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Mushrooms Demystified Paperback – October 1, 1986


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Mushrooms Demystified + National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 2 edition (October 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898151694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898151695
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.1 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is the be-all and end-all of mushroom books! Truly an encyclopedia of mushroom facts and lore, lavishly illustrated with full-color photographs, literally everything you need to know about mushrooms, edible or not. Arora has taught mycology for close to twenty years and has hunted and photographed mushrooms across the North American continent. Threaded through the book are his wry and humorous observations and comments, making what could have been a rather dull, "just-the-facts, ma'am" reference book into a really enjoyable read. The stunning photographs of the incredible variety of fungi are fascinating and eye-opening, and while the author gives clear and factual information, the mysterious allure of mushrooms in their countless shapes, sizes and colors is only increased by this huge and delightful book. --Mark Hetts

Review

An exceptional book . . . a must for intermediate and advanced mushroom collectors and those with wide horizons.-Cottage Life

More About the Author

David Arora has taught micology for the last 15 years in California and has hunted and photographed mushrooms across the continent.

Customer Reviews

A great companion book to David Aroras Field guide.
Dale Campbell
The keys very good, are easy to use and the descriptions of each mushroom identified in the book are comprehensive and even entertaining.
T. Vanover
I love and trust the book so much I bought a copy for my 20-something son who's just getting into mycology.
Michael Hilliard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Michael Callahan on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I own a lot of field guides for birds, insects, reptiles, wildflowers and on and on. If you are like me then you enjoy reading field guides like some people read novels. The usual field guides are just monotone dry descriptions and pictures. David Arora's book is apart from the rest. His descriptions are entertaining and witty and filled with good information. Just reading the descriptions is as entertaining as it gets for any book of any genre. The second edition is a door stopper of a book for size but there is very little if no fluff.
The first thing any botanical field guide should have is a good dichotomous key. Arora's book has a very good key. The photos are excellent and the color plates are spectacular. If you think you can identify a mushroom with just a photo then you are treading in dangerous waters. There are countless "Little Brown Mushrooms" that can hardly be distinguished by a photo. You need a key. The same mushroom can vary enormously depending on humidity and age of the specimen. One photo like in some other guides will hardly show all variations in a single mushroom. Photos are OK for other field guides describing birds or wildflowers but for mushrooms, a wrong choice could be life threatening. A photo of a Gomphus could look like a chanterelle. You will find yourself eating something more like cardboard instead of an epicurean delicacy. You could also think Omphalotus is a chanterelle based on a photo, making a deadly mistake. Arora's book will familiarize you with all the distinguishing characteristics that set the poisonous species apart from the edible. In spite of what I say about identifying mushrooms with photos , the black and white photos in the book do very well by showing the mushrooms in varying stages of maturity.
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Buckner on May 9, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really gets into those fungi!! I got this book for my wife and I to use as our complete reference book on mushrooms. The book is a little intimidating because it gets so in-depth. And definitely lacks in good pictures. However, after reading a lot in this book you really start to learn a deeper side to those mysterious fungi. Great humor and candor mixed in throughout the book. The step by step ID section has been right-on in helping to identify mushrooms. There are quite a few I have been unable to identify if only I had a great picture of it! Some of the Step by step groups are so extensive its easy to get lost in them without ever finding your mushroom. By far the the most complete book on mushrooms I've seen but probably not for the total beginner. I will be looking for a companion to this one with more color pictures to help. Don't get me wrong, if you want to really get into mushrooms, or already are into them, this book is a must.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is an essential desk-reference for mushroom enthusiasts. The extensive introduction includes articles on "fungophobia" (fear of eating wild mushrooms), mushroom biology, mushrooms and the environment, scientific names and classification, mushroom collecting, mushroom identification, directions on how to use keys, mushroom FAQs, LBMs (little brown mushrooms), habitats, and a list of 70 distinctive mushrooms. This material is followed by a general key to the major groups of mushrooms, and then over 800 pages of mushroom descriptions, organized according to the key, with additional specific keys for each major group. Brief articles are provided for each individual mushroom species, including scientific name, common names (if available), and descriptive information covering (where relevant) cap, gills, stalk, veil, spores, habitat and edibility. High quality black-and-white photographs are provided for many (though not all) species. There is also a section of color plates in the middle of the book referenced by name and page number to the articles in the text. End material includes articles on mushroom cookery, preservation, and toxins, a dictionary of scientific Latin relevant for mushroom study, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index. A metric/inch ruler is printed on the back cover as a useful measurement aid.

With its varied in-depth articles and large number of species covered, this book is a treasure-trove of information. It is not quite as visual as other large guides, since not all species have photos, and all the photos in the main text are black-and-white. This approach forces the user to rely on reading the details of the key, which is a very sound approach to identification. The first edition of the book was written solely about Californian mushrooms.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best field guide ever done on the subject. Although I was a neurobiology student in grad school, I had an interest in mycology and took every mycology, lichenology, and non-vascular plant course offered at San Francisco State by the great mycologist, Dr. Harry Thiers, so I've had instruction in the subject by the best. And although the academic specialists have done better books on the individual genera, this is still the best overall "nature guide" type book. Just the photographs themselves are worth the price of the book, because they're gorgeous. There is also plenty of information on other topics besides the description and identification material, such as how fungi reproduce, their distribution and ecology, edibility and toxicology, and many other interesting subjects.
The one criticism I've heard about the book from the professional mycologists is that Arora did not do microscopic analysis on his specimens so as to actually prove what species it is. If you approach the book from the standpoint of this being the best book on the art and science of mushroom identification based on macroscopically observable features, you will be fine. It is Arora's expertise in this aspect of mycology and the detailed and clear descriptions of the species for identification purposes that is exceptional about this guide.
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