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Waxcap Mushrooms of Eastern North America

Waxcap Mushrooms of Eastern North America
Alan E. Bessette, William C. Roddy, Walter E. Sturgeon, and Arleen R. Bessette
Syracuse University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 179 pp., $95.00

Mycology, the branch of botany dealing with fungi, has long been of interest to scientists and nature lovers, because of the unique features of different species. In particular, waxcap mushrooms attract the attention of many because of their translucent luster as well as the waxy appearance of their gills, the thin, leaf–like radiating plates on their undersides. Under microscopes, scientists can identify the differences between waxcaps and others. The authors report on those who have contributed to the study of fungi and their distribution in North America, beginning with the work of Charles Horton Peck (1833–1917), a botanist in New York State. Peck was New York State botanist for the latter half of the nineteenth century and continued in that post until 1915; he described more than 2,700 species of fungi. Individual species are described in a directory that reports on individual characteristics, including edibility. In a separate directory, full-color plates, arranged by genus, illustrate species. Additionally, this comprehensive guide contains a glossary, recommended reading, and index to both common and scientific names.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden