CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Texas Mushrooms: A Field Guide

By Susan Metzler, Van Metzler, & Orson K. Miller, Jr.
University of Texas Press
$39.95; 360 pages with 249
Second printing February 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0292751262

Mushrooms in Texas? Yes, it’s true. One of the best-kept secrets of North America is that those deep down in the heart of the Lone Star State can find mushrooms. In fact, they’re finding them just about any time of the year, assuming there’s been adequate moisture. Truth is, mushrooms can be found in almost every region of Texas, from the desert and semiarid regions of West Texas to the moist and acidic soils of East Texas. Texas Mushrooms was the first—and is still the only—guide to Texas mushrooms and it works admirably for Louisiana and much of the Gulf Coast.

To be clear, Texas Mushrooms is not a brand new book—it’s a re-issue of the 1992 first printing. It’s the exact same book. (OK, I lied … there is one new page, the Preface. And the cover is new. All other pages are exactly the same, same photos, same page numbers, etc.)

After a long absence, Texas Mushrooms is now back in print. I’m told the original 1992 edition sold more than 10,000 copies, a testament to its quality. Nothing’s been changed for this new edition. So, you can expect a handful of names that are now out of date. But there are more than 200 species described. The color photographs, mostly are very good; a few have muted colors; a few have atypical colors (to my eyes). The information provided for each species is mostly very good and not overly technical; the majority of text focuses on “Description” which I find very helpful— many feature notes on how the mushroom got its name, which I especially feel useful in committing to memory. In addition and in a nod to Hope Miller (wife of the late and irreplaceable Orson Miller, and an expert in her own right), a few basic kitchen-tested recipes are included, along with charts giving spore sizes, basic mushroom morphology terminology (with illustrations), collecting tips, and a list of recommended further reading. I commend the University of Texas Press, they’ve been hitting the ball out of the park every time up to bat lately. In Texas and the Gulf Coast, mushroom hunting can be a year-round activity, and is made easier and more comprehensible with Texas Mushrooms.

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi