Fascinated by Fungi: Exploring the Majesty and Mystery, Facts and Fantasy of the Quirkiest Kingdom on Earth
For millennia the mysterious nature of fungi has intrigued the intrepid. Fungal fruits of field and forest have fed the fearless, while the (surprisingly few) resulting fatalities have fuelled myths and legends. Monks and murderers have turned mushrooms to their advantage; artists and authors have fallen for the fascination of fungi. Once enticed in to this quirky kingdom, the magical mix of majesty and mystery has enough power to captivate the interest for a lifetime. But the complexity and scientific jargon of the subject make it difficult for newcomers to gain a broad view of this vast topic.
This book is an easy-to-follow introduction to a complex and largely unexplored kingdom of life and the history, mystery, facts and fiction born out of the fascinating foibles of fungi.
A clear, logical guide to a crucial part of our life support system; the kind of book that most people (including me) really need.
- Roger Thomas, Chief Executive, Countryside Council for Wales
"Sets a new standard that I would hope other writers will emulate."
- Daily Telegraph
"Best of the bunch."
- The Times
"An absolute must for anyone interested in this fascinating subject. I rate this superb book at 10 out of 10."
- Martin James, BBC Wildlife and Countryside Correspondent.
Chapter 1 - Kingdom of the Underworld 10
Chapter 2 - Breeding Habits and Feeding Habitats 36
Chapter 3 - Wood, Trees and Woodlands 82
Chapter 4 - Friends of the Forest (Ectomycorrhizal Fungi) 140
Chapter 5 - Tree Parasites and other Hangers-on 214
Chapter 6 - The Rest of the Rotters 244
Chapter 7 - Grass, Grasses and Grasslands 312
Chapter 8 - Grassland Fungi 342
Chapter 9 - Mushrooms on the Margin 374
Chapter 10 - Forays for Food, Fun and Photography 386
Appendix I - Glossary of Mycological Terms 416
Appendix II - Meaning of Scientific Names of Fungi Species 420
Appendix III - Citation of Mycological Authorities 424
Appendix IV - Other Fungi Information Sources 429
Species Index - Scientific Names 431
Species Index - Common Names 437
General Index 441
Picture Credits 442
Writing and broadcasting on wildlife and countryside topics for more than 30 years, Pat is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles. With his wife Sue, he produced and maintains the First Nature website, which receives up to a million visits a year and hundreds of enquiries via an extensive Fungi section.
Pat, an active conservationist, has chaired and served on several advisory committees and special commissions. He is a member of the Council of CCW (the Countryside Council for Wales), where his special interest is in fungi conservation (he is a Member of the British Mycological Society) and the management of National Nature Reserves in Wales.
For his environmental work Pat O'Reilly was awarded an MBE in 2003.
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