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Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms & Toadstools ISBN 978-0-00-723224-6,
This review is from: Collins Complete British Mushrooms and Toadstools: The essential photograph guide to Britain's fungi (Collins Complete Guides) (Paperback)
The coverage of the book is much wider than that of other mushroom pocket identification guides. Yes, the 1,500 photographs is a typical number but that is where it ends.
Before continuing, I must say that this account is personal and idiosyncratic, based on many years of using an increasing personal library of mushroom books and accumulated field experience, although the latter is still very amateur. I have not gone back to my other books to check my impressions but so many features of this book are unique to it that such an omission is of, at most, little consequence.
At the beginning of the book there is a page of colour photos illustrating cap shape and cap texture and others on gills and stem shapes and ringshapes and attachement, all diagnostic characters.
There are 7 pages of Main Fungal Genera and Groups, each with colour photo(s) and a paragraph of text. (Other books may have some sort of summary but I find this more comprehensive and user-friendly).
Towards the back of the book there is a section on Clubs, Corals and allies, better than in any other book, as are the ones on Stinkhorns and Cage Fungi, Bracket Fungi, Toothed Fungi, Earthtongues, Discos, Jellydish Fungi and Earthcups.
There is a useful section on Ruts, Smuts and Mildews.
Slime Moulds (14 illustrations) are a welcome intruder here. However, I have tried locating "moulds", "slime moulds" and "Myxomycetes" but they are absent from both the Contents and the Index. The species illustrated are listed in the Index so, if you know your slime mould genera, you are in with a chance. (They are on pages 334 & 335). In my opinion, not only should the Index have suitable terms added but the Contents should give more detail.
For the connoisseur there is a section on Dung Fungi and another on Burnt Ground Fungi.
Further specialist sections cover fungi of Oak Woods, Beech Woods, conifer woods, etc. Others cover bogs, marshes, grassland.
Lichens (4 pages) also have their section.
Finally, trees being specifically associated with various fungus species, there are four pages of trees and shrub bark, foliage and fruits photos which are not given comprehensively in popular guides to trees.
If you want one book on fungi this is the one, unless you want to know more about edibility or poisonous hazards of the species, which is not covered in this book.