An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Xunpu 菌譜

Jun 17, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Xunpu 菌譜 (also written 蕈譜) is a book on mushrooms written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Chen Renyu 陳仁玉, of which not much is known. He once served as director in the Ministry of Rites. The Xunpu was, according to the preface, written in 1245. It describes the different kinds of mushrooms growing in the area of Taizhou 臺州, Zhejiang, the home town of Chen Renyu. In total, there are 11 kinds of mushrooms, namely hexun 合蕈, chougaoxun 稠膏蕈, likexun 栗殼蕈, songxun 松蕈, zhuxun 竹蕈, maixun 麥蕈, yuxun 玉蕈, huangxun 黃蕈, zixun 紫蕈, sijixun 四季蕈 and egaoxun 鵝膏蕈. The author describes the places where these kinds of mushroom grow, when they are to be harvested, they appearance, and, in an appendix, how to treat persons poisoned by a mushroom.
Although the Xunpu is far from providing a complete overview of all types of mushrooms, it is practically the first treatise of this kind. It is interesting that the detoxicating methods described by Chen Renyu differ from those described by much earlier books like Zhang Hua's 張華 Bowuzhi 博物志 and Tao Hongjing's 陶弘景 Bencao zhu 本草注.
The Xunpu is included in the reprint series Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Zhucong bielu 珠叢別錄, Shoushange congshu 守山閣叢書 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1866.