Book Review

Ascomiceti d’Italia

By Gianfranco Medardi
2006, ccxxi + 454 pages
Fondazione Centro Studi Micologici, Associazione Micologica Bresadola

This is a nicely illustrated compact (page size 12 × 19 cm) volume that covers 400 species. The color photos are of high quality and extend across the entire page. The descriptions (in Italian) cover the main macroscopic and microscopic features and are accompanied by notes that usually are at least as long as the descriptive information. Drawings of spores also are included for each species.

Front matter (221 pages of it!) includes much nicely illustrated information on ascomycete morphology, anatomy, biology, and ecology, followed by a glossary and numerous keys. The first key leads to groups—one for hypogeous species and eight others for epigeous species based on substrate/habitat. Some of the groups are then divided into subgroups and, eventually, all the keys lead to species determinations. For those without an Italian dictionary handy, an English translation of the keys is available. In addition to the (mostly) dichotomous keys, there are several handy visual table-based keys to genus or groups of genera.

Back matter includes a list of reference works, index to taxa, and a list of species (by epithet) indicating the herbarium location and accession number of each.

The photos are on par with those in the Swiss book and most of the descriptive information is readily understandable for those familiar with the usual ascomycete jargon. A most useful resource for anyone interested in ascomycete identification.

— Review by Steve Trudell, Seattle, WA
— Originally published in Fungi