Shop now Shop now</arg> Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
33
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£18.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 11 December 2006
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.
0Comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 November 2006
* 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. Unfortunately, this encyclopaedia only has some pictures of fungi in their young and/or old states.

I think Jordan's offering is as good an encyclopaedia as one can expect, and better than many. But the complexities of accurately identifying each species mean that it is always going to be a difficult to use volume. However, it is still top quality, managing to convey the author's passion and it represents superb value for money. Recommended.
0Comment| 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 November 2009
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. The photos are not tightly cropped, either, so the mushrooms are often quite a small part of the image. Identifying down to species is therefore not easy with this book. If you have a microscope you may find the details of asci and spores helpful - complete with dimensions in micrometres - but in that case you would probably want a drawing of the spores anyway. It seems an uneasy balance of technicality and popularity.

For the beginner wanting to get into Fungi, Jordan offers some unique and interesting features. There is a neat page on "Systematics" (a classification of fungi). There is an excellent page of diagrams of fungal structure including structure of typical mushrooms, Helvellas, Discomycetes and Pyrenomycetes. There is a very helpful page of Shapes of Basidiomycete Fungi (i.e. mushrooms with stems and caps) - this replaces the traditional hopelessly confusing appendix full of latinate words, so Jordan is a great improvement. And there is even a beautiful page defining visually the astonishing range of 84 colours used to describe fungi in the book. There is a compact Key (down to Genus level) taking up just over 3 pages, but without illustrations. All of this adds up to a clear, concise, but still somewhat daunting route, not really enough to prevent the reader from simply but somewhat despairingly flipping slowly through the pages in search of a match.

Jordan is a useful book to have for several reasons - it contains information not in many other books; it has good field photographs; it covers species often not covered elsewhere. However, as it is neither a pocketable field guide nor a sufficient desk guide on its own, I would not recommend it as your first or only book on fungi.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 October 2010
I consider myself medium to advanced in identifying the mushrooms and I've been collecting them since year 2000. This book is impressive by the amount of species described, over 1000. It is a true encyclopedia and is rather big in size, yet it is cheap. These are the things I like about it.

What I don't like much is the poor quality of the photos. They appear quite blurry and have too much contrast to compensate the blur. Parts of the mushroom that in reality are grey look white on paper. Overall, I am disappointed in the quality of the photos.

Another thing I don't like much is that the similar species are missing from descriptions. One of the most important thing in collecting the mushrooms is to identify the right one among other species that could be very similar. The subtle differences between species is the key to a positive identification, but this book does not include any comparison. Also, the descriptions are not complete. They include all important details, but it would have been great to have even more details.

Don't get me wrong, it's a valuable book, but I've seen better in terms of descriptions and pictures.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 August 2007
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
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 November 2005
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, it's best to assemble a good library - and this should be one of the major works. Even though the focus is 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).
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 December 2013
By all means buy the Collins fungi guides and Roger Phillips "mushrooms" but those books leave you sifting through endless photos trying to match a fungus. It can be enough to put a learner off!

This book is different - it has a simple key to genera/groups of fungi which gets you in the right place to start with and narrows your search down straight away. Other field guides (such as the new black Collins guide) can then be used to confirm ID.

As someone new to mycology I would NOT BE WITHOUT IT!!!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 November 2016
One of the best guides I have encountered and very helpful in identifying species. The photos in the book are a good guide on how to take your own photos for identification purposes. Very helpful information.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 December 2008
I bought this and Phillips book "Mushrooms". Both books are excellent but the main difference is that Jordan has photographed the fungi in their natural habitat while Phillips are photographed against a plain backdrop. I much prefer the natural photographs as it helps in identification to see what material and habitat the fungi are growing in. Jordan's book also gives a bit more information on collecting, fungi shapes, colours etc. but this is just a personal choice and others may prefer the Phillips layout. All in all and excellent reference book for the fungi enthusiasts library. My only complaint is that it is far too big to carry in the field.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 February 2012
This book is superb. it is on a par with Roger Phillips's "Mushrooms". I have been studying Fungi for about 6 years and have amassed about 15 field guides in that time, most of which merely scratch the surface. They describe so few of the
4000 or so species an enthusiast might encounter so that rather than being helpful they often lead to a frustrating dead end!!
I would recommend this book to anyone who is seriously interested in fungi, the photographs are the best I have seen for clarity and also include the surrounding habitat, they generally show a realistic representation of subtle colours and there is even a colour chart included in the 30 page informative introduction.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)