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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The plus side:
- Excellent photos of the fungi described.
- Regionally specific.
- Barely lightweight and compact enough to pass itself off as a 'field guide'.
The minus side:
- Inexplicably ignores popular species regularly collected like Lactarius rubidus ( Candy Cap) and Psilocybe semilanceata
( Liberty Cap ).
- Even though presented as a 'field guide' it omits sensory identification clues in many instances like smell, taste, texture with each species cited.
- Uses a paragraph style descriptive approach that isn't really helpful ( in my opinion ) in a 'field guide'. Compare to any D.Aurora title to understand what I mean.
- While providing general edibility information in some cases, fails to do so with each species cited.
- Does a poor job, in my opinion, of alerting collectors to potential 'look-alikes' both good and bad and the whole 'edible for some but not others' issue.
- The lack of common names, while not technically necessary, is also not helpful.
- At times reads like Timber Press had their legal department do the editing.
Personally, I collect to consume. While this title is helpful I can't consider it a 'field guide' and would be concerned about anyone using it alone without other, better references like "All the Rain Promises" or "Mushrooms Demystified" ( not a small book either ). That said I do not regret my purchase.
Priced right, on time delivery, no problems whatsoever.
Liberty caps were eaten all of November and December.
Thanks Amazon ! 😜