CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America

By Roger Phillips
2005 / ISBN 1-55407-115-1 / 319 pp.
Firefly Books / $39.95 (cloth)

A few years ago, while at a mushroom festival on the Olympic Peninsula, someone showed me a printout from an Internet site where Roger Phillips’s 1991 book, Mushrooms of North America, was offered for sale at $350. I never found out whether the seller got his/her price, but I was astounded and decided that I should find a safe to keep my copies in. So, given the apparently high demand, it is not surprising that this popular volume has been re-printed—by a new publisher, with a new cover, and under a slightly revised title. Other than that, changes to the original are minimal. I noticed a couple of Phaeocollybia names had been changed but that several incorrectly identified marasmioid species still carried the incorrect names. The “greening” of the gills of many brown-spored species also remains a problem but, overall, the quality of the photo reproductions seems better than in the original—they are a bit crisper and brighter.

This has been a popular and useful volume primarily because of the large number of species illustrated with good-quality color photographs. However, a number of the identifications are wrong and the distribution information often is off the mark, so it must be used with some caution. Perhaps this re-release will encourage some enterprising soul to compile a list of updates and corrections as was done for Phillips’s similar book for Europe and Great Britain.

Denis Benjamin’s review of the original version appeared in The Mycophile 32(4): 6-7 (July-August 1991).

— Review by Steve Trudell, Seattle, WA
— Originally published in The Mycophile