CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

The Outer Spores: Mushrooms of Haida Gwaii

By Paul Kroeger, Bryce Kendrick, Oluna Ceska, & Christine Roberts
Mycologue Publications
ISBN 978-0-9692237-3-3
200 pages, Soft Cover $25

The mushrooms of Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), home to the Haida people and home to unique flora and fauna, were studied by the authors over a five year period. Their visits to many of the 150 islands of the archipelago spanned all seasons and produced a fascinating data set about the more than 600 species of fungi they found while visiting the islands.

The book is divided into 12 chapters plus a preface, bibliography, and fungal checklist. An eight page first chapter provides basic information about fungal biology. A three-page second chapter introduces the reader to the basic geography of the archipelago. The third chapter is on the Haida people and mushrooms. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 cover edible mushrooms, how and where to hunt mushrooms on the islands, commercial harvest, and species accounts of selected edible mushrooms. Chapter 7 provides species accounts of some of the other notable mushrooms of Haida Gwaii. Chapter 8 describes some of the fungal ecology of the islands including fungal-animal interactions and how fungal species present vary with habitat types and nutrient availability. Chapter 9 describes fungal toxins, Chapter 10 covers hallucinogenic fungi, and Chapter 11 is a pictorial atlas of the fungi of Haida Gwaii. Chapter 12, the closing chapter, is a 9-page summary of their answers to major questions that had sparked their study in the first place. Where do the different species grow and when do they fruit? Which are common and which are rare, etc.

The book is well-written, filled with fascinating information, and illustrated with 300 images, mostly in color. It is not a field guide, and is more than a travel guide about when and where to find mushrooms on Haida Gwaii. Nor is this a dry scientific publication. Authors will publish the main body of their work in a separate paper.

If you find mushrooms fascinating, you will want to purchase this book whether or not you ever plan to visit Haida Gwaii. You will come away with a fuller appreciation for the fungal kingdom, wherever you hunt mushrooms. I have added this book to my short list of books I recommend for purchase by beginners and advanced mushroom hunters alike.

— Review by Michael W. Beug
— Originally published in Fungi