For amateur collectors or professional mycologists working in the field, this guidebook is quite simply the best North American mushroom reference ever published. Each of the 1,000 specimens is shown in full color on a neutral background to eliminate distractions, and specimens are arranged to show the cap, stem, gills, spines and a cross section, usually in various stages of growth.
Roger Phillips identifies all regional varieties of Basidiomycetes, which include chanterelles, puffballs and fungi, and Ascomycetes, which include morels and cup fungi. Detailed descriptive information on each mushroom variety includes:
- Dimensions of cap, gills and stem
- Color and texture of flesh
- Odor and taste
- Habitat and growing season
- Distribution and appearance of spores
- Edibility and poison warnings
There is also helpful advice on collecting specimens plus an illustrated beginner identification key and a generic key for the more advanced collector.