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Members of the Hygrophoraceae family, commonly known as waxcaps, have long attracted the attention of mycologists and nature lovers. As a group, they are beautiful mushrooms. Those in the genus Hygrocybe are particularly colorful and eye-catching. Many waxcaps can be identified from field observations and macroscopic features of the fruiting bodies, further adding to their appeal for those lacking formal training in mycology.
Waxcaps are usually well represented in general mushroom field guides. There have also been thorough scientific treatments of the North American species. Excellent as these works may be, they are not comprehensive, nontechnical guides that illustrate the eastern North American waxcaps in color. The work presented here is not intended to be a scientific treatment of the Hygrophoraceae; rather, it fills a gap between the sporadic coverage in general mushroom field guides and the more inclusive technical monographs that typically lack color illustrations.
The geographical range of coverage includes eastern Canada, the United States east of the Great Plains and south to East Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida. Although the distribution of species is constantly being expanded as knowledge accumulates, most waxcaps that occur within this region are featured or discussed. With over 150 color illustrations and detailed descriptions, this book is an indispensable reference guide for waxcap identification.
Alan E. Bessette is a mycologist and professor emeritus of biology at Utica College and is the author of numerous books, including Milk Mushrooms of North America. William C. Roody is the author of numerous books, including Mushrooms of the Southeastern United States. Walter E. Sturgeon has written numerous articles on wild mushroom identification. Arleen R. Bessette is a mycologist and botanical photographer. She is the author of eleven books, including The Rainbow Beneath My Feet.