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tahir

Fungi book, any good?

http://tinyurl.com/fmnyr
sean

My, Grandma what big links you have.... Wink
cab

Its a really handy reference guide, but a lot harder to use than Phillips. I use it to check the ID's of species that I've only got a shady identification on from Phillips.
dougal

I don't know this book.
I have Jordan's (1997) New Guide to Mushrooms, and its pretty clear and well illustrated.

It is very useful to have a variety of books (and importantly authors).
I find having both photos and illustrations to be very useful.

Its important not to regard any single author (or book) as being a definative reference on all species that you might encounter.
picman

I've got Michael's encylopedia... very good book. I met him when he came to the first foray of a new group in my area last year (to help kick it off) so it is a signed copy.

I now use it rather than Roger Philips as my first port of call for identifying stuff (not that I'm very good at that... certainly not good enough to trust myself to eat much!!!). The main difference (other than the use of modern names rather than older names) is that all the pictures are taken in the field, rather than in isolation.

Mark
Silas

Is the Collins one any good?
cab

Silas wrote:
Is the Collins one any good?


I've never found a collins guide that was good on its own, without any supporting material.
Silas

Ah!

Thats why it was so cheap then!
cab

Silas wrote:
Ah!

Thats why it was so cheap then!


That is indeed why its so cheap Smile

If its cheap, buy it, its worth having. I can't say that any of the mushroom books I've got aren't worth having.
dougal

Silas wrote:
Is the Collins one any good?


AFAIK Collins publish quite a few different mushroom guides.

cab wrote:
I've never found a collins guide that was good on its own, without any supporting material.

I have suggested that *no* one guide be considered authoritative on its own. A second opinion is a very good thing to have.
Personally, I find comparing a specimen with both (plural) photographs and illustrations to be very valuable -- given the variabile appearance of botanically identical fungi.

If a beginner is looking for a *single* introductory book to the UK edible species, its actually a Collins product that I'd recommend. Its called "How to identify edible mushrooms" (sometimes "How to I.D. edible mushrooms") and it does 'what it says on the tin' really quite well. Although it is important to remember that there are hundreds (thousands?) of mushrooms one might come across that simply aren't in the book, the book is just aiming to help you recognise the commonest good edible species and distinguish them from similar thingies that one wouldn't choose to eat. Which is what most beginners need, isn't it?

Phillips was actually *my* first book, and while I firmly think that it should be in everyone's collection, I don't think its the ideal starting point.

I wonder what Cab advises as a first, single book?
cab

dougal wrote:

I have suggested that *no* one guide be considered authoritative on its own. A second opinion is a very good thing to have.
Personally, I find comparing a specimen with both (plural) photographs and illustrations to be very valuable -- given the variabile appearance of botanically identical fungi.


Thats certainly true. But I will confess that more often than not I only check a book to confirm what I already suspect to be true, and then I'm not quite so cautious.

Quote:

If a beginner is looking for a *single* introductory book to the UK edible species, its actually a Collins product that I'd recommend. Its called "How to identify edible mushrooms" (sometimes "How to I.D. edible mushrooms") and it does 'what it says on the tin' really quite well. Although it is important to remember that there are hundreds (thousands?) of mushrooms one might come across that simply aren't in the book, the book is just aiming to help you recognise the commonest good edible species and distinguish them from similar thingies that one wouldn't choose to eat. Which is what most beginners need, isn't it?


Depends on how much of a 'beginner' the beginner is; if you can follow a key and comprehend the descriptions, I think that Phillips is a better starting point. But for any beginner, extra reference works are well worth having; the indigestion you get worrying whether you've poisoned yourself can be very real and most painful.

Quote:

Phillips was actually *my* first book, and while I firmly think that it should be in everyone's collection, I don't think its the ideal starting point.

I wonder what Cab advises as a first, single book?


For the intelligent layman, Phillips. Without a doubt. And I reccomend as an accompanying text Richard Mabeys 'Food for Free', which has some great rules of thumb that will allow you to pick with greater confidence.
Jonnyboy

I use Jordan's. It's high time I bought phillips for cross referencing.
selfsufficientish

The best fungi book, in fact the only one I have ever needed is Roger Phillips Mushrooms and other fungi of great britain and Europe.

I have an edition of food for free that is just drawings and descriptions so it is not the best reference to use. I have been spolit by photos.
cab

selfsufficientish wrote:
The best fungi book, in fact the only one I have ever needed is Roger Phillips Mushrooms and other fungi of great britain and Europe.

I have an edition of food for free that is just drawings and descriptions so it is not the best reference to use. I have been spolit by photos.


Food for free always was just drawings and descriptions, but in there are some real gems. You learn how to quickly exclude the poisonous Boletus from your basket, how to rule out the Russula species that'll harm you, how to spot the few Agaricus that can be confused with the common edible ones, etc. Food for free isn't a guide book, but in Phillips (backed up by other proper reference works, ideally) you already have that. Mabeys 'food for free' is packed full of handy nuggets.
dougal

dougal wrote:
If a beginner is looking for a *single* introductory book to the UK edible species, its actually a Collins product that I'd recommend. Its called "How to identify edible mushrooms" (sometimes "How to I.D. edible mushrooms") and it does 'what it says on the tin' really quite well.
...
Phillips was actually *my* first book, and while I firmly think that it should be in everyone's collection, I don't think its the ideal starting point.

I wonder what Cab advises as a first, single book?

cab wrote:
For the intelligent layman, Phillips. Without a doubt.


