Collins Complete British Mushrooms and Toadstools: The essential photograph guide to Britain’s fungi (Collins Complete Guides) Paperback – 3 Sep 2009
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Praise for the Collins Complete series:
'Wonderfully descriptive photographs'
‘Whether you are a keen amateur or someone with a passing interest, this book will satisfy your needs.’
'Packs in lots of well-chosen detail in compact form'
British Wildlife Magazine
About the Author
Paul Sterry has written and illustrated more than 50 books, including the bestselling Collins Complete Guide to British Wildlife and Collins Complete Guide to British Birds.
Trained as a zoologist, Paul has been a wildlife photographer for over 20 years and regularly undertakes research expeditions. He has worked as a Research Fellow at Sussex University studying freshwater ecology. Paul is a keen birder and conservationist.
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Top customer reviews
It's very comprehensive in its coverage (unlike many of the pocket guides) whilst remaining sufficiently small to be useful as a field guide (unlike Phillips and Jordan). Perhaps the only one I might possibly rate above this as a field guide is the Evans & Kibby book because of its well presented identification hints, although the arrangement of species within that book is a little unusual.
The photography, all taken in situ, is excellent although agarics and boletes are often represented by a single sample (which is something where Phillips excels by having multiple specimens, albeit uprooted and plonked on a table to be photographed).
There is a brief end section which contains information on tree identification and examples of fungi associated with different trees, helpful identification information which fungi books tend to lack. Whilst useful as a starter, I would have liked to have seen something more comprehensive.
On a final note, anyone looking to buy a book for identifying edible fungi should look elsewhere, as the edibility or otherwise of each species is not indicated.
(*After, in roughly size order,
Gardweidner, Mushrooms and Toadstools (Collins Nature Guide)
Anon, Field Guide to Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Britain and Europe
Spooner, Mushrooms and Toadstools (Collins Wild Guide)
Evans & Kibby, Fungi (Pocket Nature)
Grunert, Field Guide to Mushrooms of Britain and Europe
Lawrence & Harniess, Mushrooms and Other Fungi (Identification Guides)
Keizer, The Complete Encyclopedia of Mushrooms
Jordan, The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe)
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.
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