Media Review

MykoCD

By Michael Wood et al.
Available from MykoWeb
(MykoCD is currently out-of-print)

It takes hours to see all the pictures of fungi on this CD-ROM, and if you plan to read even a fraction of the info contained on this disc, you had better set aside several days! This massive collection of myco-info was assembled by Michael Wood and revolves around two of his current Web sites: www.MykoWeb.com and the Web site for the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF): www.mssf.org.

MykoCD

Over 1,500 fungal photos can jump onto the screen of your monitor without the long download time from the Web. That's a nice feature for all mushroom hunters, but it's especially sweet for the mycophiles who own a laptop and can compare a specimen "in the hand" to a stunning, crisp photo at their car or out in the field. The heart of MykoWeb consists of over 360 original descriptions to California fungi. Each description, written by Dr. Fred Stevens and Mike Wood, is what would be expected from a top-quality book, and each has an incredible color photo to go with it. All of the species reviewed have more than one photo; some have as many as ten pictures showing age differences, ecotypes, and environmentally induced abnormalities.

It's an excellent idea to show some of the variants and look-alikes, and it's long overdue in mushroom field guides. A photo of Clitocybe tarda along with Clitocybe nuda shows how useful a comparison can be.

Also included is the book California Mushrooms: A Field Guide to the Boletes, by Dr. Harry D. Thiers. This rare book has been out of print for over a decade and is itself worth the price of the CD. It has excellent descriptions of eighty species and includes both field keys and technical keys. For a complete review of this book by Harry Knighton see Mcllvainea Vol 3:1 p. 62, 1977.

Another book is also included on the CD. Wild about Mushrooms: The Mycological Society of San Francisco Cookbook, by Louise Freedman, is an outstanding cookbook containing hundreds of recipes for wild mushrooms. Other tidbits found on the CD include:

  1. Mushroom clubs-a geographic listing of the mushroom clubs in North America with addresses, phone numbers, email and Web sites when possible.
  2. Systematics-a succinct list of links to interesting articles and online keys to taxonomic groups.
  3. MykoLinks-a long list of links to all areas of mycology. This page has something for everybody.
  4. Bookstore-book reviews and links to Amazon.com for quick, convenient purchasing of a wide variety of books on mushrooms, slime molds, and lichens.
  5. Mycena News-selected articles from 1995 and, starting in 1997, every issue of the newsletter from the largest mushroom club in North America.
  6. Fungus Fair posters-a visual treat of many stunning MSSF posters from 1969 to the present.
  7. Species lists-a goldmine of species lists from 1995 to the present. These lists were supervised by Dr Harry Thiers and Dr. Dennis Desjardin and contain a who's who of West Coast fungal species.
  8. PC screen saver-80 high-resolution mushroom photographs and a free-ware program to run them.
  9. Search engine for locating key words and allowing for a quick jump to any area of the CD — A very useful feature when you need info quickly but can't remember where you last saw it.

It's unfortunate that this version of the CD will work only on PCs operated by Windows 9x, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP; older versions were cross-platform-compatible and ran on Macs as well as UNIX.

MykoCD costs just $20, with free ground shipping anywhere in the world included in the incredibly reasonable price. It can be purchased by mail or with PayPal at MykoWeb.com.

While it is true that everything on the CD is available for free on the Web, the speed of loading the photc and owning copies of the two books make this CD an easy decision to purchase. Buy it today, especially if you're using a modem with a dialup connection to the net. Ask Us rating: 7 out of 8 spores in the ascus.

— Review by Darvin DeShazer, Sebastapol, CA
— Originally published in The Mycophile 45:2 2004