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PREFACE.

Of the many interesting problems involved in the elucidation of the life-history of the various members of the fungus kingdom, there are none more important to the agriculturist than those connected with the development of the Uredineæ and Ustilagineæ. Not alone to the cultivator of plants are these phenomena of interest, but also to the student of botany and microscopy.

The work of Tulasne in France, and of De Bary in Germany, during the past thirty years, laid the foundation of our knowledge of the biology of these fungi. More recently the continued researches of De Bary, of Schröter, the late Dr. Winter, Wolff, Kühn, Magnus, Woronin, and Hartig in Germany, of Oersted, Rostrup, and Nielsen in Denmark, of Fischer Von Waldheim in Russia, and of Farlow and Thaxter in America, have so increased our information as to render necessary a re-classification of our British species.

The object of the present work is to supply the British student, not only with improved descriptions of these parasites, but also with an account of their life-history as far as this is at present known.

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With this object, the materials from which the following pages are compiled have been collected from the various handbooks, transactions, pamphlets, and periodicals in which the several authors have published their work. This has been a task of some little difficulty, and has taken several years to accomplish. It has been my endeavour in all cases to acknowledge the individual work of each author, but has not always been possible for me to

do so.

The descriptions of the species are in the main those of the late Dr. Winter in the new edition of Rabenhorst's "Kryptogamen-Flora," although I have not scrupled to amend them in various ways, partly from my own observations, and partly from the writings of others. The arrangement of the species is that first proposed by Dr. J. Schröter and employed by Winter in the above-named work, to which I must refer the student for the descriptions of those European species which are not known to be British, as well as for the full details of the synonymy of those described in the present work. As the present generation of British students owe their knowledge almost exclusively to the writings of Dr. M. C. Cooke, the synonymy of his two works, “The Handbook of British Fungi," and "Microscopic Fungi,” is given in full. The synonymy of the older British botanists has, however, not been omitted.

The biology of the Uredineæ is, in the main, the work of the late Professor De Bary, and of the Ustilagineæ that of Von Waldheim, Brefeld, and Schröter. During the past seven years I have devoted much time to these two groups of fungi, and have made between nine hundred and a thousand experimental cultures, with the object of working out the life-history of those species of which it was unknown, as well as of testing the accuracy of the statements of other botanists. The results of my cultures have been from time to time published in various botanical periodicals of this and other countries, and in the Transactions of the Linnean and Royal Societies.

It was at one time hoped, when the æcidiospores and uredospores were shown not to be distinct species, that continued biological investigation would materially lessen the number of species of the Uredineæ. I am convinced, however, that modern botanists have erred in grouping together forms on account of the similarity of the teleutospores; for instance, the Pucciniæ on the Compositæ, Labiatæ, Umbelliferæ, etc. The proper limitation of species of these parasites cannot be effected on purely morphological grounds; it can only be accomplished when the morphological characters are supplemented by a knowledge of the life-history of each individual species.

I am greatly indebted to my friend, Professor J. W. H. Trail, of Aberdeen, for his kind assistance in the revision of the proof-sheets.

I have also to thank numerous friends and correspondents, both in this country and abroad, for information and material for experiment, amongst whom I must mention Professor Farlow, of Harvard University ; Mr. W. B. Grove; Rev. Dr. Keith ; Dr. P. Magnus, of Berlin ; Mr. W. Phillips, F.L.S.; Mr. H. T. Soppitt; Professor P. Sorauer, of Proskau; Rev. Dr. Stevenson; Rev. J. E. Vize; the late Dr, Winter, and many others.

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