The book publishers (NewHollandPublishers.com) have recently sent me a new book on identifying wild mushrooms for review.click here to see it
I am really delighted this book has been published as it sets a new standard for which other book publishers will need to follow. That being said, it still leaves a small amount of room for improvement but even so, I give this book a solid 9.5/10 for quality, information, ease of use and value.
The book is by the late great Peter Jordan. His many years of experience and notes have been put together superbly to provide a really solid all round book.
One of the issues I have had with other books on Wild Mushrooms is that they have not fully covered the fungi I would expect. No book (unless massive) can cover every species however, this book manages to cover the main species I want to know about. It is good practice to have at least 3 books so you can cross reference anyway and as said above, no one book has it all.
From the outset the book sets itself apart from other books with the exceptionally well thought-out layout of each Fungi. There is either a full page or on many instances, two pages (always on opposing leafs, never on the page turn) on each species with a clear layout providing a nice overview of the key facts on edibility, location where they can be found, size and main identification features. It then provides between one and three images. The images are exceptional quality, probably the best I have seen in any book. Then finally it provides some detailed text along with a clear warning if there is a poisonous similar variety which one should be aware of.
The book starts with very useful and well written guides to mushrooms,their differing parts, how to collect them, where and when to hunt for them and also a useful bit on how to use the book to locate your species.
The middle sector deals with the actual species - broken into two sections (edible and poisonous).
At the end of there are some nice recipes and cooking advice along with storage guides to preserving wild mushrooms at home.
A couple of very minor things that I would say would be good (although this is just a personal view from having many books on the subject). One would be to have a detailed chart (perhaps pullout) to show how all the species covered relate to each other - in effect showing their family tree and show a page number under each mushroom along with a few key identification point . I have found this feature very useful in another book I have. (which again highlights to the need to have more than one book)
The other thing would be to include a small image of the poisonous relative on the same page as the edible one - just as a quick reference to save continual flicking back and forth to see the two pictures.
Apart from that I can wholeheartedly say "go and buy this book" - any fungi fan planning to go out foraging should have this in their collection. It is a handy size (between A4 and A5) so will fit in a knapsack or basket and so can be a field guide to.
Here are the top five books I highly recommend for wild mushroom identification:
3) The Mushroom Book
- This one is a proper belter with loads and loads of good technical data - Thomas Laesse
It is important to have at least 3 book so you can cross reference and cover as many species as possible