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Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest


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About the Author

Teresa Marrone is the author of the Wild Berries & Fruits series of field guides and cookbooks, as well as numerous other highly regarded books on wild foods. She has written articles for both national and local magazines and has been foraging wild edibles for more than 30 years. Kathy Yerich has been an avid mushroom hunter for over 10 years. She is on the board of the Minnesota Mycological Society and is a proud member of the North American Mycological Association. This collaboration with Teresa is her first book.


This is a fine, information-packed handbook which will benefit both new and experienced mushroom hunters. Introductory materials provide careful coverage of the mycological science needed for a basic understanding of fungi and their world. This includes: nature of mushrooms, mushroom structure, stages of growth, the role played by mushrooms in the environment and the matter of safe eating.Layout of pages dealing with individual species is nicely organized, with an initial comment on habitat, followed by a clear, detailed description of the mushroom. In addition, there are important notes on spore color, look-a likes and other facts. Excellent color photos are on the facing pages.Very helpful for the beginner are the two sections; Top Edibles and Top ToxicsThe first presents enough easily identified edibles to satisfy the mushroomer looking for table fare. The second presents important facts about the poisonous mushrooms which hunters are likely to encounter, mushrooms to be handled with caution and never eaten.One negative: This book is an ambitious undertaking covering nearly 400 species, its detailed descriptions, accompanying notes and photos. The decision to present this large quantity of informative material in a 4 1/2 by 6 inch pocket -size volume requires compression of the materials into a very small space. Reduced print size and light print tone may, for some, be a problem, especially when in the field. Photos too are necessarily small. It seems perhaps too much material for the field and a book one might prefer to ponder and profit from at home.--Cora Mullen"Northstate Mycological Club" (07/01/2014)
This small book is subtitled "A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms," and it lives up to its name. It is quite small in size: 4 3/8 x 6," with 288 pages, so it is convenient to carry on your forays. In many ways, this book is ideal for a beginning mushroomer, since it is based on the appearance of the mushroom rather than its scientific classification. It starts out with a description of the different parts of a mushroom, with many photographic illustrations and simple language. Once you have learned what to look for, the book next shows you the various categories of mushrooms, e.g., with caps and stems with gills. Moving to the appropriate section of the book (easy to do, since most pages have the category printed at the top in a distinctive color), there is a two-page spread for the more common ones, with the text description on the left, and several photos on the right. There are keys at the top of each text page in addition to the category name, showing the habitat (ground, stumps, or associated with trees), and the season in which to look for them. Less common mushrooms get just one page. The text is divided into sections for habitat, a description of the mushroom in non-technical terms, spore print appearance, the season of growth, other names, possible look-alikes that you might confuse with this species, and a note about edibility. The word "toxic" is always in bold text, so you can't miss it. Right at the beginning of the categories are the 10 top edibles and the 10 top toxic mushrooms. Finally, there's a good index and a glossary of terms. The choice of mushrooms is quite inclusive for the Upper Midwest, with more than 250 species described, so unless your mushroom is an "LBM" (Little Brown Mushroom), or has no real distinctive features, you are quite likely to find it listed here. One problem with the book is that most of the text is printed in gray. Key identification points are printed in a different color, but that is a pale greenish beige. This makes the text hard to read, and the key points don't stand out very well. In summary, if you are just getting started learning about mushrooms, and don't have anyone knowledgeable to go around with, this is an excellent first choice for your mushroom library.--Fungus Friends"Illinois Mycological Association" (10/01/2014)

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