them, appearing to the naked Eye
no bigger than the smallest Tittle that can be made with a Pen.
|Plants on Ro?
The Oval Figure O O O O, which is given here, as examined by the Microscope, was
a Piece of Rose-Leas, about the Size of the little Oval marked X, on the Hillock C. On