I'd be genuinely interested to learn of your criticisms regarding the book that I have recommended to beginners (regardless of their intelligence!)
Jonnyboy

Roger Phillips book is 4-6 weeks on amazon, any ideas for a quick buy?
sean

Does he sell it via his own website?
Jonnyboy

Nope, couldn't find it.

The site is entirely free to access now BTW
Behemoth

Put the title: Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Great Britain and Europe

Into http://www.abebooks.co.uk/

And the first option comes up with one for 9.99. The rest are disturbingly expensive.
sean

You could go into a *real* bookshop. The one in town here's never taken more than a week to get something in as long as it's in print.
Jonnyboy

sean wrote:
You could go into a *real* bookshop. The one in town here's never taken more than a week to get something in as long as it's in print.


What, like ottakers or waterstones? Laughing

My genius plan to combine a cafe and library specialising in cookbooks is foolproof i tell you.
sean

Jonnyboy wrote:


What, like ottakers or waterstones? Laughing


No, a *real* bookshop.

Quote:
My genius plan to combine a cafe and library specialising in cookbooks is foolproof i tell you.


Like Books for Cooks in London then?[/quote]
dougal

sean wrote:
You could go into a *real* bookshop. ...as long as it's in print.

Aah but the real fun is that looking for a newly out of print title provides the excuse to go and nose around lots and lots of *real* bookshops... Smile


Anyway, Amazon do have this
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/000219984X
for 8.57
cab

dougal wrote:

I'd be genuinely interested to learn of your criticisms regarding the book that I have recommended to beginners (regardless of their intelligence!)


It ain't that 'How to Identify Edible Mushrooms' isn't a good work, its that Phillips is better. His keys are excellent, his photographs are unsurpassed, and his written notes on identifying species are, if not exhaustive, at least complete enough. But more than that, there's a lot to be said for starting with a proper reference work, and Phillips is as close as we have to a recognised standard text.

There's also excellent online amendments; rogersmushrooms.com adds more species, more pictures and more detail.
cab

Jonnyboy wrote:
Roger Phillips book is 4-6 weeks on amazon, any ideas for a quick buy?


Interesting... Rumour has it that he's been working on an updated edition. I wonder if its imminent.
dougal

cab wrote:
....Phillips is better. His keys are excellent, his photographs are unsurpassed, and his written notes on identifying species are, if not exhaustive, at least complete enough.

No question that Roger's book *is* excellent. And I have no intention of parting with my well-thumbed signed copy.
cab wrote:
But more than that, there's a lot to be said for starting with a proper reference work, and Phillips is as close as we have to a recognised standard text.

I appreciate that concept.
In theory!
In practice, IMHO, Phillips is a bit 'big' and 'hard' for the raw beginner.

I'm in absolutely full agreement with you that it should be among the first couple of books that a beginner should acquire. Smile
I'd only dispute the assertion that it should always be the very first!
cab

dougal wrote:

In practice, IMHO, Phillips is a bit 'big' and 'hard' for the raw beginner.


You think? I always found it fairly fluffy; the visual key especially.

I wonder whether there might be more people who would be willing to share what their first guide was? I can't remember what my very first was, I think it was a school text on non-flowring plants, and as I was already familiar with horse mushrooms and field mushrooms by that point I was quite happy adding shaggy caps (pictured in the book
) to that list.
Behemoth

Phillips is my first mushroom book and though a bit daunting at first I quickly found it very easy to use.

I've got another identification/cookbook (forgoten who by) which is very good for identifying the common edible types and avoiding the nasty ones but is no way as comprehensive as Phillips.
Jonnyboy

Behemoth wrote:
Put the title: Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Great Britain and Europe

Into http://www.abebooks.co.uk/

And the first option comes up with one for 9.99. The rest are disturbingly expensive.


Arrived in my house on Saturday. Excellent book
Behemoth

Just need to find your first St George's now. Very Happy
cab

Behemoth wrote:
Just need to find your first St George's now. Very Happy


Found St. Georges in Belfast in May, either 1996 or 1997. Can't remember which. So they're certainly around in Northern Ireland.

Can't recall ever finding them up your way Behemoth, but I can't recall whether I've ever been looking for them around there. Got some cracking chanterelles in those parts, though.
Behemoth

I've never seen one. Last year was pretty poor for mushrooms in my local woods. Event the Russulas and Amethrys deceivers hardly made a showing. Do fungi have off years depending on the weather?
cab

Behemoth wrote:
I've never seen one. Last year was pretty poor for mushrooms in my local woods. Event the Russulas and Amethrys deceivers hardly made a showing. Do fungi have off years depending on the weather?


Absolutely. And some years, even when the weather is superb for them, some patches just don't fruit. When you think about the energy you have to spend in making all these mushrooms, its only sensible that you don't make 'em when conditions aren't right.

The most spectacular example is giant puffballs. One year you might get nowt, the next year you'll find a dozen big fruiting bodies on a patch, then you'll find maybe two the next year, then one or two, then nowt, and then loads again. Its hard sometimes to make any sense of it.

Winter just gone, hardly found a blewit. Can't have picked more than four or five kilos all winter. The year before I could easily pick that many every time I went out, and that was just on the way to the woods! Two years ago we had the best hauls of St. Georges I've ever known, but last year we had practically none. Later last year, all of a sudden the whole genus Agaricus seemed to be intent on covering every field with mushrooms, and we picked monster hauls of the common ones and found three species that are really unusual for Cambridge.

Just the way it goes Smile
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