Book Review

The Genus Tricholoma in Britain

By Geoffrey Kibby
December 2012
44 pages, soft cover

Geoffrey Kibby is a professional-caliber amateur mycologist who edits the popular British Mycological Society journal, Field Mycology, and is known to many North Americans from the years he spent in the Northeast studying our fungi. He has authored and illustrated many mushroom books, including similar treatments of British boletes and russulas.

In essence, this book is a somewhat expanded version of Kibby’s article of the same title published in the November 2010 issue of Field Mycology. It does not purport to be a technical monographic treatment, but rather a useful tool for field mycologists and it should work well for that purpose.

The text and keys are much the same as those in the Field Mycology article. A set of photos of six tricholoma look-alikes has been added with the captions giving the critical features that differentiate them from tricholomas. The number of species illustrated has been increased considerably and photos reproduced at larger size.

Following a general introduction to the genus and its essential characteristics and a table showing the assignment of the species to sections and subgenera, dichotomous keys are provided to the subgenera and sections and then to the species within those taxa. The key leads are fairly long and, helpfully, the most important distinguishing features are listed first and set in italics. The species accounts consist of commentary rather than comprehensive feature-by-feature descriptions of characters. They describe the key macro- and micro-features and habitat information, plus often provide information about the species’s occurrence in Britain, taxonomic status, and possible look-alikes. At the end of the notes page-number references to recommended pictures in five sources are given (Fungi of Switzerland, Vol. 3; Mushrooms & Toadstools of Britain & Europe [Courtecuisse and Duhem], I Tricolomi [Galli], Mushrooms and other Fungi of Great Britain & Europe [Phillips], and Tricholoma [Fungi Europaei Vol. 3, Riva]). A list of key references and short glossary follow the species accounts.

Seventy-three Tricholoma species are described and 45 of them are illustrated (one with a reproduction of a painting) with generously sized photos that, with a few exceptions, clearly show the macroscopic characters needed for identification. The photos are grouped together following the main text. The 73 species include 18 not known to occur in Britain but included in the hopes that they would be recognized should they occur there. Subtracting those 18 and the epithet, inocybeoides, which for now Kibby considers a nomen confusum, 54 known British species are left. Twenty-four of these also occur in North America, or at least the same names are applied here pending future study.

Little by little, Tricholoma is beginning to receive the attention it deserves and this contribution should be of interest to anyone with an interest in the genus. Although the overlap with the Field Mycology article is great, I think the added photographs make the book worth getting even if you already have the earlier version.

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