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The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe Hardcover – 29 Sep 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles; First Edition edition (29 Sept. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715301292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715301296
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 23.5 x 28.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

... well designed and very easy to use ... it's also one of those absorbing reference books which, having found what you were looking for, you keep reading (Organic Gardening)

The clear photographs in this manual should help us to sort out our yummy mushrooms from our poisonous toadstools (Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Jordan is a qualified botanist who has been studying and collecting fungi throughout Britain and Europe for more than 25 years. An established writer and broadcaster on mycology, his series Mushroom Magic, for Channel 4, brought this fascinating subject to a wide audience and put the accompanying book into the bestsellers list. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I know nothing about fungi until a few weeks ago when using my macro lens I started filming various types simply as most of the insect life had gone to bed for the winter. To ID the pictures I needed a guide to what I was filming.

I spent a week or so looking through the Amazon listings and reading all the reader's reviews to try and get the best guide I could. (When I say the best I mean in terms of one I could use rather then something that was too basic or so advanced I'd be lost).

With only one review of this book I was in two minds to get or not, but then decided I would give it a go.

It came today and for the past few hours I have been going through it. The photos are all by natural light where ever possible,....that means a lot when you are trying to match it up with what you have seen or have a picture of. The pictures are also good at showing the conditions they are found in. The text is excellent for each species. At the front there are various chapters on how to ID the fungi, a colour key and a ID key for all the species featured in the book.

Having purchased various guides on insects, plants and wildlife in the past few months I have to say that I cannot imagine how Michael Jordan could have improved on this excellent guide and encyclopedia. My only wish is he turns his hand at an insect guide next!!! LOL.

Michael clearly loves his subject, and that love is so apparent in this book. A classic guide.
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Format: Paperback
* I am a complete fungi novice - please bare that in mind when reading this review! *

This fungi encyclopaedia by Michael Jordan is the 2004 revised edition of his highly regarded 1995 original. As a revised edition, you'd expect it to be excellent quality, and so it is; listing more than a thousand species with superb photographs and detailed descriptions.

The first `introductory' sections to this encyclopaedia, ending on p33, offer some very helpful advice on fungi biology and structure; with a `How to use this book' feature - which you'll need to read! - and a reference section with bibliography and glossary. The main encyclopaedia then follows.

If you take advantage of Amazon's excellent `Search Inside' feature, you'll see how Jordan lays out the entries. It's very thorough, with long, impossible to pronounce Latin names (very few have English names), dimensions, detailed descriptions of the cap, gills and stem of the fungi (if it has them), as well as microscopic analysis of the spores and any relevant chemical tests.

Anna and I are, therefore, starting to discover that the task of identifying each fungi accurately is legendarily difficult! This is not helped when names and classification of fungi are continually changing and, authors can apparetnly disagree on both. Also, it appears that fungi are continuing to evolve thus giving rise to frequent new strains.

As a novice, this is supremely difficult to overcome - but it is the nature of the fungal beast, not a fault of this book. However, relevant photographs of all listed fungi in their young, mature and `over-blown' state would be very useful. This is because a mushroom (for instance) that starts out as pink ball, may mature into a white umbrella shape.
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Format: Paperback
Jordan's enormous book is the product of 30 years spent studying and collecting fungi. Jordan is a botanist, heads up an association of fungus groups, and ran the Mushroom Magic TV series on the UK's Channel 4.

The Encyclopedia of Fungi is far too large to take into the field, so you have to decide whether to make notes, to take photographs, or to collect specimens to bring back to the book.

Jordan hesitates to give us English names; they are displayed only for species with well-established names, in small type below the Latin name of the species' family.

The fungi are arranged in systematic order, with full taxonomic details: e.g. Agaricomycetidae, Agaricales, Pluteaceae left, centre and right of the page header; but there are no English names of groups.

A double-page spread takes up 42 x 27 centimetres of your desk, and displays an impressive 6 species - often of the same genus - at once.

The descriptions are precise and not too densely technical.

Attributes listed are dimensions, cap, gills, spores, stem, odour, taste, chemical tests and occurrence. Edibility is noted with a brief description and a symbol.

Every species is illustrated with just a single colour photograph taken in the field - a bold decision. Specimens are mostly mature, upright and whole, though often as well one specimen has been uprooted and laid down so its bulb (volva) and gills can be seen. This has the advantage that you see the species in its habitat, and the serious disadvantage that there are no cut sections to show how the gills are attached, nor the curvature of the cap. You also don't get to see the cap from directly overhead, whereas you often do in Phillips.
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Format: Paperback
This guide is on a par with the older Roger Phillips "Mushrooms" and very similar in size and format. Unlike Phillips, all photographs have been shot in situ. With so few guides to fungi available, and each covering a particular selection of species, it's best to assemble a good library - and this should be one of the major works. Even though the focus is Britain and Europe, many of the fungi have much wider ranges and this book is invaluable elsewhere in the world too (I use it regularly in temperate and tropical America).

Chris Sharpe, 3 August 2007. ISBN: 0711223793
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