Back in print, this unmodified reprint of the second edition incorporates recent taxonomic name changes resulting from recent DNA analysis, together with previously common synonyms and the British Mycological Society's recommended English names of fungi species.
Many books about fungi are field guides with just the essential information to aid identification. Fascinated by Fungi is different. While it does contain details of identifying features for more than 400 mushrooms, toadstools, brackets, puffballs and other kinds of fungi, what you also get are fascinating facts such as historic uses, infamous poisoning cases, uses in food, medicines including antibiotics, and country-craft processes plus illustrated guides to fungi photography and the selection, setting up and use of microscopes to help in identifying fungi.
There is advice on producing mushroom meals – field and forest food for free – with menus, preparation and cooking details, and pictures of the final meals. And if the biology of fungi interests you, there is a large chapter covering the structure, nature, growth, reproduction and habitat needs of basidiomycetes, ascomycetes and lichens.
Unique features of Fascinated by Fungi that book reviewers have highlighted are the liveliness and readability of its entertaining and informative text; the author's tremendous enthusiasm that shines out from every page; and the wealth of superb pictures and clear diagrams – more than 1000 colour images of specimens at their very best and photographed in their natural habitats plus close-up pictures of gills, pores and other key identifying features. This is a big book, with a great deal packed into it that you will not find in any other book about fungi.
Pat O'Reilly's fascination with fungi stretches back more than 40 years and has taken him to many countries; but, as he says, there is a special satisfaction in finding and identifying beautiful fungi close to home.
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.
Reviews of the first edition:
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.