hardcover, 319 p., $39.95
When you are dealing with a plant that might be poisonous, proper identification of the species is the key to survival when collecting for the kitchen pot. Rather than being foolhardy, the cautious mushroom collector is wise to seek expert knowledge about what is edible: a comprehensive guide is a major requirement when dealing with such a diverse group of organisms. Among the better resources is this popular reference by British author Roger Phillips, now in this second printing. Well organized, it is an outstanding introduction to the field of mycology. The author provides a photographic key to the most common groups as well as a glossary. Then he launches into the contents with full-color photographs of 1,000 specimens and descriptions of their individual characteristics. Phillips provides many valuable tips for collectors, including relevant characteristics that should be noted to help in identification of a species. Photographed indoors with the same background and with full and cross section views of mature and immature organisms, the scale of each illustration is compared to the life-size mature specimens.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden