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Fungi of Temperate Europe: Volume 1+2

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Peter Marren, British Wildlife "Not only for people in Europe is this the best guidebook to get, it also is extremely useful for people in other parts of the world. Fortunately, there is an index to genera on the front boards and an abbreviated glossary at the back. Revealing the world of fungi in all its splendour, Fungi of Temperate Europe is a must-have resource for any amateur or professional mycologist.

The books are divided into 80 "form groups" each starting with an innovative comparison wheel with guiding photos, distinguishing characteristics and drawings of essential microscopic features. There has been quite a run of mushroom books lately, each outdoing the last in terms of the quality of the illustrations, but this one simply takes your breath away. Fungi of Temperate Europe covers a large area, from the Arctic to the fringes of the Alps, including the whole of Scandinavia, the Baltic States, and lowland central Europe, along with the Atlantic fringe from northern Spain to Britain and Ireland. The habitat descriptions seem broadly appropriate to British conditions (we are in the ‘nemoral’ zone).With a wheel or two at the start of each new batch of fungi, it is an attractive, illustrative way of getting to the right group quickly, certainly much more quickly than with technical synoptic keys. First published in Denmark with the title, Nordeuropas Svampe, this is a detailed identification guide to "more or less the whole fungal kingdom. It is very useful both for professionals and for everyone interested in this fascinating group of organisms. Daniel Dvořák, Petr Hrouda, Czech Mycology "One of the best comprehensive fungal guides for this European region currently available .

You get used to the faintly odd language, some of which is not in the glossary: for example, ‘meteoric’ (meaning, I think, appearing in sudden spasms at long intervals), ‘sordid’ (dirty-looking), ‘speciose’ (a genus with lots of species in it), ‘turgid’ (fresh and swollen with fluid). The text, including the usual introductory section on fungal lives and identification, is, allowing for its international flavour, excellent.The books are divided into eighty “form groups,” each starting with an innovative comparison wheel with guiding photos, distinguishing characteristics and drawings of essential microscopic features. This is an international publication, so there are no English names; and only the latest up-to-the-minute scientific names, although in many cases the authors mention the previous, more familiar, name.

The arrangement, in groups of broadly similar-looking species, is user-friendly (for example, ’little brown mushrooms’, ‘clustered polypores’, ‘spiny corticoids’, ‘perennial, pale-fleshed white-rotters’ etc). It, in turn, is based on a method devised by the authors and their colleagues, available online as the MycoKey. All species are illustrated with one or more photographs and information is given on morphology, ecology and distribution within temperate Europe.But the greatest strength of Fungi of Temperate Europe lies in its illustrations, which, I repeat, are simply glorious. It is a splendid example [ sic] how to present the multitude of forms in a way that makes identification possible and fun, while at the same time showing the beauty and diversity of fungi. All species are illustrated with one or more photographs and information on morphology, ecology and distribution within temperate Europe is given. It also means that many old dogmas stand to fall with regard to the nature of fungal biology and classification. With its unprecedentedly broad taxonomic coverage, Fungi of Temperate Europe aims to provide a comprehensive overview of fungal species in Europe.

Here the task is facilitated by grouping together look-alikes, and, crucially, describing the differences between them. Steve Trudell, Mycophile "With its unprecedentedly broad taxonomic coverage, Fungi of Temperate Europe aims to provide a comprehensive overview of fungal species in Europe. The fungal kingdom; fungal nutrition; Fungal biogeography and habitats; Asexual propagation; Fruitbodies; Microscopy; Tastes and smells; Working with fruitbodies; General identification wheels; Chanterelles and the like.With the new DNA-based techniques, fungi can be detected from any medium, including wood and soil samples. Not only for people in Europe is this the best guidebook to get, it also is extremely useful for people in other parts of the world.

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