Mushrooms of Northeast North America: Midwest to New England Paperback – Apr 8 1999
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George Barron (2015-06-11)
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This is my favorite of a growing 'fungi guide' library, and the first I use when returning home from the field to look at my photos. [A bit tall for the pocket, but narrower than most field guides.] It does not cover everything I find, but neither do any of the others. You have to use multiple sources to get a feel for what you saw, and I now routinely collect a few specimens of the more common things I see to make spore prints to aid identification (but don't eat them!!). Being able to review your own photos helps. Different books have different pictures of the same species, and sometimes I think they look very different (not the same). That tells this newcomer to be even more wary of thinking I know what I'm looking at! Time and experience do make a difference, however, and as with any hobby one knows more as you go along. One thing I learned is to take a specimen of common things you find and make a spore print. This book sorts them that way.
I do like this book best for its treatment of edibles. It lists a dozen or so that are "easy" to recognize and not likely to confuse with dangerous species. Of course if you don't see one JUST like the picture AND matches the details of the description, beware. Other books may differ on the edibility of these, or even offer some that this book says to avoid. So one must start by assuming all specimens are dangerous. That whittles the amatuer's selection down to those half-dozen or so kinds that all the books agree on. Nothing wrong with that! as I've found several of these 'basic' edibles already (morels, black trumpet, inkycap, puffball).
I've recommended this book to friends, and now do so to you, too.
Update: Eight years later and now considered a local expert on fungi (after 15,000 photos and a growing catalog of over 135 genera of fungi in my county, and giving many talks on them [I am a scientist by trade so go 'into' these critters]), I am consuming over a dozen varieties of fungi annually and adding one or two more each year. Because of this book? Yes, but because it got me started and is still my single favorite and the pictures are enticing. But my mushroom book collection has grown to a shelf-full and I consult half a dozen frequently. Still, if you live in the northeast and are just starting out, I recommend this one for getting started - especially over some recent ones that are chatty and too fluffy to be of much use appreciating variety in nature.
Beware, mushroom hunting and fungi appreciation can be addictive. Ask anyone who can spot and identify their favorite edible species in a fraction of a second at 50 mph while driving to the store. Mmmm, Hericium...
This will teach you the anatomy of fungi and show you the proper terms that describe the shapes and structures of a mushroom. Along with a good dichotomous key, this book also has very clear photos and descriptions of each mushroom you may encounter.
I do agree with a complaint from a previous reviewer who mentioned that this book overlooks the Grifola frondosa (maitake) which is widely distributed in the areas this book covers. I don't think it merits a one star.
Another problem I found with this book is the picture of the picture of Omphalotus olerius (Jack O'Lantren) I have come across this species several times and I've seen it look a lot closer to a Cantherellus cibarius than this book makes it seem.
I have learned a lot from this book when I first started collecting and I still find myself going back to it at times. It's still one of my favorite regional field guides.
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