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Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America Hardcover – September 22, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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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 the Paperback edition.


Well organized, it is an outstanding introduction to the field of mycology... many valuable tips for collectors. (Marilyn K. Alaimo Chicago Botanic Gardens Current Books on Gardening 2006-05-26)

The quality of the photographs along with the detailed descriptions make the volume and excellent identification guide. (Elaine Exell American Reference Books Annual)

[A] comprehensive guidebook. (Jolene Ketzenberger Indianapolis Star 2005-04-11)

Photos, along with concisely detailed text, make identification of the varieties at least plausible... can also be used as a preliminary reference for the novice mycologist. (John Bagnasco Garden Compass)

An indispensable aid to identification. (Karin Kratz California Garden)

Unlike texts that show only the mature plant, [this book] depicts the mushroom through all stages -- a valuable aid to identification. (Michigan Gardener)

Detailed botanical descriptions and over 1000 photographs that are set against a neutral background to capture all their features... in greater detail than any other mushroom book I've seen. (American Herb Association)

Phillip's pioneering in-studio photography lets you see each species of mushroom up close and personal... there is no better reference. (Maureen Gilmer Scripps Howard News Service 2005-12-25)

[Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America] is quite simply unparalleled as a comprehensive guide to its subject. (Ken Smith London Free Press 2005-11-26)

Featuring more than 1,000 detailed photographs of the mushrooms of North America, arranged alphabetically, this is the perfect reference book. (Globe and Mail 2005-10-29)

The most comprehensive guide ever... the book is great. (David Hobson Kitchener-Waterloo Record 2005-10-22)

In a field well populated by various types of guides, Phillip's book is little short of incredible.... incomparable for identification... If you have even the slightest interest in identifying North American mushrooms, this is -- quite simply -- the book on the topic, bar none. (Linda L. Richards January Magazine)

1,000 extremely detailed color photographs. It is filled with lots of information to go with them. (Susan Banks Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2005-11-20)

Thoroughly engaging and visually appealing... a useful and lovely addition to any nature library. (Jodi Delong Halifax Chronicle Herald 2005-12-04)

Classic mycological book... more than 1,000(!) excellent color photos of North American fungi, plus concise descriptions. (HortIdeas)

Quite simply unparalleled as a comprehensive guide to its subject... a book that is clear, precise, and an unexcelled reference for anyone with an interest in this fascinating and most accessible subject. (Traci Maier Natchez Democrat 2005-11-06)

More than 1,000 handsome color photographs by Roger Phillips illustrate this comprehensive guide to mushrooms and other fungi of North America, in all their astonishing variety. Amateur collectors, expert mycologists and armchair naturalists will welcome the reissue of this valuable reference.... Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America also includes useful tips and helpful advice on collecting specimens and identifying them. This book is the ideal introduction to mycology... Eating the wrong mushroom can have deadly consequences but this book will make identification easier for you as well as fun as--this has got to be the best book I have ever seen for collectors wanting to identify mushrooms and fungi in general. (I Can Garden.com)

A very useful guide to the fungi of North America. (Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report 144 2010-11-14)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; Revised edition (September 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554071151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554071159
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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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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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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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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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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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