But Smith's triumph was short-lived. By December Professor Anton de Bary ... had shown that the spores and their accompanying male fertilizing organs, which Smith had depicted within the potato leaves, belonged to another fungus which had contaminated his cultures, and that his drawings were even in some degree the product of his imagination. Britain had no experimental mycologists at that date capable of repeating and checking the observations of Smith and de Bary, and the journals which had published Smith's claim with such a flourish dared not risk losing face by throwing doubt on his work, so his reputation in Britain remained high until the true resting spore was discovered nearly 20 years later.
E. A. Bessey describes this charitably as "A descriptive catalogue of the drawings and specimens in the Department of Botany, British Museum." C. G. Lloyd takes it as an attempt to describe actual fungi and likens it, less charitably, as something like an attempt by someone living in the Sahara to write a book about a rain forest.