The new Book of Fungi, by Peter Roberts and Shelley Evans, is a couple of kilograms worth of beautiful mushroom book. The lurid photographs and enticing, offhandedly witty descriptions make the reader want to go out collecting specimens right away -- but the hardcover book's glaring flaw is that, with actual-size glossy pictures of 600 species of fungus, it's hardly a portable companion to the wonders of the woods.Click here to see a few of our favorites.
So instead it sits on the desk, where we alternately admire the images (a gallery of which we've pulled together here for your enjoyment); marvel at the collected facts (some fungi use microscopic lassos to rope in worms to eat!); and titter at species names like Drumstick Truffle-Club, Mousepee Pinkgill, and The Sickener.
For each species, the book gives an interesting description, including geographical distribution, habitat, edibility, on a scale from edible to unpleasant to poisonous, and other relevant facts. "In the past," we learn, the Woolly Milkcap "was said to have been commonly roasted and added to coffee in Norway, though it is not clear why."
So pretty! Wish they'd release a Nook Color version.
In a previous article (I think yesterdays) popsci noted that there are 1.5 million species of fungi!!!! simply amazing. Its probably the least thought about form of life, yet one of the most abundant. (I wonder if the fanatic religious nuts will somehow use this article to spread their delusions like the last time popsci had a picture of a mushroom a few weeks ago... my bad: a "mushroom like life form" picture)
Having done research into the life cycle of mushrooms, they are flat out amazing forms of life. It's amazing how they reproduce... and what the actual structure looks like, mushrooms are just the fruits!
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC