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Old Jun 8, 2009, 6:28 pm   #1
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Name: Vance
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Peterson Field Guides' - Mushrooms

Peterson Field Guides' - Mushrooms by Kent H. McKnight and Vera B. McKnight

If you enjoy and are familiar with the set up of Peterson Feild Guides then you'll be happy with the way this one is laid out. However, I get the impression, still being fairly new at identifying fungi, that mushrooms don't fit well into this format. I have several other Peterson Field Guides and can navigate them well; no so much with this book. Admittedly, this could be contributed to my lack of familiarity with fungi. The plates are nicely illustrated in color with a handful of black and white plates. The introductory chapters seem to do a good job of directing a beginner on what to look for, how to look for it, and how to get to a good identification once you find it. The oddest thing about this book so far are the common names they use. Obviously common names can be very regional but the McKnights discuss this in the openning chapters and make a point to come up with some of thier own common names in an effort to "...promote a constructive dialogue among mycologists about common names that will eventually result in a widely accepted checklist of common and scientific names for North American mushrooms." Admirable as it might be it lends itself to confusion to those whom may have already learned many of the local names and the common names listed are completely foriegn to the reader. A cautionary note: This field guide lists a handful of fungi as edible, without further explaination, while other resources I've cross referenced have listed that same fungi as poisonous, inedible, or not recommended. In defense of this guide this is also discussed in the openning chapters, that caution must be used in consuming any wild mushroom. My recommendation - as with any identification book, use more than one resource to verify you know what you've found and to verify ediblity if that is what you're looking for. In the end I'm glad to have Peterson Field Guides' - Mushrooms in my collection and will continue to use it along side the others.

The best lessons are those learned before you wish you had known better, especially when thinking edible mushrooms.
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