I got the inspiration to curate this wonderful collection of vintage mushroom charts and mushroom drawings from a recent trip to London.
I love wandering around interior shops and the other day, I was in the H&M home flagship store in London when I spotted a dinner service with printed mushroom illustrations design.
Vintage Natural History Mushroom Charts & Drawings
Did you know that the entire organism is actually known as the fungi and the mushroom is the fruit of the fungi? Therefore all mushrooms are fungi but not all fungi produce mushrooms.
Whatever you call them, mushrooms, fungi or toadstools, these vintage illustrations are wonderful. They would look great framed in any kitchen, especially in those homes with a more country cottage or farmhouse vibe.
If you want a super cute idea for a fun way to display these vintage mushroom illustrations you should check out these whimsical fabric mushrooms.
To download the higher resolution of the mushroom image you want, simply click the title above.
The Mushroom Charts and Mushroom Art
This is a wonderful vintage mushroom chart with over 69 individual mushroom illustrations by the fabulous French naturalist artist Adolphe Millot.
This particular chart is from the French language encyclopedia “Nouveau Larousse illustré“.
There is a key at the bottom of the mushroom chart naming each species. Also, each mushroom illustration is assigned one of the four letters:
- C for comestibles – edible mushrooms
- V for vénéneux – poisonous mushrooms
- S for suspect – Suspect mushrooms
- I for indifferent – Indifferent
Another mushroom poster from Adolphe Millot. This one is from the book “Illustrations for Le Larousse Pour Tous“.
Each mushroom is named individually and assigned with one of the same letters from the other Adolphe mushroom chart above.
This mushroom chart is from an 1886 Botanical Atlas by the Italian botanist Giovanni Briosi.
They look like edible mushrooms to me in this chart, however, I wouldn’t want to risk it.
There are many folk traditions about what are the defining features of a poisonous mushroom. From how they look in both shape and colour, to whether they turn rice red once boiled or even blacken silver.
There are no general identifiers for poisonous mushrooms, so such traditions are unreliable. Guidelines to identify particular mushrooms exist and will work only if you are an expert in identifying toxic mushrooms.
Another group of mushroom drawings from the same book as above. This mushroom chart is more colourful.
This mushroom illustration is from the 1889 German illustrated encyclopedia “Meyers Konversationslexikon“
The German text at the top of the chart simply translates as “mushrooms the description of the species itself under the preceding names”.
There is a species of mushroom that if cooked in a certain way tastes just like fried chicken. It is actually known as “the chicken of the woods“. It is found all over the world.
This collection of fungi illustrations is from the 1908 edition of “The Americana; a universal reference library, comprising the arts and sciences, literature, history, biography, geography, commerce, etc., of the world.“
This wonderful illustrated drawing of English mushrooms is from the book “Coloured figures of English fungi or mushrooms“. By the English naturalist and illustrator, James Sowerby.
This particular mushroom is Armillaria mellea also known as a Honey Fungus. It is edible but some people can be intolerant to it. The fungi tend to grow at the root of trees and plants.
Many more of James Sowerby Mushroom prints can be found here.
Another illustration from Sowerby’s book this is of the edible Coprinellus disseminatus (fairy inkcap) mushrooms.
Another one of Sowerby’s British fungi illustrations. This is a poisonous fungus Coprinopsis picacea, also called the magpie fungus.
Another British mushroom illustration by Sowerby. The amethyst deceiver, an edible but not particularly tasty mushroom.
Even though the mushroom is edible it can absorb toxins from the soil it grows in.
An almost fairytale-like print of British toadstools. The artwork is by Anna Maria Hussey and from the book “Illustrations of British Mycology“.
“Arguably the most iconic toadstool species, the fly agaric is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually red mushroom, and is one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture“.
Another wonderful mushroom painting by Anna Maria Hussey. This beautiful looking mushroom is often referred to the sickener.
This is due to the unfortunate effect the mushroom can have on the stomach when eaten raw. However, if parboiled or pickled, the toxicity of this mushroom can be removed.
A mushroom plant art print from Martin Gerlach’s The Plant in Arts and Craft 1886.
This beautiful illustration of British fungi is from her collection of vintage fruit and vegetable illustrations.