- Series: A Timber Press Field Guide
- Flexibound: 352 pages
- Publisher: Timber Press; F First Edition edition (July 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0881929352
- ISBN-13: 978-0881929355
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (A Timber Press Field Guide) Flexibound – July 22, 2009
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“Authoritative, thoughtfully organized, and filled with excellent photos.” —SciTech Book News
“Hold on to your hats, mushroom lovers! This beautifully illustrated guide presents descriptions and photographs of 460 of the region’s most conspicuous, distinctive, and ecologically important mushrooms.” —Chuckanut Reader
From the Back Cover
More than 500 superb color photographs
Helpful keys for identification
Clear coded layout
Covers Oregon, Washington, southern British Columbia, Idaho, and western-most Montana, with an emphasis on the heart of mushroom country: the low- to mid-elevation forest habitats of western Oregon and Washington
Essential reference for mushroom enthusiasts, hikers, and naturalists
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Here is an example gripe which seems pretty indicative of their general dismissal of edibility... On page 49, describing the genus Russula, "The only species our good friend recommended are Russula olivacea and R. xerampelina." Then it skips right over R. olivacea - no description, no picture, no reason for omission - just completely missing. Further, when they get to the other, R. xerampelina, the only mention of edibility is: "It is probably the most frequently eaten Russula." No mention of being commonly known as a Shrimp Mushroom. No mention of look-alikes. Almost nothing of use if you want to consider eating one.
Nearly all of what is in here is a textbook description of mushrooms. In fact, looks like a regurgitation of descriptions from a handful of experts (cited for each). It's kinda halfway between an academic book and one for someone who is not an expert in mycology. Unfortunately that makes it not really great at either.
This book would be much more valuable if they simply recognized that many purchasers would like to learn what they can eat. The simple addition of: 'Edibility:' ____(a few words)____, and 'Easily-confused-with:' or 'See also:' (where applicable). A line or two with each of these would make this book sooooo much more useful.
As it stands, it will be a nice resource as it does have some good info and pics. As a regional book, hopefully it can help narrow things down some. As a stand-alone book to identify something that you might want to eat -- well, it just misses the mark. You cannot even open to the index and find 'chanterelle'. If you know to look for Cantharellus, you are in luck. That about sums it up.
Perhaps a good book for the right crowd. In my opinion, they failed to consider many, if not most, perspective purchasers. Those who don't see the shortcomings that I find fault with, probably don't really need this book.
At first inspection, it's clear that the book is printed on quality paper, with a durable binding, and with an attractive design. The preliminary sections include information on `What are Mushrooms?', `Guidelines for collecting', `Ecology', `Mycorrhizas', `Mushroom poisoning', and `Identification'. The end of the book has a very useful illustrated glossary and a section on types of mushroom poisoning.
As a field guide, the heart of the book is the descriptions and photographs of about 460 species of mushrooms and other fungi. Here, like most mushroom field guides, you will find the mushrooms grouped by macro-morphology and spore print color. There are keys to the 16 groups used by the authors, and keys to the genera in each group, but no keys to the species.
The descriptions are well written, as is the rest of the book. They are short, emphasizing important diagnostic characteristics and often include ecological and edibility information. Ideally, I would prefer to see more complete descriptions, but including longer descriptions in a book with this many species would have made a very large book and the authors had a page limit from their publisher. Ultimately I think their decision to include more species at the expense of longer descriptions was the right choice to make. In fact one of the principle strengths of this book is the large number of species included that you will not find in any other field guide. For example, there is no other North American field guide where you will find descriptions and photos of 25 species of Cortinarius!
The photographs, mostly by Steve Trudell, are excellent, far better than most field guides. The problem is they are presented much too small. Every mushroomer interested in buying this book would be willing to pay a bit more for a larger book with larger photographs. Obviously the publisher does not understand its audience for this book. It's a shame the photographs are not presented in the size that their quality demands. (The senior author told me that the editor had made a verbal promise for larger photographs, but that was ignored after the sale of the publisher and the change of the editor.)
The genera or groups of mushrooms are given a few introductory paragraphs. Relationships to other groups are discussed and the characteristics that unite the group are enunciated. This is very useful in giving the reader a perspective on the group being discussed. The names used for the fungi are up-to-date and significant synonyms are noted. Common names are only given for the few species where common names actually exist. Thankfully the all too common, and regrettable, practice of making up "common names" was not done here.
This volume definitely deserves space on your mushroom book shelf; it's a quality book that you will use often. If you are a mushroomer in the western United States, the book is an essential addition to your library.