CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Il Genere Crepidotus in Europa

By Giovanni Consiglio & Ledo Setti
2008 / Hardcover /344 pages
Fondazione Centro Studi Micologici dell’ Associazione Micologica Bresadola
€65, plus €25 shipping

This recent treatment of Crepidotus is another fine publication authored by amateurs from the huge Italian mycological society named after the abbot, Giacomo Bresadola. At the outset, I should make it clear that “amateur” is used here in its original meaning — one who does something for love rather than money — for, like earlier volumes such as those on Mycena by Giovanni Robich and Russula by Mauro Sarnari, this is a high-quality authoritative work. As was true of its predecessors, the first thing that struck me is the weight of the book — surprising for a fairly thin (2 cm, including cover) volume. This results from its being printed on glossy stock with a high clay content, which allows the photographs and other illustrations to be reproduced beautifully. Such attention to quality is the norm for AMB’s books.

The volume is organized into two main parts — extensive introductory material, followed by the species accounts. The introduction comprises nearly 80 pages and includes Preface (by Cathy Aime of Louisiana State University), Short history of the genus Crepidotus, Material and methods, Study of types, Morphology of the genus Crepidotus (beautifully illustrated with light micrographs), Ecology of the genus Crepidotus (contributed by Alfredo Vizzini), Taxonomic position of the genus Crepidotus, Classification, Key to subgenera and sections of the genus Crepidotus, and Phenetic classification. The good news here is that all of the material is presented both in Italian and English so lack of Italian language skill need not be an obstacle.

The second section includes Circumscription of the genus Crepidotus, Key to the European species of the genus Crepidotus, and the species accounts. As in the first section, most of the information is translated into English and the portions that aren’t are easily figured out. Twenty-two species are accepted, three of which have two varieties, so altogether 25 taxa are described. Fifteen of these are treated by Hesler and Smith in their 1965 monograph for North America, suggesting a fair degree of overlap between the two continents and that the book will be of use here. Each species account includes the full name, indication and location of the type, extensive list of synonyms, original diagnosis (in the original language and translated into Italian and/or English), etymology, authors’ description of the type, full macro- and micromorphologic description, habitat and distribution, list of collections examined, and taxonomic notes. The text is supported by excellent field photographs (usually two or three per species) and equally good light micrographs, scanning electron micrographs, and line drawings of characters such as spores, cystidia, and pileipellises. Although few of us probably think of Crepidotus as a photogenic genus, the images are striking and very effective in demonstrating that even LBM’s can be beautiful. The book finishes with an extensive list of references and subject and taxonomic indexes.

This is a fine book and it is hard for me to think how it could be improved other than perhaps for its scope to be extended to a world treatment. Admittedly, Crepidotus is not a big attention-grabber but, if you are a serious identifier, it should be in your library.

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