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Mushrooms of North America Paperback – April, 1991

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Paperback, April, 1991
$16.91 $4.01
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this beautifully illustrated book, Phillips vividly presents the world of mushrooms. Unlike the photographs in other guides, which are taken in the field, the more than 1000 color photographs featured here were shot in the studio in order to capture both the external features of mushrooms as well as their internal anatomy. Each picture includes specimens representing various stages of growth, and the accompanying annotation describes the anatomy of the cap, gills, stem, and spores. In addition, the author explains where the particular species of mushroom is found, its season of growth, and whether or not it is edible. Amateur mycologists as well as professionals in the field will find this book an invaluable guide. Highly recommended as a basic library reference source.
- Paul C. Radich, Univ. of Indianapolis
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This is a paperback version of the well-received 2005 hardcover book of the same name. The 2005 publication was previously published as Mushrooms of North America (Little, Brown, 1991). Although this does not detract from the wealth of useful information contained here, it alerts the many libraries holding the earlier versions. Author Phillips is widely respected for his many fungi and horticultural books. He is able to engage the assistance of many experts, thereby increasing the value to users. The introduction includes information on mushroom poisoning and handling of mushrooms and generic beginner’s keys with and without sample photographs. Mycological terminology is very specialized, so the glossary is most welcome to novice and expert users. The descriptions of each species include geographic range and fruiting season and a statement of poison danger or a comment on edibility. There are two important differences in the new version. One is the absence of a bibliography. The other is that the quality of the photographs is not as good as in the 2005 hardcover. An advantage of the paperback for mycologists and amateur fungi enthusiasts is its portability in a mushroom searcher’s pocket, bag, or collection basket. If an earlier version of the guide is not in a library’s collection, this one should be. --Linda Scarth --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P) (April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316706132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316706131
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,600,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Our yard, which is surrounded by swamps and a pine barren, is a haven for mushrooms: bright yellow ones that look like curdled egg yolk; morels in the spring (yummy); groups of flat-headed, long-stemmed mushrooms with black gills that turn into an inky sludge overnight (if you step into the sludge you're doomed), and shelves of multicolored fungi that grow on dead trees.

I figured it was time to consult a book on mushrooms, and this one is a doozy. "Mushrooms of North America" has over a thousand color photographs of mushrooms, along with detailed descriptions of its subjects.

The explanatory paragraphs include a description of the mushroom's cap, gills, stem, veil, and flesh. There is also information on the mushroom's odor, taste, spores, and habitat (including the season when it can be found). Additional comments are included on important matters such as edibility.

The introduction has directions on how to use this book. Novice mycologists like me are supposed start at the two-page "Beginner's Key" that illustrates some of the most common groups (genera) of mushrooms. So, let me go out and collect a mushroom and see if I can identify it from the "Beginner's Key"...

Unfortunately, my mushroom doesn't look like anything in the "Beginner's Key" but I have learned two things: (1) I need to collect the base of the mushroom in order to completely identify it. I can't just break the mushroom off at ground level; (2) spore color is an important identification key.

This book has directions on how to collect spores, but for the impatient it may be possible to scan through all thousand photographs and get a hit without waiting overnight for the spores to show up, which is what I did.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By J. Denk on October 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
On the plus side, this book exhaustively presents lots of species, including quite a few not covered in other popular guides, and in general, the photos are very good in all respects save one: the color accuracy. It appears that there has been little or no attempt to use color management when it came time to reproduce the photos. It appears that the mushrooms were all photographed in-studio rather than in the field, against a gray background. To appreciate how much the color reproduction varies, just look at the gray background in each photo, and you'll see just how off the color really is.

Other than that, I'd give the book 5 stars, but accurate color is very important in a book like this, so I give it 3 stars.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Diane on June 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have been a mushroom enthusiast for years now, but when I was given this fine book for my birthday, my excitement was doubled. The endless, clear, complete photos give all phases of the fungi you could find in the wild, not just a single photo or drawing. The written information is complete and easy to read. The glossary is amazing.The photos are so lovely you'd be proud to have them hanging in your house! The only drawback is it's too large to take into the field, but I always have it waiting for fast and certain identification at the end of a day.This is a "can't do without it" book for the mushroom hunter. His book on European mushrooms is equally fine.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roger Eklund on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent to keep in the car during forays and cross reference with mushroom field guides. The pictures are almost 3 dimensional and most of them show the various stages of the fruit bodies. The photos also show with clarity, every part of the mushroom in detail in their true colors and variations. This affordable reissue of this highly regarded tome caused quite a clamor in my mycolgist club.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kersi Von Zerububbel VINE VOICE on December 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
To date this is the BEST 'mushroom identification book' that I own. I have used this book for the last 17 years and it has not let me down save for a couple of instances. I have the 1991 paperback edition that is quite easy to tug along on vacation, field trips, and back yards. Yes, the size makes it a tad inconvenient on long trips but having large, clear pictures and the identification points on the same or the page next to the picture makes rapid identification a lot easier. So in my opinion this more than makes up for the large size problem.

The author does state that for an accurate identification the ENTIRE specimen should be uprooted to use the base, spore colors etc as identifying points. Please be aware that in many parks and private property areas uprooting specimens is prohibited except by permission.

The pictures are quite clear and the author has identification keys that make the text very easy to follow. There are a couple of issues that I wish were fixed. First, the pictures are not taken in the field but in a studio with a bluish grey background. This helps because ALL parts of the mushroom are clearly visible but the background used diffues the color scheme of the specimen. In most cases this is no big deal I was easily able to identify specimens but in some cases I was led down the wrong path. Secondly, the key does not contain all specimens but that is understandable.

All in all I am very happy that I chanced upon this book in 1991. It has served me well all these years. In fact just this morning while working on my sprinkler heads I used this book to identify a specimen I had not seen before. I have checked out the new edition which is in hardback but I prefer my old reliable companion so I'll just keep it.
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