Mushrooms of the Northwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms

Mushrooms of the Northwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms

Mushrooms of the Northwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms. 2019. Teresa Marrone and Drew Parker, Adventure Publications, $15.

This is a visually driven guide to mushrooms found in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. There are hundreds of color photographs that are accompanied by textual descriptions that point out salient differences among visually similar species. Over 400 species of common wild mushrooms are treated to some extent. Aimed at the neophyte, the species are first organized by shape and then by color. This is a fundamental approach when presenting mushrooms based on visual characteristics. Since many people are motivated to find mushrooms for the table, the authors have included “Top Edibles” and, equally important, “Top Toxics” sections. Though aimed at beginners, it is also a useful companion for more experienced mushroom hunters.

The introductory material is very well done and contains important information necessary for success in finding, observing, and correctly identifying mushrooms. Beginners will want to spend plenty of time studying the introductory material. The morphological grouping approach generally works well to enable the user to compare similar looking mushrooms with the mushroom in hand. The drawback is that in some of the larger genera, the species may be separated and mixed in with species of other genera. This can make direct comparisons within one genus difficult. Not having species grouped by genus will affect the more advanced user who has come to recognize various genera. The nomenclature is up to date and synonyms are helpfully presented in the cases of recent changes. The book is a handy size to have with you in the field and seems to be sturdily made with a water-resistant cover. Overall, the book makes a nice addition to the available identification guides for mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Daniel Luoma

Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR  97331