CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Heinikud: The Genus Tricholoma in Estonia

By Kuulo Kalamees & Vello Liiv
2019, hardbound, 158 pp.
ISBN 978-9985-4-1160-5
Available from Krisostomus
Price: 20.65 € plus shipping

This is the third volume of the series, Eesti Elurikkus. To contribute to the knowledge of biodiversity in Estonia, its aim is to publish monographic reviews of plant taxa found in the small northern European country. Instead of a complete encyclopedia of the more than 25,000 plant species found there, the plant groups are treated family-wise by a specialist. The books are based on the principle that their content should be scientifically correct, but also easy to use for nature lovers. Note, despite the emphasis on plants in the description above (modified slightly from a European bookseller’s website), two of the first three volumes have dealt with genera of fungi — Lactarius in Volume 1 and now, Tricholoma. Although the text is primarily in Estonian, English translations of the key descriptive parts are included such that the book can easily be used by English-speakers.

The introductory material, in Estonian, covers the taxonomic position of Tricholoma within the now greatly reduced Tricholomataceae (no longer a trash bin for most white-spored agarics), a description of the genus, list of northern European species with their Estonian names, ecology and distribution of the genus, and a plate with scaled drawings of the spores of each of the 43 principal species in the book.

The dichotomous keys to species are provided both in Estonian and English. As was done in the Lactarius volume, thumbnail photos of each Estonian species are included in the right-hand margin. The leads include mostly macromorphological and habitat features but spore size is included occasionally. Page references to the descriptions are provided and species that have not been confirmed to occur in Estonia are denoted by an asterisk.

Full descriptions and illustrations are provided for the 43 species that have been confirmed to occur in Estonia, including with ITS barcode sequences. Each description includes the Latin binomial with author and protologue source, Estonian name, principal synonyms and misapplied names, references to selected color images in the literature, list of selected voucher specimens including UNITE DNA-sequence accession numbers, a brief summary description, the full description, ecology and Estonian distribution, comments, and photographs. English summaries of the description, ecology, Estonian distribution, and comments are provided.

Each description is accompanied by at least one full-page-width color photograph. Most have two photos and a few have as many as five. They are sharp and well lighted, show the necessary details well, and include a watermark with the specimen’s herbarium accession number. The only fault is that many exhibit unnatural color casts, typically having too much yellow. But otherwise the photographs are excellent.

Following the 43 feature species treatments are shorter descriptions of 22 additional species that are considered likely, or at least possible, to occur in Estonia. A glossary follows with the English translation of each term provided (although the definitions are not given in English). The book concludes with a list of references and two indexes — one to the Estonian names and one to the scientific names.

The book is well produced and should be of value to anyone with an interest in Tricholomas. We in North America share a number of the same species, as well as a larger number of different, but very similar, species and having good descriptive material for the European mushrooms is very helpful in developing an understanding of our mycota.

— Review by Steve Trudell
— Originally published in Fungi